Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sweet and Simple

It's springtime. And with springtime comes warm weather, outdoor activities, and above all, FRUIT! I love fruit, especially during the spring. The fruit stand in our town just started opening up again and selling fresh fruit and vegetables. My mom and I went and while we were there, they had a great deal. You could buy an entire flat of strawberries for $15! What a deal. And so we did just that. Bought an entire flat of strawberries...

Don't they look beautiful? And of course, the minute I saw this many strawberries, all I could think about was Martha's Strawberry Cupcakes. So I made them. And they were amazing. You know, you can buy the box mix strawberry cake. And up until this point, I thought that was a pretty good deal. You didn't really have to do much, and the product was quite tasty. But now that I've had strawberry cupcakes made from fresh strawberries, there is no going back. EVER.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (not self rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure canilla extract
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20), plus about 10 more for garnish

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces) rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature

Now I'm not going to lie to you. By the time I was done making these cupcakes, I was sick and tired of looking at strawberries. There was a lot of washing and picking out and drying and cutting and slicing and chopping these little suckers. But don't let me turn you off of them. They were so worth it. Every last strawberry counts in this recipe! And, the even better part, is once you've gotten all of your strawberries cut up, the rest is simple. You're basically making a vanilla cake batter and vanilla frosting and then just adding strawberries to it to make it mind blowing. No biggie, right? And man, did they turn out amazing!

Simple as pie, or in this case, strawberry cake.

Just pipe on the frosting, and you're good to go!

I really think that using a pastry bag to pipe the frosting onto the cupcake adds something to it. Taking the time to make your cupcakes look pretty, even if they're as simple as strawberries, really makes them go the extra mile. I mean, they taste great, whether you take the time to make them look nice, but I really enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor pay off when I have beautiful cupcakes to give away to all of my friends and family.

Speaking of family, there is my Dad getting in on the cupcake action. He seemed to think they were pretty tasty! I hope you do too! Just remember, as sick and tired as you might get of looking at those strawberries, the final product is so worth it, it's ridiculous! Happy baking.


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