Saturday, August 27, 2011

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

These cupcakes are amazing. The recipe is no-fail, and the result leaves you with a sense of summer bliss. A buttery cupcake topped with pureed strawberries and a lime/powdered sugar mixture? Yes, please. Ok, so I first had these a few years ago when my sister and I decided to bake for the next door neighbor who was kind enough to cut our grass. The Sis picked this recipe from the Food Network and... did everything. This was before I had an appreciation for baking, so I think my contribution was limited to tasting (and loving). Four years later, things have changed. My sister is no longer my roommate, the neighbors are gone, and I understand that baking is a beautiful thing. This is the first time I've made these cupcakes myself, but don't think they haven't been on my mind for four. solid. years. When Ashleigh's bridal shower came along, I knew I'd found the perfect occasion to retrieve this recipe from my arsenal. According to everyone who ate one or five of these beauties, I was right. This is my version of the recipe, which is a little different from the original, which is for jumbo cupcakes with strawberry stuffed inside.
(Displayed on Trifle Bowl pedestal)

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. fine salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup pureed strawberries

1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tbsp. finely grated lime zest
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the butter and then vanilla. While mixing slowly, add half the dry ingredients, all of the milk, and the remaining dry ingredients. Take care not to over mix the batter.

Divide among cupcake liners, and bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Jumbo (yield 6): about 30 minutes
Standard (yield 12): about 18-22 minutes
2-Bite (yield 25): about 13-15 minutes

For icing:
Mix powdered sugar and lime zest in a medium bowl. Add the juice, and mix with an electric mixer to make a firm but pourable icing. (Add up to 1 tsp. more juice if needed.)

Top each cooled cupcake with 1 tsp. strawberry puree and a dollop of icing.

One thing I love about this recipe is that it calls for melted butter. Forget softening and just melt it! I put the butter in a 2-Cup Prep Bowl and stuck it in the oven while it pre-heated. The Quikut Paring Knife is my favorite tool for slicing sticks of butter, and I actually keep one in my refrigerator's butter holder. True story. The eggs are supposed to be room temperature, but I didn't notice that until go-time, so here's a trick. Stick your eggs in a Small Batter Bowl, and fill it with warm water. By the time you need them, they'll be warmed up. (P.S. I doubled the recipe, which is why you're going, "I thought it said two eggs, not four.")

Stainless Mixing Bowls, Measuring Cup Set, Easy Read Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoon Set, Adjustable Measuring Spoons, Pinch Bowls, and Large Cutting Board. Welcome to prep work, my friends. This is a happy place.

The recipe calls for a lot of butter, but don't be a jerk and substitute anything else. This cake's feature is its buttery flavor, and you're not getting that with anything but the real deal. I'm pouring from a 2-cup Prep Bowl into a Stainless Mixing Bowl, thus creating the best cake batter in the history of cake batter.

Look at that thick, beautiful cake batter! I'm using a Medium Scoop to make 2-bite cupcakes, and the liners are directly on my Cookie Sheet. Isn't it great how you don't even need a muffin pan for these? If you want to do standard size cupcakes, you can use the Stoneware Muffin Pan or the standard Muffin Pan. My batter is in a Stainless Mixing Bowl with the Mix 'n Scraper.

Don't you love recipes that use strawberries? They're so pretty, and they taste like a little bit of heaven. I've got my berries draining in a Stainless Mesh Colander, and I'm coring them with the Core 'n More. A quick whirl in the Manual Food Processor, and they're ready to go!

Lots of stuff going on with limes. Step one: Zest limes into a 1-Cup Prep Bowl using the Microplane Zester. (For larger, decorative zest to use on top, grab your Zester/Scorer.) Two: Slice using the 3 1/2-inch Paring Knife. Three: Press using the Citrus Press, and measure into the Easy Read Mini Measuring Cup. Like how I'm using the prep bowl lid to hold the decorative zest? Say yes to fewer dirty dishes!

This icing is incredible. It's got a killer twang because of all that lime, but it's perfect for this recipe. Throw everything in a Stainless Mixing Bowl, and give it a good stir with the Stainless Whisk. The biggest draw here is this icing's simplicity. You know how sometimes you're not in the mood to gradually beat in powdered sugar for ten minutes? Me, too.

The last step is decoration, and I'm almost embarrassed to show how easy it is. I always put my cupcakes in the Cool & Serve Square Tray before decorating because I'm not as likely to get my fingers in the tops. Do that, top them with a little strawberry, and pipe icing using the Easy Accent Decorator. They won't stay looking super pretty, so don't waste your time trying to do them "just right."

See what I mean? After a couple of hours, especially if that time entails a 100-degree car ride, this is what the cupcakes look like. The flavors have blended, and the result is magnificent! These are displayed on the Adjustable Tiered Tower.

The bride approves!!! Ashleigh was not only happy with these for her shower, but she requested the recipe. So happy wedding, Ashleigh, and enjoy making many many a cupcake for that fab man of yours!

As for you, dear reader, join Ashleigh and me in loving strawberry lime cupcakes. Do it.

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