Tuesday, May 21, 2013

strawberry cupcakes with fresh strawberry buttercream icing

With a house full of boys, I probably don't need to tell you there's not much pink around here.  

Actually, none at all.  

That's why when a friend recently found out she was having a baby girl, only after having two of her own boys, and several in our church group were invited to help with a shower, I jumped at the chance to celebrate with pink.  Her shower spread was a great array of sweets, and I contributed with these strawberry cupcakes.  

These came together very easily, and I admittedly took a shortcut with the cake.  I used the newer French Vanilla version from Duncan Hines.  I have had several in-demand cake decorators secretly tell me they swear by using Duncan Hines mixes with a teaspoon of vanilla to stand up to any fully homemade cake.  Hey.  I'm all about shortcuts when they work!

With a stick of butter, 7-up, and diced strawberries mixed in, the cakes turn out incredibly moist and full of flavor!  And I can't tell you how wonderful the kitchen smells after pureeing some of the first strawberries of the season for the icing.  I happened upon a great selection of fully red and ripe cartons full while shopping on Saturday.  Produce this time of year is a joy to browse.  I just love it!

If the good Lord had blessed us with a girl, I would have been thrilled, of course.  The princesses and lace, the tea parties and pink cupcakes, would have been wonderful I'm sure.  But this mom is sure thankful for her two boys.  Baseball games until 10:00 at night... the occasional frog snuck into the house... dirty socks on the kitchen table...  I'm tellin'  ya.  I wouldn't trade it for the world! 

Strawberry Cupcakes - makes about 20 cakes

For the cake
  • 1 white cake mix (Duncan Hines' French Vanilla works very well)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup 7-up
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of one lemon
  • 6 strawberries, hulled and
~ Heat oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake pans with desired liners.
~ Combine cake mix, butter, 7-up, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl.  Mix well.
~ Add zest and strawberries to batter and stir gently.
~ Fill cups 1/2 to 2/3 full.  I suggest filling one and testing to find out how it bakes.  I found
    that 2/3 was a little too full for my preference.
~ Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
~ Cool completely.

For the icing
  • 3 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup hulled and diced strawberries, pureed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • strawberries for garnish, if desired
~ In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy.
~ Add sugar, one cup at a time, mixing between additions, until just combined.  
~ Add strawberries and vanilla, mixing another 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
~ Frost cooled cakes as desired.  I used a large Wilton #2D tip.  
~ If garnishing, cut off sides of strawberry being careful to leave the stem intact.  Press into
    icing to secure.

Cake recipe slightly adapted from Ready Set Craft
Icing recipe from Cake 'n' Knife