Sunday, April 29, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I have come to the realization that I am no longer cool.  (This statement presupposes that once, I actually was cool, but whatever.)  I am like the queen of the nerds these days...and yet I am strangely OK with this.  Do you need examples?  I speak Old English.  Like, the language that Beowulf was written in.  I love teaching my AP English class-- so much so that I spend a week every summer reading and scoring the exams.  I listened to MxPx in high school-- and I am still listening to them, which is basically the definition of uncool.  I geek out over new books.  I watch historical programs on TV (on Showtime, but still).  I would rather stay home and watch bad TV (like One Tree Hill) on a Saturday night than go out.  I bake for fun.  I have a blog. All of this is fine with me. 

I guess the baking part really isn't too uncool-- people love baked goods and are actually pretty impressed by them, so this hobby doesn't really add to my geek-dom.  These cupcakes are actually a request from little miss, who wanted something strawberry-- so these are also dairy-free, not that you can tell.  The cupcakes are cool-- even if their creator is not. :)

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature*
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemonade powder mix (Country Time or similar)
1 cup milk**
3 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract

*I used Willow Run soy margarine
**I used unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with liners.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and lemonade powder-- whisk together. 

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, being sure to scrape the bowl after each addition.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix until combined.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Fill the cupcake liners approximately 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

Strawberry Filling
(From Wilton)
Makes about 2 cups of filling

1 16-oz package of frozen sliced strawberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice

Thaw and drain strawberries, reserving liquid.  (I do this by letting the strawberries thaw in a strainer over a large liquid measuring cup.)  Add enough water to the strawberry liquid to equal 1 1/4 cup.  In a medium saucepan, combine liquid, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice; mix well.  Heat over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and boils.  Cool completely, then stir in sliced strawberries.

The icing for these cupcakes is swirled strawberry and lemon buttercream (recipes for each below), which was much easier to do than I expected.  I used the tutorial on Good Life Eats (access through the link) to do this-- there are step-by-step instructions and pictures, all of which are much clearer than I could provide.  If you want to try the swirled icing, I highly suggest you take a look at the tutorial provided-- it's really good. :)

Lemon Buttercream
(From Wilton)

1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used Crisco, but you can use all butter)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2-3/4 tsp lemon zest
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter and vegetable shortening in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add lemon juice and zest and beat well.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.  Beat well on edium speed until fluffy.  Add extra sugar or lemon juice until icing has reached desired consistency.

Strawberry Buttercream
(Adapted from Wilton)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1/2 tsp clear vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberry preserves

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening until light and fluffy.  (Again, you can use all butter if you'd like.)  Add the vanilla and mix until combined.  Add sugar one cup at at a time-- beat well on medium speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often.  (At this point, the icing will look dry.)  Add the strawberry preserves and beat until incorporated.  Add extra sugar or preserves until icing is the correct consistency.

To Assemble Cupcakes:
Core the cupcakes using the cone method.  Fill each cupcake with the cooled strawberry filling.  Frost the cupcakes-- see above for the swirled method and link to the tutorial.  Eat and enjoy!


No comments:

Post a Comment