On a sweltering summer day as a child, I remember standing knee-deep in a sea of itchy strawberry plants with an empty bucket and my grandfather saying, “You kids are so lucky you get to pick all these beautiful strawberries!” I didn’t believe him. (So why do I now say things to my kids, like, “You kids are so lucky to get to use a fancy vacuum to clean…?” )
Back to Grandpa. He was helping my sisters and I pick strawberries from my dad’s huge patch; but we had done it so many times before and the large expanse of hidden berries was completely overwhelming.
However, the sweet fruit of my childhood labor was a strawberry dessert. Luckily, my mom never made any silly strawberry concoction like spinach strawberry salad (an adult favorite of mine!) Strawberry season was very short on our farm, so we created only desserts: Strawberry shortcake, ice cream sauce, jam and pies. And then, there were those strawberry cupcakes I got one year for my birthday: Light and pink and fluffy and perfectly sweet.
My ReDuxed version of Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes is a lovely seasonal answer to this month’s The Recipe ReDux Cupcake Conundrum – (asking if we thought the cupcake trend was still going strong or if it was time for other hand held desserts to takeover.) Clearly with this recipe, I voted cupcakes are here to stay!
While I used my classic Best Birthday Cake recipe, I decreased the portion size by using only 2-2 ½ tablespoons of batter in each cupcake…and replacing it with a fresh whole strawberry! The cupcake looked nearly full-size. But I won’t fudge the results of the appearance of the baked strawberry inside: It shriveled a bit and got rather mushy – like what happens in a baked strawberry pie. Thus, should you be serving Strawberry Cupcakes at a classy spring bridal shower, you may want to instead add chopped fresh strawberries. My kids, however loved finding a whole strawberry surprise in the center of their cupcake!Print
Strawberry Cupcakes – The Recipe ReDux
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter or shortening (I uses 1/4 cup of each)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar (I decreased significantly from Mom’s original recipe)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use good quality vanilla!)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup sour milk (1 1/3 tablespoon vinegar + enough 1% milk to make 1 1/3 cups)
- 30 small-medium fresh strawberries washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 ounces 1/3-reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon beet juice for pink color
- Place 30 paper cupcake liners in muffin pans.
- Stir together flour, powder, soda and salt; set aside.
- In large mixing bowl beat shortening/butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat till well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
- Add dry ingredients, alternately with sour milk, beating on low speed after each addition just till combined (I often use a wooden spoon because it gets less spatters around my kitchen.)
- Place 1 tablespoon batter in bottom of cupcake liner; place 1 strawberry on top. Top with 1-1 1/2 batter.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake! Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
- For FROSTING: Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla and beet juice. Lightly frost completely cooled cupcakes
Are you a cupcake fan – or do you prefer another hand-held treat?