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Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Posted Jun 17 2013 12:00am
Thank you to everyone who supported Bloggers Bake for the PMC- bidding, tweeting, or otherwise spreading the word!  We raised over $550 for Pediatric Oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  I'm still trying to get in touch with JoAnne Brietmeyer, so if you're reading JoAnne, please email me !!

June is pretty synonymous with strawberries (at least in my book).  When it came time to brainstorm flavors for a wedding I agreed to bake cake/cupcakes for, Strawberry Shortcake seemed like a no-brainer.  But in cupcake form?

Yes!!  The shortcakes came in the form of a vanilla bean biscuit, baked in a cupcake liner.  Fresh strawberries, bound with a little cornstarch-strawberry jell were the filling of the cupcakes.  And then the "frosting."

Oh, the frosting.  If you follow me on Facebook , you know this was a challenge.  I had my mind set on a white chocolate whipped cream- I had made it once and fell in love.  I kept trying to make a 'stabilized' version (with gelatin) only to have batch after batch fail.  I finally realized that I was whipping the heavy cream too long, waiting for the consistency of whipped egg whites.  This over-whipping caused the whipped cream to break down, resulting in a tasty mess.  Learn from my mistakes and don't do this!

When it came time to baking day (B day?), I still wasn't sure what I was going to use as a frosting.  A few 90degree days threw a wrinkle in my plans, but when I heard the venue was inside and air conditioned, I crossed my fingers and forged ahead- these cupcakes would be topped with white chocolate whipped cream!!

Success.  I used this to decorate instead of a pastry bag, fearing that the warmth from my hand would be too much for the whipped cream.  Thanks to Rebecca for this gadget, as well as her help with the baking.  We make a pretty stellar team if I do say so myself ;)

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
adapted from How Sweet It Is
yield ~16

3c all-purpose flour ( how to measure flour )
1/4 evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
4t baking powder
1t baking soda
1/2t salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
1 large egg
1c milk
1 1/2T vanilla bean paste
Stawberry Filling, see below
White Chocolate Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 425deg.  Prepare 2 cupcake pans with 16 liners.

Cut butter into ~1/2" chunks and place on a plate back in the fridge (or freezer if you're trying to do this on a 90deg day).

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and whisk well to combine.  Add butter to the dry ingredients and mix with a pastry blender or your hands until you've got coarse pebbles.  If it's hot- I'd recommend minimizing heat from your hands and use a pastry blender.  If the butter has gotten too warm through mixing, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before adding the wet ingredients.

In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine milk, egg and vanilla paste.  Mix well, ensuring that the vanilla paste is evenly distributed.  Pour wet ingredients into the flour/butter mixture and stir until just combined, the batter should look a little wet (try to avoid over-mixing).

Using a large cookie scoop, divide batter among cupcake liners.  Bake for 8-12min, until golden brown.  Let cool completely on a rack.

Once cool, use a cupcake corer or a knife to cut a whole in the center of the cupcake.  Fill with strawberry filling (easy to do using a pastry bag or ziploc with the end snipped off) and frost with white chocolate whipped cream.

Strawberry Filling
adapted from Baking Bites
Yield: enough for ~24 cupcakes

1lb fresh strawberries
4-6T evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1T cornstarch
2 1/2T water
pinch salt
1/2t vanilla extract
1t fresh lemon juice

Wash and dry the strawberries, then remove the hulls.  Cut berries into a small dice and place in a medium bowl.

In a small pot, place 1/2c of the diced berries along with the sugar, cornstarch, water and salt.  Mash the strawberries with a potato masher or fork.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 1min, then remove from heat.  Add vanilla and lemon juice and whisk well.  Fold the cooked berries into the remaining fresh berries.  Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before using to fill cupcakes.

Celebrate the first day of summer with some strawberry shortcake cupcakes-- you won't be sorry!!  Tune in next week to see what other flavor we baked up :)
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