Vanilla Strawberry Cupcakes

All of my friends are getting married. Or having babies. Or both. When I was a kid I was positive that at this point in my life, I too would be married. My, my, my the times they are a changing. I really can’t imagine myself anywhere except exactly where I am right now, so I’m not feeling sorry for myself here, I’m just sayin’! Everyone else is getting married.

While all my friends were out there developing beautiful, meaningful, life long relationships with another human being, I became very close with my kitchenaid mixer by working on the perfect vanilla cupcake with strawberry buttercream to make for all of their wedding bachelorette bridal party shower things. Yeah, me! I know! I know what you’re thinking….how selfless of me. I do what I can. I mean, let’s get real here for a second: Anyone can fall in love; not everyone can make a perfect vanilla cupcake. Until now my friends. Let’s get this party started.

I’ve tried countless recipes for vanilla cupcakes. The following recipe is my own. I love to use Rose Levy Berenbaum’s mixing method for butter cakes whenever possible, as it it faster, cleaner, and “virtually eliminates any possibility of toughening the cake by overbeating. Creaming still takes place but in a different way: All the dry ingredients are first combined with the butter and a minimum amount of liquid, which coats the flour before adding the remaining liquid ingredients.”*

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

makes 24

Cake

  • 2 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) room temperature butter
  • 2 cups vanilla sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 10 oz (2 1/2 sticks) very soft butter
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups strawberry puree

For the cake:

Combine eggs, sour cream, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla . Whisk to combine. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together cake flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and 1/4 cup of the milk. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and continue to beat for about a minute and a half. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the side of the bowl. Return the mixer to low speed and add 1/3 of the egg mixture. Increase to meduim high speed and beat for 20 seconds. Repeat until all the wet ingredients are incorporated. Divide batter among 24 paper lined muffin pans. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes, turning halfway through. Check doneness with a toothpick or skewer. Cool on wire racks before frosting.

For the buttercream:

Combine the egg whites, salt and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Over a double boiler, heat whisking gently, until the mixture registers 120 on a candy thermometer. Secure the bowl to the mixer and using the whip attachment, beat the whites until they are stiff, completley cool, and glossy.  Add the butter by large spoonfuls, incorporating completley after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Return mixer to medium speed, and add about half of the strawberry puree. The mix is going to look completly broken. Never fear! A torch or lighter can take care of this. With the mixer on medium high speed, using a torch or lighter, gently heat the bottom of the bowl. This allows the butter to warm slightly and emulsify with the puree more easily. Add the rest of the puree and the lemon juice and repeat the same process. DON”T OVER HEAT THE BOWL, OR THINGS COULD GET REALLY UGLY, REALLY FAST! Only gentle heat is needed. Buttercream can be frozen, wrapped tightly. To use, defrost and re whip.

*from page 24 of  The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Berenbaum

62 Responses to “Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream”

  1. sonja said:

    Apr 06, 10 at 3:15 am

    I can’t wait for the release of “Rachel Made me Fat.” Thanks Rachel. Now I want cupcakes. P.S. I’m really looking forward to making the tomato pie again!

  2. Rachel said:

    Apr 06, 10 at 4:10 am

    Me too. I was just thinking about that thing today, as I have 2(!)volunteer tomato plants that popped up in my garden (ish).

  3. Rachel said:

    May 24, 10 at 8:26 am

    It’s light and rich at the same time. I wouldn’t call it dense.

  4. Lorna Yee said:

    Jun 07, 10 at 8:25 pm

    What a smart technique to add the liquid at the end. These look incredible!

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