It’s Strawberry (Cupcake) Season

It’s strawberry season! Over the years, in Israel this season has grown longer and longer as our farmers figure out how to grow these berries for longer periods. The result is that we see them in our stores for months on end, and eventually we even get a little blase about their presence at the green grocer’s. So besides getting out the jam pot and cooking up a batch of strawberry jam (which I never do because I don’t like strawberry jam), here’s another use for your leftover strawberries, or even better, a reason to go out and buy some more.

This a recipe for strawberry cupcakes that I found on The Idea Room, a website with some really creative craft projects, recipes and more; and its origin, as far as I can tell, is Recipe Girl.  I make it with fresh strawberries as frozen are hard to come by in Israeli supermarkets, and with our extra-long season, who needs them! While this recipe does take a little more work than I usually prefer, the end result is worth the extra “patchke” (Yiddish for “fuss”, but a much nicer sounding word than its English counterpart, I think).

While the recipe calls for red food coloring, which does make for a really pink cake, I leave it out because it tastes just as delicious and if you add a pretty frosting, it will look gorgeous anyway. Speaking of frosting, I’ve made these with cream cheese frosting that I have spread on with the back of a teaspoon, so it’s a relatively thin layer. I’ve also made them with piped frosting, which means more frosting on top, so double the frosting amount so you’ll have enough.

STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients 

2¼ cups flour

1½ cups sugar

2¾ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup butter, at room temperature

¾ cup pureed frozen strawberries – about 8. Cut them up before you freeze them so they’re easier to puree when they’re frozen.

4 large egg whites

1/3 cup milk

Several drops of red/pink food coloring or gel paste (optional)

How to do it

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)

2.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

3. In a mixer bowl, blend butter, sugar and strawberry puree. Add flour, baking powder and salt alternately with the milk until blended (batter is very thick).

Cupcake batter with coloring

4. Add whites gradually to the batter mixture, mixing until just incorporated but there’s no white showing. Note: Stop beating occasionally to scrape the bottom of the bowl so all the batter is properly incorporated.

5. Place cupcake liners (#5) into muffin tins and fill them to about ¾ full.

6. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Ready for baking

6. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting. I use my cream cheese frosting. For frosting you will spread, you will need one recipe. For piped, increase the butter quantity to ½ a cup, and increase the amount of powdered sugar until you get a relatively stiff frosting that barely drops off a spoon.

Cupcakes with frosting and fresh strawberry garnish

You can add food coloring to the cupcakes – for my daughter’s birthday, I did as she wanted them to be totally pink! I topped these cupcakes with pieces of fresh strawberries, but only add them just before serving as the strawberries start to bleed quite quickly and will make the capcakes look messy if they’re sitting for too long.

Makes about 20-24 cupcakes

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