Is it possible for baby strawberries to be cute? When I pick them, I use the same high- pitched, ridiculous squeal to talk them as I do when I talk to my puppies, so somehow they have charmed me in the same way. Maybe it’s just me, but look at these strawberries I grew! Tell me you don’t want to knit them an adorable summer dress?
So let’s talk Red Velvet cake. It’s a favorite in my house; it was our wedding cake and therefore will always be a special treat. The thing is, to get it really red, you need a tremendous amount of food coloring and I just can’t do it. It wastes a whole bottle of coloring, not to mention I read a few articles that say too much food coloring makes your kids all crazy. I don’t have kids but I’m a kid at heart who’s crazy enough, so I reduce the amount. To give it a boost of color, I add something naturally red, like berries or sugar beets. I also think it’s nice if a little bit of that naturally red something gets beaten into the delicious but not overly sweet cream cheese frosting so you end up with a beautiful, barely pink icing. And do you know what you get with subtle red cupcakes with light pink frosting topped with a baby strawberry? Cute. Really, really cute.
Strawberry Filled Red Velvet Cupcakes:
Adapted from Red Velvet Cupcakes by Nicolette Manescalchi, San Francisco, Cooking Light DEC. 2009
- Cooking spray
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour ( I have used AP flour and it turns out okay)
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups nonfat buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tsp red food coloring
- 5 large strawberries, pureed
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line 30 muffin cups with paper liners and coat lightly with cooking spray.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cream sugar and butter together with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg. In small bowl mix buttermilk, white vinegar, vanilla, food coloring and pureed strawberries. Alternately add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar and buttermilk mixture. Do not over mix.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor and strain all the seeds out using a rubber spatula to push everything out. Pour strained puree into a saucepan and whisk in the sugar and cornstarch. Simmer over medium heat until thickened. Place in a bowl and chill before using.
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) block less fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large strawberries, pureed
- 2 teaspoons nonfat buttermilk
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (about 1 pound), SIFTED
To prepare frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together with a mixer at high speed until completely smooth. Beat in buttermilk, vanilla and pureed strawberries. Gradually add SIFTED powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.
To Fill and Frost Cupcakes.
To fill the cupcakes, assemble a piping bag with a small plain round tip. Fill with strawberry filling and insert tip into the center of the cupcake and pipe in filling. If some comes out the top wipe it clean.
Spread frosting evenly over filled cupcakes or pipe on using a large star tip and piping bag.
Top with small strawberries.