Celebrating the start of berry season in the Bay Area with these lil gems. 215: Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Where has this year gone?? Between all of the heavy news and an ever-present pandemic, I haven’t been paying as much attention to the changing of the seasons. Not that we get super noticeable differences in seasons in the Bay Area, but you know what I mean! There’s suddenly an influx of strawberries at the farmer’s market and the flowers are exploding everywhere. Most importantly, it’s time for this annual meme:
These lil cupcakes almost look like flowers themselves! I got the idea for a hidden strawberry from one of the Nadiya Bakes episodes – it just looked too fun to not try.
What better way to celebrate a berry than by having it be on the inside and outside? There’s just enough cake here to hold it all together.
It’s amazing how hard it was to find a classic vanilla cupcake recipe in my piles of baking cookbooks! (I’m trying to turn to my printed books first before diving into google’s promoted recipes.) Maybe it’s too basic for some bakery book authors, but everyone’s gotta have a good base vanilla cake recipe! Once you’ve got the proportions down, then you can jazz it up with other fun ingredients and flavors.
I found one in my Bobbette & Belle book, and decided to give it a whirl. It called for one whole egg and one egg white, which left me a little skeptical. Typically I think of richness and fat when an extra egg yolk is listed, and I think of light and fluffy when an extra egg white is added. I was really hoping for dense and luscious for these little cakes but decided to trust their proportions anyway. Spoiler alert: worked out fabulously! They were rich while also being fluffy.
I actually remembered to bring the butter to room temperature this time! *happy dance*
All the strawberries were different sizes, oops! Mary Berry would not approve.
This is the point where you cross your fingers that your new cupcake recipe will in fact rise up like it’s supposed to and you won’t be serving boob-like cupcakes to your friends and family.
While they bake, time to whip up some frosting! Freeze-dried fruit is my favorite discovery of the past year and may or may not use them in all my bakes going forward. You get all the flavor and color without messing with the consistency of your batter, glaze or frosting. They’re so magical!
Cream cheese frosting is the tangier (and yummier, in my opinion) cousin of buttercream frosting. It has more depth of flavor, instead of just being SWEET. There are a million different recipes out there, but it’s one of the ones you can just eyeball and taste-test until it seems right to you. Start with equal amounts of softened butter and cream cheese and whip them up. Add a splash of vanilla, and enough powdered sugar (and in this case: powdered freeze-dried strawberries) for it to taste yummy and be pipeable consistency.
The cream cheese also holds the shape of your piped design perfectly at room temperature. Bonus!
Why have one when you can have TWO? You can even call these breakfast: cream cheese, berries and a fancy muffin (aka cupcake, shhhh.)
Recipe inspired by: Nadiya Bakes on Netflix
Cupcake recipe from: Bobbette & Belle: Classic Recipes From the Celebrated Pastry Shop