I'm supposed to be packing, but instead I'm making cupcakes. There are several reasons behind this, but the main one is that the strawberries in Japan are just OUT OF THIS WORLD! They are so good and I am leaving in 18 days, so I need to make as much strawberry stuff as possible before I can't have them anymore. You know how you go to the store and every once in a while, you get an amazing pint of strawberries? Well, it pretty much happens every time you buy them here. I've been making the cupcake part of this recipe for a while and baking it in my muffin top pan (makes great breakfast on the go!).
Last year, I tried a strawberry icing from Annie's Eats. I made it 3 different times and could not get it right. I found this recipe in my Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I have made vanilla swiss meringue buttercream before and it came out good, so I figured I'd give the strawberry meringue buttercream a shot.
Now, what's my other excuse for making these cupcakes? Yesterday was my friend's birthday, so I figured I'd surprise her with cupcakes, an excuse for me to make them and not feel guilty eating them all. The inspiration continued when I was looking at Sweet as sugar cookies blog and her Sweets for Saturday post, someone made Hi hat cupcakes- something I'd never heard of before. What would be more perfect than a "chocolate dipped strawberry" cupcake? Mine did not come out as high as hers, but had all the taste I expected. In my mind all of these excuses boiled down to a win-win situation for me to avoid packing and use up some more baking ingredients.
(adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes- this is the half batch)
1/4 cup cake flour
1 3/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (I used salted, all I had)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/8 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped strawberries (I used 11 strawberries)
2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter (I used salted, all I had)
3/4 cup strawberries pureed (I used 11 medium strawberries)
For the cupcakes, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl, set aside. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla in mixer with paddle attachment until fluffy. Add in eggs 1 at a time, scrape down sides of bowl. Alternate additions of flour mixture and milk and mix until combined. Add in strawberries, mix gently. Pour into prepared cupcake liners. Bake large cupcakes 25-30 minutes until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
For the icing, mix egg whites and sugar in heat proof bowl over pot of water (double boiler). Mix together over medium heat until it reaches 160'F. Pour this mixture into your mixer and mix at high speed with whisk until cooled about 7-10 minutes, it will turn cream white, like cool-whip. Slow speed to low and add in butter 1 TBSP at a time. Once butter is all added, switch to paddle attachment, let mix about 2 minutes, will thicken like pudding, add in strawberries, mix until incorporated. Put in pastry bag and decorate your cupcakes.
For chocolate dip:
4 oz semi sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 tsp canola oil ( I forgot to add it to mine, but I think it would help to thin it out more to stick to shape of icing better)
To do chocolate dipped cakes (high hats), put frosted cupcakes in freezer about 15-20 minutes. Melt semi-sweet chocolate in heat proof bowl in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each heating (you can also do this in a double boiler). In about 2 minutes of this, you will have a smooth chocolate sauce. Let cool a few minutes before removing cupcakes from freezer and dipping.
This gets better, I found a box of ice cream cones that I HAD to use up before I move, so...
The kids came home and were shrieking "You made ice cream, yum!"
And a cross section:
Are you jealous?