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This blog is a culmination of two forever-bakers who have spent countless hours reading about, thinking about, and dreaming about baking delicious treats in our spare time. After taking a few cake decorating classes, our interest has soared to no end. While living and working in the same city has been a sweet treat in itself, a move across the state has spawned the desire to keep in touch by taking our love of baking and everything kitchen to the next level. So wipe your feet on the mat and stay awhile!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes

This weekend marked the 25th birthday of my dear friend Lisette. So in honor of her, I decided to make a scrumptious batch of cupcakes fit for any birthday celebration. She didn’t want just any cupcakes. She put in her request and it was decided: strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yum!

In the past this would have involved a stroll down the baking aisle to purchase a strawberry cake mix. But not this time. This time I was in it to win it and decided that since strawberry was the only cake I had never made from scratch, the time was now. In my hunt for the perfect recipes I started at one of best kept cooking secrets out there: Allrecipes.com. My sister introduced me to this website and swears by it. It has a recipe for just about anything you can think of and includes reviews from users, which can make a huge difference for anyone making a recipe for the first time. Read on to see what I found.

Strawberry Cake from Scratch:

2 cups white sugar
1 (3oz.) package strawberry flavored gelatin (I used Jello’s Wild Strawberry)
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)
2 ¾ cups sifted cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk (room temperature)**
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. **

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.

**I changed up the recipe and directions slightly by using 2% milk and baking them into cupcakes instead of the regular cakes. All in all, I didn’t notice any drawbacks to doing either.

Let’s get to the good part…

For the icing I went with a traditionally delicious cream cheese frosting. This is the kind of icing that makes you want to eat every ounce of it before you even touch a cupcake. This is the type of stuff southern legends are made of, mostly known to cover a decadent Red Velvet Cake. This is something no sweet lover can turn down.

This batch did not disappoint the cupcakes nor our taste buds. Here’s the super simple recipe:

2 8oz. bars of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.

Mix in vanilla.

Slowly mix in powered sugar to desired consistency.

Some recipes might use more or less powdered sugar. This is really a personal baking decision. Do you want your icing to slowly drip down the side of a to-die-for just baked bundt? Use less. Or do you want to pipe the icing through a decorating tip in a precise pattern? Use more. I used 3 cups this time so the icing would sit like perfection on top of the little cakes.

The end result was something that Strawberry Shortcake herself would be jealous of. The cake itself turned out to be pretty. That’s right, pretty. It was a deeper pink color than the usual box mix. It favored a dusty rose, if you will. Using actual pureed strawberries was probably the best thing for these little beauties. Small bits of strawberry were evenly dispersed in each cupcake, letting you know that these were anything but store-bought. De-lish!


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