Friday, January 13, 2012

Real Life - 1, Kitchen Time - 0

Ok, so I lied. I was all ready to start back up with baking and blogging again and all of a sudden, life got in the way...again. Not too long after I posted my last blog entry, my parents sold our house, I moved into my own place in August, my boyfriend got a new job and moved back here (yay!), work got crazy, design projects piled up, and then Nutcracker season happened. Phew. I barely even baked for the holidays. Naturally, I had to make truffles, but my teeny little kitchen doesn't suffice for extensive holiday baking. My parents' old kitchen was a baking haven, so this is quite an adjustment. I actually ended up having to finish making my truffles at my parents' new house and ended up making half the amount I usually make. Needless to say, my lack of counter space is a serious detriment to my baking adventures. Don't get me wrong---although my kitchen is quite inconvenient for baking, I won't let that stop me. Lack of counter space and all, my KitchenAid stand mixer takes precedence and did in fact score a spot on my counter. On top of it, I have countless recipes and photos that have piled up from right before I moved and now that it's a new year, I'm ready-- more than ever-- to pick up where I left off.
I did promise to share my new favorite cupcake recipe...well, it's not so 'new' anymore. But it's still my favorite and I'm going to fulfill my promise. This cupcake is by far, one of the best cupcake recipes I've ever tried. The Swiss meringue buttercream icing was a challenge at first since it was a little time consuming, but it was a piece of cake the second time around. I am usually not the biggest fan of buttercream icing or just icing in general, but this is the exception. The extra work to pull it together is more than worth it. It's super light and the hint of fresh strawberries in it is perfection. And the cake itself... I won't even go there. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

It's been quite some time since I made this recipe. I originally tried it during the peak of strawberry season with unbelievably fresh was out of this world! I also made them for one of my best friends' bridal shower and they were a huge success. I may not have as many comments as I normally do since it has been a while, but it's pretty straight forward. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from & Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

yields approximately 34 cupcakes
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

*Set some additional fresh strawberries aside to use for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with liners. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-38 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Swiss meringue buttercream, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender. Puree until completely smooth. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer---that method will just take a lot more time and arm strength!) 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 the sped of the mixer and add the butter (2 tablespoons at a time). Add more once each addition has been fully incorporated. Do not worry if the frosting looks curdled or too watery---it will come together! Continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth (about another 3-5 minutes). If you need to beat it longer, do not worry---that is completely fine! Blend in the strawberry puree until the frosting is smooth and the puree is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the buttercream. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired, and garnish with fresh strawberries or strawberry slices.


  1. This recipe looks great and I can't wait to try it but I think there's a step missing in the frosting recipe. When do you add the strawberry puree? I'm pretty sure's it's after you've whipped the stiff peaks and before you put it in the pastry bag : )

    1. Ah thank you SO much for noticing! I usually end up catching myself if I leave something out, but I guess that's what happens when I post late at night :) It's all fixed now! I hope you enjoy the recipe (and make sure you don't forget to add the puree, like my post did! They won't be NEARLY as awesome.) PS- They're adorable as mini cupcakes, too--- I will give you fair warning that they are a little dangerous when they're bite sized, but they don't make you feel AS guilty when you have more than one!

  2. For the buttercream frosting, did you use powdered sugar?

    1. Nope! Just regular granulated sugar. Since you're simmering it on the stove with the egg whites, it dissolves. :)

  3. Can you make this frosting but substitute some vanilla extract for the strawberry puree?

    1. Not sure how I missed your post---sorry!! Actually, there's already vanilla extract in it (a teaspoon), but you could probably omit the puree if you'd like. I haven't tried it like that, but it would probably just be plain swiss meringue (which would still be delicious!) Hope that helps!