Good morning and Happy, Happy Friday to all of you!!! Last night, I had the honor to speak at our church's "Mom's Night Out: Favorite Things" event. It was so much fun and I think everyone had a great time of encouragement, ideas and let's face it - a night out with the gals. Women listened to speakers on a range of topics from design to fashion to finding joy. I was lucky enough to share my tips and thoughts on building relationships in the kitchen - a philosophy that I am incredibly passionate about!
I also had the honor to bake mini-cupcakes for all of these wonderful and amazing women - there were close to 150 of us gathered. So many have asked for the recipe- so of course I would want to share how I created these delectable cupcakes that I lovingly refer to as my "little darlings". Because there is a lot of love put into the baking process, they have been given this term of endearment.
For those of you looking for an "over the top" cupcake and are up for a challenge - I say "go, go, go for it!" I have also included a couple of variations, so don't feel boxed in to only making cupcakes :-)
Little Darlings: White Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, pg. 169
3 C cake flour (not self rising)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 C) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 C milk
8 large egg whites
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream (recipe to follow)
24 small fresh strawberries - washed for garnish
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 C sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 C sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in the remaining whites.
Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 C batter. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are a light, golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto the rack; then reinvert and let them cool completely, top sides up. Frost the cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream, swirling to cover. Cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Garnish with strawberries just before serving.
Makes 2 dozen.
Mini cupcake variation: using a mini-cupcake pan, follow the same directions but bake for roughly 12 minutes. Makes roughly 125 mini-cupcakes.
Layer Cake variation: Butter two 9x2 inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Follow same instructions, dividing batter between prepared pans and smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a plate, and spread with 3/4 C buttercream. Place other cake layer on top, cut side down. Spead the entire cake with remaining frosting, swirling to cover.
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
Makes 5 Cups
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 C sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2C) unsalted butter, room temperature but sliced into tablespoons
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C (12 oz.) strawberry jam, pureed in a food processor
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees).
Attache the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If the frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3-5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir in strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.
Before going into the oven.
An army of "little darlings"!
My "little darling" up close and personal.
This is one of my favorite cupcakes to make. It's light and reminds me that spring is right around the corner. Of course, it's perfect for Valentine's Day, too!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy
Enjoy and live with gusto!