Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
I have been soaking up the last little bit of spring here in Virginia Beach before the summer heat hits us. I went to the local Farmers Market to get fresh fruit and I came home with a couple of trays of the most amazingly fragrant and sweet Pungo strawberries. Some of the strawberries went into the freezer and a lot of them went into these beautiful cupcakes. Although this recipe for the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream is a little challenging, let me assure you that it is well worth the effort. The buttercream is silky smooth and sweet and the cupcakes are soft and fluffy. This recipe is a keeper. Enjoy!
Making strawberry cupcakes
It is important to pay attention to the details in these two recipes. When measuring out the strawberries for the cupcakes they should be finely chopped, however, when measuring out the strawberries for the buttercream they are coarsely chopped, it makes a difference in the finished weight of strawberries you’ll end up with. I would have measured the strawberries for you but my scale finally gave out on me. When making this frosting make sure you are accurate, not generous, with the amount of strawberries you end up using for the buttercream.
Coarsely chopped strawberries. Strawberry puree and other ingredients. Starting to beat egg whites and sugar over waterbath. Finished beating, making sure the egg whites feel completely smooth between your fingers. Beating meringue to a stiff, shiny peak. Finished buttercream.
Strawberry Cupcakes (makes 34)
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and finely chopped, plus 10 more for garnish if desired
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting (makes 5 cups)
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), cut into tablespoons, room temperature
Directions for Strawberry Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
Sift together both flours, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until thick and smooth. Add whole eggs and the egg white one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, beating until well combined. Add chopped strawberries to the batter and fold them in by hand.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating tins half-way through, until golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of cupcake come out clean. Place tins on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn cupcakes onto rack and allow to cool completely.
Directions for Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:
Puree strawberries in a blender and set aside. In the bowl of your stand-mixer, combine egg whites and sugar. Place bowl over a cooking pot with a small amount of simmering water. Whisk egg whites and sugar constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between two fingers).
Attach the bowl to stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing speed to medium-high mix until stiff and shiny (not dry) peaks form, 10 to 15 minutes. Mixture should now have cooled down (test by touching bottom of bowl). With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter have been added, scrape down sides of bowl and switch to the paddle attachment. Continue to beat on low speed for 2 minutes to eliminated air bubbles. Add strawberry puree and beat until combined.
Load buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip. Pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake. Store cupcakes in an airtight container in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
Source: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
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