Sunday, February 8, 2015

Strawberry Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Some of my favourite food blogs are constantly featuring big bodied, creamy, diner style cakes (IamBaker, Raspberricupcakes, I’M TALKIN TO YOU!). They make me so envious at times because there’re people around to eat all that cake! I’ve happily resigned myself to drooling over their cakes and baking mini versions in my humble kitchen because the family prefers tiny, hand held treats instead of BIG, HONKIN’ slices of cake. Not big cake people, my relations.

I am not the greatest fan of strawberries. Not to rain on anyone’s berry parade, but the berries we get in Singapore tend to be sour and tiny. Naturally, I was skeptical of any strawberry cake recipes, but the Brown Betty one uses frozen strawberries! Some might find this blasphemous, but I ADORE frozen berries, so perfectly tart and sweet, plus they keep for years…

This cake is a keeper – A. The strawberry flavor shines without being too tart and is a perfect complement to the zesty lime frosting. B. LOOK AT THE COLOURS – it’s brilliant for Valentines’ and even Chinese New Year, which is coming in a few weeks. The cupcake flavours actually remind me a strawberry mojito, so feel free to sneak in a few shots of vodka to punch things up!

Strawberry Cupcakes (Makes 12) Adapted from The Brown Betty Bakery Cookbook

150g frozen strawberries, thawed to room temperature
1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon regular salt 
2/3 cups (155g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons strawberry liqueur
3 drops red food coloring
2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature

1.Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

2. Mash frozen strawberries through a strainer over a measuring cup until you get about 1/3 cup of juice. Reserve the mashed strawberries. Add the 1/3 cup of juice to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to about ¼ of the original amount. (I eyeballed it until it became a sticky syrup)

3. Mash the remaining strawberries with a fork. Add the reduced strawberry syrup and fresh lemon juice to the chopped strawberries and mix till blended.

4.In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking powder together.

5.In a bowl, beat butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, one at a time. Add the strawberry puree (from the third step), 1/2 teaspoons strawberry liqueur, and 3 drops of red food coloring, vanilla extract and beat until just incorporated.

6.Keeping the mixer speed on low, alternately add the flour mixture (from the fourth step), with the milk, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth.

7. Portion the batter into liners until they’re about 2/3 full. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the middle comes out clean, around 15 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before putting them on a wire rack to cool.

8. Top cupcakes with lime cream cheese frosting with an optional white chocolate garnish!

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting (My Own)
110g cream cheese
30g butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 drops of green food dye

Using a handheld mixer, beat butter and cream cheese till well combined. Add in powdered sugar, lime juice, zest, green food dye and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Baker’s Notes

1. I didn’t have strawberry liquor at home, so I substituted it with vodka. Orange liquor would work well too!

2. Frozen strawberries are best for this recipe, fresh strawberries might be too tart and you’ll have to adjust sugar levels accordingly.

3. You can adjust the amount of food dye for both recipes, based on your colour preferences.

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