Monday, June 25, 2012

Seriously Sumptuous Strawberries

I love strawberries. I love their sweetness. I love their juiciness.

I have been buying them. A LOT of them. They look so red, juicy and delicious that I can't resist. I spend too much time looking at them at the grocery store.

Maybe next year I will find somewhere to go pick them. Yes....

And we all know I love cupcakes. Glorious and fluffy little nuggets of goodness.

So a few weeks ago I was talking to Preston while he was at work and things had been particularly difficult that day - all around. His coworker, Bobby, had a most difficult customer that day who threatened, um, well, to kick his a$$.

Because that's the way to make friends and influence people - right?

Anyway - I asked what kind of cupcakes I could make for Bobby that would make him feel better. Quick response - STRAWBERRY.


A while back I found this delectable strawberry cupcake recipe on Pinterest. I think when I originally pinned it there were no fresh strawberries available. But it's that time now...

Pretty butter, sugar and vanilla.

Cream them.
Now, a note: she specifically says to use the PADDLE attachment - which obviously I did not do. Sigh. I'm learning though. I think the "whisk" attachment adds too much air and my cupcakes aren't as fluffy as they should be. So - if you make these cupcakes use the paddle attachment.
Take the bowl off of the stand mixer and gently fold in your strawberries (this I did correctly).
Pour your batter into the prepared cupcake liners.

Bake until delicious.

Now, onto the frosting. Swiss meringue buttercream. I was reading about it here on Sweetapolita and I felt all weak-kneed and dreamy. I was trying to think of a reason to try it. Then I reread the strawberry cupcake recipe and realized she was making swiss meringue buttercream. Dreamy deliciousness.

Start with pureed strawberries.
Quick note to everyone: do NOT put your brand new camera on the cute little tripod, point it downward to take pictures and then walk away. You might get a LENS FULL OF STRAWBERRY PUREE. Or something like that....

Next start warming your egg whites - with the candy thermometer.

Once the egg whites are at the temperature they need to be - remove them from the heat and start beating. And beating. And beating. I made the mistake of making this frosting on a humid day. Sigh. It took almost an HOUR to get the egg whites "stiff" enough to use in the frosting. But, like I said, this frosting is worth it.

Weird things happen with this frosting but the end product is well worth it.

Once you start adding the butter it will get this yucky curdled look. Keep going.

Add the strawberries - you will get a strange looking frosting again. Gently mix in the strawberries and it will get yummy again.
And to quote Preston's boss "these are the BEST cupcakes I have ever put in my mouth".

Hugs & kisses.....

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting


I love them.

I love making them and sharing them with other people so I can show them some cupcake love.

And if you could see my camera you would know that I love taking pictures of them. A LOT of pictures.

I made these delicious beauties for Preston to take to work. Fudgy chocolate cupcakes and the creamiest peanut butter buttercream. OH YUM.

I actually sent them completely untasted - which is something I don't normally do. So I waited anxiously - VERY anxiously - for a report back. They were apparently quite popular. And everyone was surprised that they were 100% vegan. Yup. Vegan.

This is a different recipe than I have used before. These cupcakes turned out moist and yummy. Definitely more of a dark chocolate feel to them.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or more vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk the soy milk and vinegar together. Set aside and allow the milk to curdle slightly.

In a mixing bowl combine the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, almond extract and the curdled milk mixture. Beat until foamy.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the milk mixture. beating constantly.

Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 full and bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Now lets make some frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 3 tablespoons almond or soy milk
1/3 cup peanut butter

Cream the vegetable shortening and powdered sugar. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get your desired consistency. I added a little more powdered sugar to get the buttercream flavor I like. Now add the peanut butter and continue beating until completely incorporated.

I also added a little more peanut butter AND some peanut butter extract for the best flavor.
Then frost your cupcakes.

And finally - the added special touch - a quick Chocolate Ganache. 

Chocolate Ganache

1/4 cup soy or almond milk
4 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips

Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stove. Add the chocolate and stir constantly until melted.
I put mine in a plastic bottle to make it easier but you can put it in a ziploc bag and snip the corner.
Drizzle your heart out. These cupcakes turned out AWESOME. I ate my one little cupcake the next day and it was worth it.
Hugs & kisses.....