Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'm Not Trendy


I've been seeing a lot of chatter lately about the cupcake trend coming to an end. But in my humble opinion, cupcakes, in general, have been around for decades and will still be around for many decades to come. Whether or not all those boutique cupcake shops and cupcakeries will still be around is another story. Some say that the new trend is fro-yo. But didn't frozen yogurt already have its time? Remember the 1980s when fat was out and all things low fat (like Snackwells) were in? I guess like fashion trends go through cycles, so do food trends. But as long as children like frosting and adults like small cakes that they don’t have to share, cupcakes will always be available from my kitchen. The cupcakes I make may not be trendy or chic, but they always taste great (and they don’t cost $3.00 each).

These strawberry cupcakes turned out better than I hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I usually have high hopes when I bake anything, but these were surprisingly good and exceeded my expectations. My only complaint was that I hoped the cupcake itself would've turned out more red or even pink and less earth toned. I really didn't want to add red food coloring or strawberry Jell-O powder just to add color. So I guess natural it is. Other than the color, it was a good cupcake recipe. I really liked the texture, crumb and flavor of the cupcake. But how can it not be good when there's sour cream, oil and butter in the batter?

au naturale

Now, the strawberry frosting is really where all the excitement lives. My co-workers absolutely loved the frosting. I love how pink the frosting was just from the addition of strawberries and some jam. And how pretty are the little flecks of strawberry throughout the frosting? Even though it tasted really good (kinda like strawberry ice cream), the frosting was too sweet for me. But I admit that I find most American-style (butter and confectioners' sugar, no eggs) buttercream frostings too sweet.


Ponchatoula Strawberry Cupcakes
(Makes 24 cupcakes)
(Adapted from Serious Eats who adapted the recipe from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose)

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temp
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 cup mashed fresh or frozen strawberries, (if the strawberries are cold or frozen, mash and let sit until it comes to room temp)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Strawberry Frosting (see recipe below)

Make the cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the wells of your muffin tins or line with cupcake liners.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

3. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the sour cream mixture. Beat for 1 minute at medium speed.

5. On low speed add the flour mixture. Mix until just flour is just incorporated. Mix in the mashed strawberries and orange zest. Spoon into your prepared muffin tins, filling each well approximately two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or when cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool on racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Strawberry Frosting
(Makes enough to lightly frost 24 cupcakes. You can double the recipe if you want more frosting)

1/3 cup chopped fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon strawberry jam
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or orange juice
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cups (6 ounces/1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 to 2.5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (the amount needed will depend on how thick you like your frosting)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chopped strawberries, jam, and lemon/orange juice. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until the jam is melted and the strawberries are soft. Press any big pieces with the back of a spoon to mash. Let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy. On low speed, slowly add about 1 3/4 cup the confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined. Add the strawberry mixture and mix on low speed until blended. Add as much of the remaining 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar until you achieve the desired thickness.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, spread with the frosting.


I made some cupcakes for my nephew to take to kindergarten for his birthday. He wanted "Cars" themed cupcakes. I made some vanilla cupcakes and frosted them with your basic butter and confectioners' sugar vanilla buttercream frosting. I did not stay dye free for the frosting. I originally wanted to do a red frosting since the main character in the movie is a red car and the "Cars" cupcake paper liners were mostly blue, but my nephew is going through an anti-red food phase right now. So blue was my next choice. I wanted dark blue frosting but as I was mixing the buttercream I realized that I would have to add more food coloring than I wanted to use. So I made the executive decision to keep it a lighter blue. My nephew was so adorable. He called to thank me for making him cupcakes to take to school. It just made my heart melt.

The nice man working at the supermarket bakery counter gave me the plastic container.No more smooshed frosting when transporting cupcakes to school.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I share your opinion regarding that speciality! I've eaten cupcakes all my life (being part English) and it's nothing new to me! I don't like trends as they only bring back old classics and make them hip - nothing new...

Anyhow, your cupcakes look very pretty and delicious! Yummy!



Meeta said...

I think I too missed that trend basically for the same reason you mentioned - cupcakes have been a part of my life since I lived in the US when I was a kid. I guess that is why I did not see it as a trend - maybe a revival! These cupcakes however have all the qualities of becoming trend setters!

Audax Artifex said...

Cupcakes will always be around just the frills will be different. Everybody loves cupcakes. Just loved the car cupcakes and the light blue colour was the right choice.

The berry cupcakes look divine, yes USA icing seems much too sweet to me (I'm Australian) I have learnt to halve the sugar in USA recipes.

VeggieGirl said...

Exactly - cupcakes have ALWAYS been around, but the varieties will always change somewhat.

LOOOOVE those strawberry cupcakes!! Yum!!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

OMG your strawberry cupcakes look fantastic. I'm printing that out immediately.

Thanks for sharing :)

Kimberly Johnson said...

I like the au natural look of the strawberry cupcakes! Yum!

Annemarie said...

Very pretty pink cupcakes indeed. Food trends, schmood trends - I'm with you in that if it tastes good, I'll eat it (and probably over eat it, too).

Fran Z said...

I have seen recipes for strawberry cupcakes, but can't wrap my mind around baking the berries in the cake for some reason. I'll have to suck it up as these look so delish!

Peabody said...

I think cupcakes will be around as well. I pray however that the Snackwell trend does not. I remember my mother trying to shove that crap down my throat.
I love the strawberry ones. Mmm, mmm.

Sara said...

These cupcakes look delicious, I love strawberry frosting.

Jude said...

Cupcakes that taste like ice cream? Send a few this way please :)

Jennifer Moore said...

The strawberry cupcakes sound divine. I will have to make them.