Lemon Strawberry-Vanilla Twist Cupcakes & Updates!

This is going to be a rather hefty post. So, I will start with last night’s cupcake shenanigans, then I’ll share with you all updates worthy of your attention.

So. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Strawberry Cupcakes from Martha Stewart (via Brown Eyed Baker)

2. Homemade Lemon Curd also from Martha Stewart

3. A Swirl of Vanilla and Strawberry Buttercream made with a fresh, seedless strawberry puree

The following recipe is really fantastic. I’ll definitely be putting it in my recipe box for future use. It’s a very simple recipe, and creates a beautiful visual effect.

Strawberry Cupcakes 

Yield: About 34 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¼ cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 egg white
1 cup whole milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3.  With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg white, on at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the chopped strawberries by hand.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to pans to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; turn out the cupcakes onto the rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers before frosting.

Next, the lemon curd! I actually made this unexpectedly, because I failed a cupcake recipe earlier in the week and had a bunch of egg yolks left over (10, to be exact, as our eggs are usually twins). Needless to say, I tripled the recipe below! My mother fell in love with the lemon curd so dearly that we put it in these cupcakes instead of chocolate! It tastes like the filling of lemon squares. So…awesome.

Lemon Curd
3 large egg yolks, strained
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.
3. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour.
Phew. Now, the buttercream. First, prepare your buttercreams (using strawberry puree instead of most of the liquid for the strawberry buttercream). There are different techniques for getting the swirl effect. Some bakers place each flavor on a different side of a large piping bag. I prefer to load up 2 small piping bags, tie each up with an elastic, and then place them in a tipped large piping bag. It takes a bit longer, but I find it to be more reliable.I piped along the edges to leave a hole on top for my lemon curd, but you could always fill the cupcakes and then pipe the buttercream however you like!
My one concern with these cupcakes was that, following refrigeration and thawing (due to the warm summer weather), which took place over a span of about 8 hours, the frosting was a bit grainy. It also had more of a sugary bite than it seemed to have earlier in the day when I piped them. In the future, I’ll endeavor to either trust that they won’t melt, or I’ll play around with my buttercream recipe some more. Probably a bit of both, actually. These babies need to be travel-friendly!

 

Alrighty. Now that your eyes have feasted on plenty of cupcake pictures, here are some updates!!

I have a new header!! My sister, the graphic design major, is basically my favorite person EVER. Yup.

The format of my posts will be changing very soon. I’m leaving for London in 22 days (WOAH) to study abroad at University College London (UCL), so this is going to be part food blog, part travel blog. Every post will have both (with some organized little headers), with the food portion first and the travel portion second. So, if you’d like to hear about my UK/European adventures, subscribe and you’ll hear all about it! So far, here’s what’s up:

1. I have housing! And it’s a single! Yay!

2. I’ve already met a bunch of amazing people on Facebook who are going to be in my program!

3. I’m starting to get a bunch of emails about orientation, enrollment, and all such things. Basically, everything is coming together and I’m getting really, really excited. I’m sure this semester is going to be incredible.

Also, in other news, I have, after long last and many failures, been a vegetarian for 30 days!! Given my history (3 failures, 2 in May alone), I didn’t want to cry vegetarian too early, but I think after 30 days, I’m on a roll and should be on my way to a yummy future of animal and  food awareness! I transitioned over the whole summer instead of over a week this time–taking it slow really is key, it seems. Tips, advice, and recipes are always welcome of course!

I think I’ll hold off on other updates for now (oooohhh suspense). But I will see you all again soon–keep an eye out for the new post layouts and new recipes!

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3 thoughts on “Lemon Strawberry-Vanilla Twist Cupcakes & Updates!

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