Strawberry Cupcakes

The old-timers in Texas will tell you, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Here is a classic example of me trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. You see, I should have trusted Martha Stewart, she rarely misleads, but I seem to have an authority issue which inhibits me from following instructions precisely. Martha’s frosting recipe called for strawberry preserves, which I brilliantly decided to substitute with fresh strawberries. The high water content of the berry puree caused the icing to separate, and turned my previously pillowy, beautiful meringue into a clumpy mess. If you look closely at the photo you can see that the frosting looks almost curdled. It was a shame, because the cupcakes were moist and delicious, and the frosting was almost right. I was just one ingredient away from a perfect cupcake and I had to go and ruin it!

That said, when you make these cupcakes they will be perfect, because you won’t make the same mistake I did. You will be rewarded with a smooth and beautiful frosting worthy of such a delicate and tasty cupcake.

Strawberry Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (140 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp (150 g) whole milk
  • 1 cup (180 g) finely chopped fresh strawberries

Makes 15 cupcakes.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line 15 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend.

3. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add one third of the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add half of the milk and beat until barely blended. Continue to alternate the flour mixture and milk, beating just until blended after each addition. Fold in the strawberries.

5. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups so that each is about two-thirds full. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 stick + 1 Tbsp (125 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz, 170 g) strawberry jam (do not use fresh strawberries!), pureed in a food processor

1. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, it should feels completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.

2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and completely cooled, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Once all the butter has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.

4. Stir in strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth. Keep the buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

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