Friday, April 8, 2011

Re: a red-headed clown house & strawberry cupcakes

On April 1st, Heart 2 Heart, a local support group for families walking the path of congenital heart defects, came together to serve dinner at the Ronald McDonald House in West County.  We prepared dinner for 60 house guests [there's no vacancy at the inn over there right now :( ] and served it up buffet-style for a few hours while gabbing amongst ourselves and chatting with some parents whose children are hospital-bound.  For the first time in my life, I planned ahead and actually prepared my part of the chili and cornbread the day before.  Thank God.  Because Friday I baked 40 Martha Stewart cupcakes to take along, made a total frosting flop and had to start over from scratch (and borrowed butter from B/F/F.  TWICE!  LOVE her!!), decorated 4 plates of chicken dinners (cupcakes), and baked/frosted 24 cupcakes (mini meatloaf and potato-toppers).  *breathe*

The cupcakes turned out swell - in spite of the frosting debacle.  (I still don't know what happened.)  So, I thought I would share the recipe.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, blend sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.  Gradually add eggs, one at a time, mixing each well before adding the next.  Add vanilla.  Finally, mix in dry ingredients to egg mixture, alternating with milk and ending with dry ingredients.  Fold in strawberries.  Bake in lined cupcake pans at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Source:  Martha Stewart Cupcakes

What I liked best about these cupcakes was the authentic strawberry flavor.  The taste was not overwhelming and not too sweet.  Keep in mind, I usually make the Southern Living version of strawberry cake found here which uses a box of Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix.  I have to say I preferred the subtler flavor in Martha's.  As for the buttercream frosting, I'm no Martha.  I made the cooked egg white version found here and it was a flop.  I seriously do not know what happened.  It was perfect until I added the strawberries.  But anyway, this strawberry buttercream is to die for (Source:  Southern Living)!   So take your pick.  (Strawberries.  Pick.  Get it?  Get it?  Ok, nevermind...)

1 cup butter, softened
1-ish (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

The original recipe calls for 2 bags of powdered sugar.  WHOA!!!  Too much for me.  And too stiff to pipe.  But this frosting combined perfectly with the not-too-sweet cupcakes and just melted in your mouth (my mouth.  YUM!).

I left 40 of my cupcakes at RMH (I sure hope they were eaten!).  Anyone else looking for free cupcakes if I make 'em??  Anyone?  Please?  (Soon I'll tell you about the batch of triple chocolate ones I made recently that I ate all by myself!  *groan!*)

How cute is this kid?  Think he'd eat one of my cupcakes??
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