Mixed Reviews

The annual summer “auntie bake day” commenced this afternoon.  Kathryn, Gwen, and Flynn cruised over and we all dove into making these summer treats.

Gwen and Flynn were very excited about the chance to pipe frosting onto a cupcake, having never done that before.  Gwen spent time practicing with imaginary frosting as the cupcakes cooled and Flynn just wanted to keep adding more and more.  And may I say, why not?  He is a brilliant boy who takes after his auntie with a serious sweet-tooth!

So when cooking for the Chenoweth nieces and nephews and brothers, one needs to have a thick skin.  You will receive some of the most direct, not beating around the bush critiques possible.  Seriously, they don’t hold back.  This cupcake got mix reviews.  Kathryn and my brother, Joe, loved the cupcake in its entirety.  Gwen liked the cake but not the frosting.  And Paul and Flynn didn’t like any of it.

You can’t hit every recipe out of the park, but we still had fun!

Notes:  Gwen had a great idea of topping the cupcake with whipped cream rather than the buttercream.  It would be much lighter and would resemble a shortcake more.  I thought a cream cheese frosting with finely diced strawberries folded in would be good too.  Regardless, we added a lot more heavy cream to the frosting than the recipe called for in order to lighten the flavor from the freeze dried strawberries.

Go forth and bake!

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (recipe care of damndelicious.net)

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INGREDIENTS:  1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour,  2 tablespoons cornstarch,  1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup butter, melted, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup diced strawberries, 8 strawberry halves (for serving)

Buttercream:   1 cup freeze dried strawberries, 3/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature), 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in vegetable oil and butter until well combined. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and milk alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Add strawberries and gently toss to combine.  Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine freeze dried strawberries until finely ground, about 1-2 minutes; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 3 1/2 tablespoons strawberry powder on medium speed until light and fluffy approximately 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar, beating just until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.  Use a small offset spatula or a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost cupcakes, garnished with strawberry half, if desired.

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