Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Cream

My best friend from college is having a baby girl this fall, and she was in town for her baby shower a few weeks ago. I got to make the cupcakes, which was a lot of fun! The theme was cowgirl - thus the little pink cowgirl hat you see in the picture - and of course I decided they had to be pink!

The cupcakes are the Snickerdoodle cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book, but without the cinnamon. They were lovely and light, and yummy. I think I baked them a little too long, but no one else seemed to notice! The frosting is just whipped cream with sugar, and then some strawberry puree folded in. So simple, and nice and fresh for a summer shower!

I had lots of fun playing with the decorations. I'd wanted to do little cowboy boots, but my local cake decorating store was out of candy molds for them. So I went with hats and fondant flowers. It's been too long since I played with fondant for a relatively low-pressure event -- I usually use it to cover wedding cakes. So it was a lot of fun to make these easy little flowers, and then dust them with luster dust to make them sparkle.

Vanilla Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
makes 28

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt (or whisk them together, which is what I did).

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bwol as needed. Beat in vanila. reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternting with two additions of milk, andbeating until combined after each.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester insterted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Strawberry Whipped Cream

about 2 cups whipping cream, very cold
about 2 Tbsp sugar
about 1 cup strawberries

Puree the strawberries in a food processor. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to get the seeds out.

Using an electric mixer (or just a whisk!), whip the cream and sugar together until stiff-ish peaks form (or however you like it). Fold in the strawberry puree (as much or as little as you like). Pipe onto the cupcakes and enjoy!

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