Friday, February 18, 2011

Cupcakes and bubbly!

So this week I feel that I am truly living up to my name as a frustrated baker.  As you all know, this past Monday was Valentine's Day, and in honor of that we have been carrying "cupcakes" at work.  I say "cupcakes" because although they resembled the awesome tiny cakes in looks, they tasted and had the texture of cardboard and terry cloth.  They were rough and dense and flat in taste; overall, horrendous!  They gave a bad name to the title of cupcake.  As such, I felt it my duty as a cupcake fan to make some super yummy cupcakes this week.  After asking for some input from friends on Facebook, I decided to go with Love & Olive Oil's Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes.  After all, what could be better than bubbly and strawberries?  Except maybe putting them in cupcake form, of course!

I altered Lindsay's recipe slightly, as I did not want to spend all day at our Safeway trying to find coconut milk...instead I used regular 2% (it's what we had in the fridge) and an extra 1/4 cup sugar.  (I later realized we had coconut extract I could have substituted into the regular milk, but oh well!)

After cutting up about 2 cups of strawberries, throw them in the blender or food processor until they look like this.

This is what the batter looked like for the first batch.  They came out a little on the brown side, not pink at all, so I added some red icing coloring.

Notice the tiny cupcake creeper in the background...beware, they have been known to take off with unattended cupcakes from time to time!

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes  adapted from Love & Olive Oil

2 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup milk (whichever you prefer)
2/3 cup champagne/sparkling white wine
2/3 cup strawberry puree (2 cups diced strawberries)
1 3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 tsp. Wilton red icing coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour diced strawberries into a food processor or blender and puree evenly.  Measure out 2/3 cup for the cupcakes and set the rest aside for the frosting to be made later.
In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, champagne, strawberry puree, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 18-22 minutes or until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

You want your frosting to be this type of consistency.

Strawberry Vanilla Butter Cream frosting
1 c softened butter (or margarine)
2-3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c strawberry puree (leftover from cupcakes)
1-2 Tbsp. cream or milk (if needed)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and fluffy.  Pour in the leftover strawberry puree then add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time , mixing well to incorporate between additions, until a good piping consistency is reached.  If the frosting becomes too stiff from too much powdered sugar, just add a little bit of cream or milk so that it can be piped onto cupcakes easily.

Time to enjoy...maybe with a side of leftover champagne and strawberries!

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