Don't let the word "sour" scare you! These cupcakes are fabulous, in my humble opinion. Maybe a better description would be tart or tangy but then, there goes the alliteration and, Baptist preacher's daughter/grammar-lover that I am, I just can't accept that! (Anyone who grew up in/goes to a Baptist church knows that every good message has an outline with points all beginning with the same letter...I think the grammar thing is self-explanatory). While thinking about cupcakes and researching different recipes for this post, I came across and thought of several ideas, finally deciding on strawberries. The first reason was a pretty simple one - BOGO (buy one get one)! Anyone who knows me knows that I have become a couponer extraordinaire in the last year and a half (for couponing how-to's see the button to the right for www.southernsavers.com) and in my world, BOGO = LOVE! So, I stocked up, washed, chopped and froze what I didn't need for these cupcakes and the baking began.
The second reason for this cupcake is my dear friend, Abi. Abi's favorite cake flavor is strawberry and I've always gone to a box mix for this. Now, don't get me wrong, boxed mixes have their time and place - I have a stock of them in my cabinet for things like cake emergencies, last minute parties, and church pot-lucks - but, hello, I spent a lot of time and money studying to become a pastry chef and I prefer to do things from scratch as much as possible. There's just something about the process of taking a plethora (love that word) of ingredients on the counter, combining them in a bowl, and having a beautiful, delicious creation come out of the oven. Anyway, back to Abi. Abi and her husband, Chase just had their first baby - Thunder Remington - and let me tell you, HE IS PRECIOUS! I can't wait to hear him call me Miss Cupcake (my buddy, Chandler from my first post, is his cousin). Our church threw Abi a shower, for which I made the cupcakes, and I vowed then and there that I would find/create a from scratch recipe before I made her cupcakes again. How ridiculous that I had never tried before. Well, now I have and am so pleased with the results!
To make these delicious, pretty-in-pink cupcakes I took my basic white chiffon cake and changed some things here and there, drawing from ideas I found online. I added pureed strawberries, substituted vanilla extract with raspberry, added a little red food coloring, and used a mixture of sour cream and milk for the liquids. The result is a moist, light, pink cupcake that is divine. The one thing I would change next time is using strawberry extract instead of the raspberry I had on hand for a slightly stronger strawberry flavor. As for the icing, I used my basic cream cheese icing and added sour cream to it. I got the idea from a recipe I saw online that added cream to the icing. This intrigued me. However, as I prefer a slightly tangy, less sweet cream cheese icing, I used sour cream. Again, next time I may add strawberry extract to the icing...maybe not. And, of course, the crowning glory of each cupcake is half a strawberry. One of the many things I remember from culinary school is my Plated Desserts instructor drilling into us that you never serve strawberries on a dessert with the green leaves and stem...next time I think I will though. I just love the look of a little strawberry, completely intact, on top...so cute! Shhh...don't tell my instructor.
So, there you have it. My first custom cupcake creation. Don't worry...tabs are coming soon where I will post pictures and list all of my recipes so you can try them and let me know what YOU think. Not all of the cupcakes I bake and write about here will be mine. After all, I have some fabulous tried and true recipes that I got from many different sources that I wouldn't change a thing about. I really wanted something of my own for this first one, though, and I must say that I feel a certain level of accomplishment. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me thus far! I hope that you like what you see. Speaking of which, before I go, let me ask. What do you think of my new look? Now, this I cannot take credit for. My beautiful, talented friend, Sarah Yoder, is the creator and artist behind the look. I'm truly blessed to have such a talented friend in my life and am so very thankful for the awesome work she's done. Check out her blog at www.lifeonwalnutstreet.blogspot.com and let her know what you think of her work. Thanks for stopping by and again, happy reading and most importantly, happy cupcake-ing!
Sweet & Sour Strawberry Cupcakes:
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1 t raspberry extract
1 t red food coloring
1 1/4 c pureed strawberries
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t each baking soda and baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c milk
Cream Cheese Icing:
2 8oz pckgs cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 c sour cream
1/2 t red food coloring (or enough to reach desired color)
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined
2. Add egg yolks one at a time, then raspberry extract, food coloring and strawberries; beat until combined
3. Sift dry ingredients and add to strawberry mixture alternately with milk and sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients
4. Mix just until combined
5. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff and add to batter in small amounts, folding gently, until just combined
6. Bake until top springs back when touched.
Yield: 36 cupcakes
For the icing:
1. Combine cream cheese and butter.
2. Add vanilla, food coloring, and sour cream and mix until smooth.
3. Whisk in sugar, a little at a time, then beat until happy with consistency.
Icing will appear slightly runny. Firm up in refrigerator before piping onto cupcakes. You may top with fresh strawberries if desired.