Friday, April 30, 2010

Cupcakes . . . and More Cupcakes

About a year ago my friend Michelle and I stood in line at the Georgia Aquarium to purchase Martha Stewart's recipe book, Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share plus we had an opportunity to meet Martha and get her autograph on our recipe books. We were quite thrilled, as you can imagine. Since that time, I have made several of those recipes and have been quite pleased with the results, as have my officemates!

So when Martha released her cupcake recipe book, Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat, I had to get it right away. After scouring the book from front to back, I decided that I must commence to baking cupcakes for my officemates. Yes, they are one lucky bunch of folks!

The first selection is Martha's Strawberry Cupcakes. Oh my, I can't say enough good things about these. They were light, moist, airy - perfect for Spring. Everyone in the office LOVED them and have been requesting another batch almost daily. Here is the recipe. It truly is worth a try - you won't be disappointed.

Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20), plus about 10 more for garnish, if so desired

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pans with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add whole eggs and the white, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Fold in chopped strawberries by hand.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks and cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.
4. To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star (Ateco #826 or Wilton #8B) with buttercream frosting (recipe below). Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form peak. Just before serving, thinly slice strawberries, and tuck a few pieces into the buttercream.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting

1 ½ cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ cups (three sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature

1. Puree strawberries in a food processor. Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.)
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

Be sure and watch this blog for more cupcake recipes!! There's definitely many more in the works!
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