Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcake

Whew! I literally spent the entire morning in the kitchen baking, but my hard work did not go wasted. These sweet little cupcakes turned out delicious! They are bursting with fresh strawberry flavor. I especially like the light pale pink color!

A couple of months ago, I saw Candance Nelson, Executive Chef of Sprinkles, on The Martha Stewart Show. Sprinkles Cupcakes, started in LA, is the very first bakery dedicated to just selling cupcakes. On the show, Nelson, along with Martha, was baking up a batch of Sprinkles' signature strawberry cupcake. It looked easy enough, so I filed the recipe away for future use. Fast forward to today, I went to the store and saw fresh strawberries on sale. I got some and set to work immediately after I go home.

I hadn't baked from scratch in a long time so it took me a while. I had to wash, cut, and puree the fresh strawberries too, so that added work. Usually I just dump all the wet and dry ingredients in one bowl, but because I didn't want to mess it up, I followed the directions exactly, which called for using several bowls....which meant more dishes to wash.

There are quite a few negative comments on this recipe, so I was a little bit worried about them being right. Well, they were wrong! The cupcakes are flavorful, but not artificially sweet. The creamy frosting added even more strawberry flavor to the cupcakes. The color is just gorgeous too! I will surely make them again.

(For those who may want to take a shortcut, Sprinkles sells their mixes at Williams-Sonoma. I would get the Red Velvet. The best part? The mix includes their signature confectioners’ “dots”. These little darlings would be a hit at dinner parties!)

Things I did differently:
1) I did not sift the flour because I do not have a sifter. Sifted flour are more airy and lighter than unsifted flour. Therefore, I believe the 1 1/2 cups of unsifted flour I used were too much than what the recipe called for. The cupcakes turned out just fine, but a little bit on the denser side. I recommend sifting your flour for a lighter texture.
2) For the cake mix, I used 2/3 cup of strawberry puree instead of 1/3 cup. This gave the cupcakes a stronger berry flavor. I highly recommend this!
3) I used 2% milk instead of whole milk.

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcake:

- 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed*
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles' Strawberry Frosting:

- 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed*
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

*It doesn't bother me, but some people may not like to see strawberry seeds in the cupcakes. To remove the seeds, simply strain the puree.

2 comments:

  1. Seeds on the outsideAugust 25, 2008 at 9:54 AM

    The Suggy disappeared early one morning and came back with loads of groceries and a pretty new haircut. She then proceeded to spend the next couple of hours mixing away in the kitchen and before I knew it, these little strawberry cupcakes popped out. Now honestly, I despise strawberry flavored anything. For one, they never taste the way strawberries are supposed to taste. But my god man, Joyce threw tons on fresh strawberries into the batter and the frosting, and what came out is the best gawddamned strawberry anything I have ever had. So good, if not for the two sticks of butter hidden in them, this house would be cupcakeless. Thanks Tong!

    Now about my diet...

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  2. One more note:

    These cupcakes get better overnight. Put them covered in the fridge to avoid the frosting dry out, though.

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