Did you think I would only do one cupcake for my birthday? Of course not! Besides the amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, I also wanted to make Strawberry Dream Cupcakes. Ages ago I had a cake by this name and loved it. Surely I could find a cupcake recipe?
It actually was a lot harder to find than I thought it would be. Most of the recipes call for a boxed mix and might use real strawberries, but jello or pudding mix is often involved. No thanks. I also wanted to avoid them tasting like muffins. After a ridiculous amount of searching, I found a great Strawberry Dream Cake recipe at Cook's Country and used that to make cupcakes. So easy, and their stuff is always amazing!
Of course, you can always turn a cake recipe into cupcakes, but I hadn't done it before, so it was a tiny bit of an experiment that went right in so many ways. I brought the results to work and everyone loved them. The frosting got lots of attention, and I must say that the fresh strawberry scent wafting around my desk all day wasn't a bad thing!
I will admit that I had a bit of a struggle with the frosting, which was my own fault. A word of advice - don't overbeat it or you will have liquid frosting on your hands! Luckily a few teaspoons of meringue powder and a night in the fridge fixed it. The frosting should be refrigerated until used, so pipe it on at the last minute, if possible.
A yummy spring flavor! This one has earned a spot in my cupcake arsenal, for sure.
The verdict: Really, really good.
The husband's thoughts: Tasty, and the frosting is amazing.
Changes for next time: None!
Difficulty: Easy, but a little putzy. Cook's Country recipes always are, but they are always worth it!
Strawberry Dream Cupcakes
(from Cook's Country)
Makes 24 cupcakes
10 ounces frozen whole strawberries (2 cups)
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) cake flour
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) confectioners' sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces and softened
Reserved strawberry solids
Fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin for decoration
For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins.
Transfer strawberries to bowl, cover, and microwave until strawberries are soft and have released their juice, about 5 minutes. Place in fine-mesh strainer set over small saucepan. Firmly press fruit dry (juice should measure at least 3/4 cup); reserve strawberry solids. Bring juice to boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk milk into juice until combined.
Whisk strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute. Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter final stir by hand.
Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared cupcake liners and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans, and cool completely, about 2 hours. (Cooled cupcakes can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
For the frosting: Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix butter and sugar on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add reserved strawberry solids and salt and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not overbeat! Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.
Using a pastry or Ziploc bag, pipe frosting on top of cupcakes and top with a sliced strawberry.
(Cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)