This week, something very exciting happened for me...I was approached at work by a couple of coworkers who basically wanted to order cupcakes from me. The thought of this happening had never really occurred to me...I mean, I am learning to bake, I'm not a baker...so the fact that someone wanted to buy my cupcakes and serve them at an event was very exciting for me! It also caught me off guard (I mean, how do you know what to charge people for things like this?).
These cupcakes were made for a baby shower. The baby is a girl, and the mom is apparently obsessed with the Beatles. So, the people hosting the baby shower decided that in light of the Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever," strawberry cupcakes with a pink frosting would be perfect.
The baby shower is tomorrow (Sunday), but I told my coworkers that I would try to bring the cupcakes to work for them on Friday so they didn't have to make a special trip to the office to pick them up. Unfortunately, I hit a little baking snag.
You see, I find my recipes online, but then I print them off and work from the printout at home. I also am not one of those good people who measures out all of their ingredients before starting to mix everything together (please don't tell my high school home-ec teacher!). Instead, I read the step by step instructions and measure things out as they are called for. This lead to a major cupcake default on Thursday night.
You see, the website and the printer had a disagreement, I think, and part of the directions didn't actually print off...but they looked whole, so I didn't notice. I did my thing, mixing my ingredients and filling my baking cups and baking my cupcakes. Then, when I pulled the first 24 cupcakes out of the oven, I noticed it...an unopened bag of sugar on the counter. At this point I thought to myself, "Um...did I add sugar to these cupcakes? I don't think so....I wonder how important sugar is..."
It turns out, SUGAR IS VERY IMPORTANT.
The cupcakes LOOKED like cupcakes. The cupcakes TASTED like biscuits with strawberry bits. The cupcakes ended in my trash can covered with leftover batter and I went to bed knowing I would need to try again another day.
On Friday, I went back to the store, got replacement ingredients, and obsessed over the fact that I WOULD NOT forget to add the sugar this time! And I didn't!
These cupcakes came from Amelia's favorite baking blog, Annie's Eats. The process of baking these cupcakes had its highs and lows...
- Working with new ingredients (like cake flour)
- The cupcakes are delicious
- learning how to separate an egg!
- The frosting is fantastic!
- I LEARNED HOW TO DO A CUPCAKE SWIRL! (I watched a tutorial video...)
- I made strawberry puree (which I had seriously never considered was JUST STRAWBERRIES...that you puree...)
- My food chopper (used to chop strawberries) decided it didn't want to come apart to be washed and that lead to me banging it on the counter.
- Cake flour is hard to sift...so I had to hit the sifter with my meat mallet to get the flour through and that took a really long time.
- Because I was making these cupcakes for other people for a special occassion, I couldnt just say, "well, that was a flop! Guess I will just try again next week!" Instead, I had to try again the next day!
- I may have filled my cupcake liners too full, causing the cupcakes to be a little malformed.
I think my favorite part of these cupcakes is the frosting. The frosting is a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream...and it is so rich and creamy and delicious! It was also one of the more difficult frostings I have made, so after the cupcake flop, I was nervous...
This frosting involves heating egg whites and sugar over simmering water until the mixture reaches a certain temperature and the sugar dissolves...
I don't have a thermometer, so I had to just eyeball it!
Then there is A LOT of mixing (thank God for the KitchenAid).
The directions I followed were very helpful. She was very optimistic and warned of problems that may happen in the frosting making process (like the frosting gets runny (which happened) or the frosting curdles (also happened))...and how all you have to do is KEEP MIXING and it will turn out just fine. And she was right!
So, my suggestion is that if you want a really rich, creamy, and delicious frosting and you have some extra time, you should try a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting (apparently there are many different flavors you can make!)! Definitely worth it! I have a lot of extras and love it so much that I am trying to convince someone else to bake a cake and frost it with my leftovers just so it wont go to waste!
I think these cupcakes are DELICIOUS! They are light and fluffy and very moist with a good strawberry flavor. I have no idea what the babyshower people will say...but I will update if I get any comments!
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I didn't know cake flour existed until this recipe...)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (I still can't get my vanilla opened, so I used vanilla bean paste)
2 cups chopped strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pans with liners.
- Sift flour, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl (may require a meat mallet to beat the sifter...). Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter AND SUGAR until light and fluffy (remember, sugar is important!).
- Add eggs one at a time until combined.
- Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- Fold in chopped strawberries.
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely on wire rack.
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Place strawberries in food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth.
- Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees ferinheit and the sugar has dissolved.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes (the bowl should be cool to the touch).
- Reduce speed to medium and add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer).
- Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Put in pastry bad with desired tip for decorating.
If you run into issues with this frosting and you need a pep talk re: it will all work out, go here...it helps!