Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

My picture looks awful.  Go to Annie's blog and see her little cuties.

These were a little bit more work than other cupcakes I've made, but I've gotta tell ya, they were worth it.  Everyone raved about these babies, even saying they thought I'd never top Annie's Cherry Coke cupcakes.

I had a little bit of trouble with the frosting, which a look at the comments on her recipe shows others had the same problem.  I put the frosting in the fridge for awhile, which made it pipable, but it was still really thin and not nearly as pretty as Annie's.  Maybe more confectioner's sugar?  I also had a problem getting these baked; I often have trouble with the oven baking properly, but when I checked these with a toothpick, it came out clean but felt REALLY soft.  We, of course, had to try one.  The strawberries made it really soft.  I almost decided not to frost them at all; the cakes were so awesome.

I think in the future, I will take Cook's Illustrated's tip of using frozen berries (they recommend it for pancakes, saying they hold their color instead of coloring the cake but also don't turn mushy) in the cake.

Anyway, make these cupcakes.  They're deliciously light (despite ALL THAT BUTTER) and springy/summery.  You might want to eat the frosting with a spoon, and some people around here might have done that very thing.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes from Annie's Eats

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Yield: about 21 cupcakes
For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

For the lemonade syrup:
1 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the frosting:
1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
18 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For garnish:
Fresh strawberries
Lemon slices
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Stir together with a fork and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until well combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until just incorporated.  Add in the milk and mix until smooth.  Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended.  Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula.
Divide the batter evenly between the paper liners, filling them about 3/4 full.  Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the lemonade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lemonade syrup.  Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in.  (Place wax paper underneath your cooling rack so you don’t make a mess!)
To make the frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, and set aside.  Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and very fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.  Mix in strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve your desired texture and flavor of frosting (I added about 7 tablespoons of puree).  Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices.
Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma, frosting from Annie’s Eats

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