Do these cupcakes look like SPRING or what??? We need to celebrate because spring is FINALLY HERE!
The longer days just make my heart sing; sunshine and blue skies cure any and all problems. (Or that’s what I tell myself anyway.)
Any incarnation of strawberry shortcake is a perfect way to celebrate the season, and these cupcakes are a wonderfully portable version of that delicious dessert.
I made these a few weeks ago for a dear friend’s birthday, then I almost “forgot” about them—meaning I came close to sticking them in the freezer to hoard all for myself and pretend I hadn’t actually made any kind of birthday treat for her.
But my kinder, less greedy self prevailed and the cupcakes were a total hit! A hit with everyone, not just with me and my late-night freezer-raiding self.
The cupcake itself is a bit sturdier than your average cupcake; it’s very dense, like you would expect from a shortcake, and it has a kind of tang to it that I associate with a biscuit-y shortbread base.
Then it’s filled with a thick strawberry filling that tastes so much like sunshine you just want to run through a sprinkler set up on the lawn because the weather is finally nice enough for such fun. (That’s an acceptable activity for a fully grown adult right?)
And the whole shebang is topped with the most amazing strawberry buttercream. That frosting alone would be a delicious treat; spread on some graham crackers or slathered on a sugar cookie you’re eating a perfect springtime treat.
But piled atop this cupcake and its filling? You’re looking at nothing short of dessert heaven.
If you want a semi-homemade shortcut dessert with some of these flavors, you could make the frosting and whip up a batch of white or angel food cupcakes from a box (hey, box cake is delish!). But I would skip the filling because I think it would make a more delicate cake fall apart.
And finally today, I want to thank everyone for their kind words on Monday. Losing my sweet Goldie has been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through and love from my friends and family has been the only way I’ve survived.
What did I say? Dessert heaven.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 cups (about 10 ounces) whole strawberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup (about 5 ounces) chopped strawberries
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup (about 5 ounces) strawberries
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- up to 1 tablespoon milk or cream, if necessary to thin frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined. Beat in vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk. Beat until flour is just incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool in muffin tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Combine gelatin and water in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Cut whole strawberries into small pieces and puree in a food processor. Pour pureed berries into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to boil for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into bowl with the water and gelatin. Stir until incorporated, then stir in chopped berries. Refrigerate until thickened, about 2 hours.
- When filling is thick and cupcakes are completely cool, cut a small circle of cake out of the middle of each cupcake, going about 3/4 of the way down into the cake.* Using a small spoon or a piping bag, fill with strawberry filling.
- Puree berries in a food processor.
- Pour pureed berries into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until puree is thickened and reduced by about half; 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, then add strawberry puree and salt. Beat on medium for 4 minutes. Adjust consistency if necessary by adding milk if it is too thick or additional powdered sugar if it is too thin.
- Frost filled cupcakes and serve.
- *I used the wrong side of a decorating tip to cut a circle about 1/2 an inch deep, then I pulled the cake out of the circle with my fingers.