Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Strawberry-on-Strawberry Mini Cupcakes
I'm changing my name. I really am.
From now on, you can call me Amanda, the Clumsy Baker.
I guess I've just gotten too big for my cupcaking britches. Earlier this week I dropped a bowl of batter. When it came time to make the Strawberry-on-Strawberry cupcakes, I... well... you'll read soon enough.
In the world of first year composition, we are constantly talking about getting students to write for actual audiences. It's one thing to write an essay about American entertainment culture to a teacher who knows just a bit about it, but it's another thing entirely to write that same paper to specialists in the field or to you know... your mom. When the audience is real and will read the paper, the writing is both easier and more difficult.
But you probably just thought you were reading about cupcakes, so I'll get back to it.
I had an audience for the Strawberry-on-Strawberry cupcakes. I was contributing a set of cupcakes to a local women's shelter fundraising Silent Auction and Dessert Party. I had a deadline of Saturday at 4:30, and I had to feed 20-30 people with my cupcakes.
My audience made me nervous. And excited.
To start, I had to finely chop a bunch of strawberries. I don't care to chop fruit. I can't explain it, but I don't really care for fruit chopping or the resulting finger staining.
But I handled it. And when I was done chopping, I threw the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and voila! batter.
However... since I'm too big for my cupcaking britches, I started to doubt The Cake Mix Doctor's recipe sense. (I know, right?!) But I didn't like the liquidity of the batter. Luckily, I left it alone.
And it was fine. Better than fine, actually! This cake was absolutely amazing. It was smooth and I'd even say velvety. The strawberry pieces were fantastic surprises to happen upon in the tiny unassuming cake. The crumb was the stuff of dreams; it might even be the most perfectly textured cake I've met yet.
Cake done, I returned to strawberry chopping.
Then I moved right on to messing up the icing. I didn't take any pictures of the icing making process, but that's probably for the best. All you need to know is that you shouldn't do it the way I did. :)
I made the icing according to the Cake Mix Doctor's recipe but instead of reading ahead, I started changing things on my own. Turns out the icing is a spread and set icing and not, I repeat NOT, I piping icing.
I tried to make it a piping icing by adding just a little bit more powdered sugar. Like two cups more. Who knows that I was thinking.
Look at how cute they are with their flat icing! They're adorable! They don't need piped icing.
But they do need a strawberry garnish. Oy vey, more fruit meets the cutting board.
Now, I had not though of myself as a fancy shmancy cupcaker until I saw sixty cupcakes all lined up with fresh fruit all in a row. It felt very Helena circa Season 4.
Anyway, here is a bite-section. Not because this is a particularly spectacular shot of the cupcake or my hand for that matter, but because the post seems awkwardly truncated without it.
And now, I'm going to give you the recipe as I should have used it and not as I did. Classic do as I say not as I do situation.
Pretty in Pink Strawberry Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor.
1 pkg plain white cake mix
1 pkg strawberry gelatin
1 c finely chopped fresh strawberries
3/4 c milk
3/4 c vegetable oil
4 large eggs
(There is a lot of wet in this batter, no?)
Blend all ingredients 30 seconds at low speed and 2 minutes at medium. Scoop batter into cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 full. (The Cake Dr. says you can expect 22 to 24 cupcakes. I made minis so I got about 80. You know me!)
Bake in 350F oven for 20 - 25 minutes for regular cupcakes. (Minis took about 12 for me.)
Let cool before frosting with...
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting from the Cake Mix Doctor
1 pkg (8 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temp.
4 tbsp butter, at room temp.
3 to 3 + 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1/2 c mashed, drained fresh strawberries (I hope to never have to "drain" strawberries ever again.)
Blend cream cheese and butter for thirty seconds. Add 3 c sugar and strawberries and blend on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium for 1 minute or until fluffy.
Dollop on cupcakes and then spread around with spatula. Place frosted cupcakes in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow icing to set.
(At this point, I added the sliced strawberries and dropped the suckers off.The next time I serve these, I will place the strawberries immediately before serving so they won't drip on the icing. Yet another thing I didn't think about before I did it. :) Oops!)
Well, my own flubs aside, these Strawberry-on-Strawberry cupcakes were absolutely fantastic. And I don't think anyone had any idea that the icing was twice as sweet as it should have been. Ha!