Monday, April 20, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

When I saw this recipe, I wanted to make them right then. I figured I better have a special occasion to make them for though, so my mom's birthday was the perfect time! We love Sonic cherry limeades and strawberry limeades, and it's spring, so this was the perfect birthday dessert to make for her. You have to look at the pictures from the original source--she's really good at this stuff! I think I'll stick to cooking rather than baking until I can get my decorating skills down...
If you're not feeling up to the icing, do it the "cheater" way: buy a can of regular creamy strawberry icing and whip it with your whisk attachment mixer for a few minutes until it's light and fluffy. Fill a big Ziploc with it and snip off a corner. Voila! (or, maybe that's why mine don't look so hot?:))
The recipe is originally from Williams Sonoma.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Yield: about 21 cupcakes

For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

(lemonade syrup optional---just adds a more pronounced lemon flavor) DO THIS!! SO GOOD! I only made about 2/3 of the amount and still had extra
For the lemonade syrup:
1 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the frosting:
1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
18 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For garnish:
Fresh strawberries
Lemon slices

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Stir together with a fork and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add in the milk and mix until smooth. Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula.
Divide the batter evenly between the paper liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the lemonade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lemonade syrup. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in. (Place wax paper underneath your cooling rack so you don’t make a mess!)
To make the frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Mix in strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve your desired texture and flavor of frosting (I added about 7 tablespoons of puree). Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices.
Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma, frosting from Annie’s Eats