Strawberry Birthday Cupcakes

Six months ago I  had a birthday.  And six months ago I did something I’ve never done before – I made my own birthday cake – or cupcakes.  This not a slam on anyone who has ever offered to make or buy me a birthday dessert.  Baking is something I love to do, and that’s not a secret.  I’ve always enjoyed baking for others, so when I became the designated baker at my office 2 years ago I was thrilled!  In an effort to make my birthday more celebratory my coworkers would always try and supply a cake for me instead of asking me to make my own.  So sweet, but when you’re always making what others are requesting people rarely have time to find out what you like. Long story short – I’ve learned that if you don’t tell people what you want they’ll guess.  So be specific, be grateful you work with such generous people, and/or get over yourself and make your own (cup)cakes.

I used a recipe from The Baking Robot with only a few adjustments (see below for recipe).  Mostly it was that I didn’t have whole milk in my fridge, so I opted of vanilla almond milk.  I also substituted some of the vanilla for almond extract just to go along with the theme I had inadvertently started.  And it really was a beautiful story that looked something like this:

Strawberries meet potato masher.

Mashed strawberries meet sweet cupcake batter.

No really, get really familiar with each other.

Delicious cupcakes meet fancy frosting and decorations.

And don’t forget to include something special just for you.

The result?  A fabulously dense, moist (not going to lie – I hate that word, but it does perfectly describe the outcome) cupcake that was devoured by everyone it came it contact with.

I used my favorite recipe for Italian Buttercream from Whisk Kid. It’s like heaven. No joke, this is probably the most delicious frosting in my arsenal right now.  It’s like soft, silky, ice cream flavored happiness – on a cupcake…or cake…or spoon.  I’m not going to include her recipe, because well honestly, her website has it down perfectly.  She has step by step photos and great explanations of each part of the process. It’s like having someone hold your hand through your first steps onto a culinary ledge that you could easily fall off of.  So go there and be enlightened.

Strawberry Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2-1/4 cups sugar
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup whole milk (or vanilla almond milk if it’s all you have on hand :)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (feeling adventurous – sub in a little almond extract)
2 cups finely chopped strawberries (about 20)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper lines. Sift together both flours, baking powder and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add whole eggs and the white, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Fold in chopped strawberries by hand.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans half way through, until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.

Now go – make something delicious!

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