Saturday, June 26, 2010

* 4th of July * Strawberry Blueberry Cupcakes

Voila, my first ever set of 4th of July cupcakes!

I'm not American, but I can still show my American spirit. I decided that I would make a Red, White, and Blue cupcake in honor of the upcoming holiday!

Since I don't like red velvet cake, I thought about what kind of red cupcake I wanted to make instead. Since it's strawberry season, I figured a strawberry cake would be pretty appropriate. The color could be helped along by a little red dye. And the frosting? Blueberry, of course, since they're just about in season as well. The white could be fudged by making a marble swirl pattern with the strawberry cake.

Now let's cut to several hours later, when I realized that the cupcakes had kind of turned out to be Pink, Off-white, and Lavender . It's the thought that counts, right? I admit that a part of this cupcake's off-kilter color scheme was my fault, but practice makes perfect. At least I can tell you where I went wrong.

But first, the recipes...

Strawberry Swirl Cupcakes
(slightly adapted from Recipe Girl's Pink Strawberry Cupcakes)
makes ~18 cupcakes
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup pureed frozen strawberries (about ¼ of a 1 lb. bag)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • several drops of red food coloring
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3) In a large bowl with electric mixer, blend butter with strawberry puree. Add flour mixture and blend until light and fluffy. The batter will be very thick.
4) In another bowl, whisk together egg whites and milk. Add this mixture in three parts to the batter mixture, mixing only until incorporated after each addition.
5) Transfer ~1/4 of the batter into a separate bowl. Add the red dye to this bowl. Make it as pink or as red as you like, although this IS supposed to be a "Red White & Blue" cupcake.
6) Fill cupcake liners ~1/2 full of the un-dyed batter.
7) Top with the dyed batter. Fill the cupcake tins until ~3/4 full. Use a toothpick or knife to make a swirl pattern so that the cupcakes are marbled.

8) Bake ~22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
9) Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
I found a blueberry frosting recipe on the Cupcake Project website. The blueberry frosting calls for some blueberry syrup, which can be easily made at home.

Blueberry Syrup

slightly adapted from Cupcake Project
  • 6oz blueberries
  • 1/4 C sugar
1) Blend the blueberries in a food processor or blender so that they are in small pieces. I used frozen blueberries, but I'm sure you could use fresh blueberries as well.

2) Toss the blueberry pulp into a pot with the sugar and bring to a boil.

3) Reduce the heat so that the blueberry syrup is simmering. Simmer for ~10 minutes.

4) Let the syrup cool before using it in the frosting.

Blueberry Buttercream Frosting
recipe from Cupcake Project
  • 3 C confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 C butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream ( I used milk because I didn't have heavy whipping cream)
  • 6 T blueberry syrup
1) Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy.

2) Add vanilla extract and milk and continue to beat for another minute. If desired, add more confectioners' sugar to make it stiffer.

3) Stir in the blueberry syrup and frost cupcakes.

OK, so now that I've given you the recipe, let me tell you about a few "areas for improvement".

1. I know I've said it countless times in this post, but I really wanted red and white cupcakes. So why, then, did I only use enough red dye to grant me a hot pink hue? The answer is that I don't know. I think I was mesmerized by the color (it is pretty, even though I'm not a huge fan of the color pink) and I kinda just stopped there. I also have an issue with eating red food. Maybe that's why I unconsciously stopped short of getting that red color. Don't let this happen to you.

2. I confess that I didn't exactly use 6T of blueberry syrup in my frosting, so it could have been "blueberry-er" for me. The original Cupcake Project recipe makes a larger batch of syrup because it's also used in the cupcake. For my purposes, I only needed it for the frosting and my measuring was a bit inaccurate on the day that I made these cupcakes. I ended up with less than 6oz of blueberries, so of course I ended up with less than 6T of blueberry syrup to add to the frosting. This oopsie makes for a lavender frosting, instead of a blue frosting.

On the bright side, the cupcakes themselves were great! They were moist, but still airy. The strawberry flavor that was blended into the cupcake was a nice summery change from most of the cupcakes that I make. The frosting, as already mentioned, could have been a bit stiffer and could have used some more blueberries, but it was OK. Not my favorite, though. I'm gonna have to work on it some more.

FYI...I got these festive cupcake lines from Bake It Pretty! I'm in love!