Saying goodbye to strawberries can be hard. I DO have the consolation of raspberries, but still strawberries speak to me of high summer as no other fruit can. I felt I had to squeeze in one final strawberry dish on Mass Appeal last week.
I chose cupcakes with strawberry icing because everyone likes a cupcake. I used my favorite yellow cake formula for the cupcakes. For the icing, I thought long and hard about the best way in which to incorporate my fresh berries.
I was tempted by a technique I saw on the website of King Arthur Flour, with which one simply cuts up berries and beats them into the icing.
In the end, however, I used a technique I found on another website, allrecipes. This one reduces berries to a puree and then cooks them down. (I found that my “cooking down” time was a lot less than that of the person on allrecipes; I have no idea why.)
I loved the result. So did Seth Stutman and his new co-host Lauren Zenzie. In fact, so did everyone at the studio. The cupcakes disappeared in no time at all.
for the cupcakes:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup milk
for the icing:
1 cup cut strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
confectioner’s sugar to taste (probably about 2 cups)
First make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 cupcake/muffin pans with liners.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in the vanilla, the baking powder, and the salt. Stir in the flour and the milk, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes. Cool the cupcake pans over racks for 10 minutes; then remove the cupcakes (with their liners!) from the pans. Cool.
You may start the icing while the cupcakes are baking. Place the strawberries in a blender and pulse until they are liquid. (You may also put them in a 2-cup measuring up and use an immersion blender.)
Pour the strawberry liquid into a saucepan, and cook it over medium-high heat until the liquid reduces into a thicker puree (about 10 minutes on my stove). Remove the puree from the heat, and allow it to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of strawberry puree and mix thoroughly. Add more puree and more sugar until your icing reaches the color and consistency that pleases you. (You may have leftover puree.)
Ice the cupcakes. Try to eat them as quickly as possible (this won’t be hard!) as the strawberry icing is perishable. Makes about 18 cupcakes.