Currently I’m off gallivanting in sunny Florida with my family; but I couldn’t let you down when it comes to your weekly sweet fixes! That’s why I’m extremely excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Becky Shepard of Baker Becky. I met Becky via blogging on FoodBuzz, back before it was DailyBuzz Food. Becky was one of my first followers (that was not my mom or dad) and I absolutely love her cupcake creations. Seriously, the piping skills on this girl – ahmazing. So without further ado, I give you Baker Becky and her sumptuous Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes!
I am very, very, very excited to do a guest post for On Sugar Mountain!!! I have been following Jess and drooling over all of her yummy goodies almost since the beginning of her blog. In my opinion….she is the Queen of muffins…nobody makes them better!!! I cannot make a moist muffin to save my life (I hope I never need to be saved by making muffins, what would I do?) but I am a bit of a cupcake Queen. So for Jess and all of you I decided to do what I do best and make some cupcakes!
Last week the weather was perfect (I live in Sunny California) with temperatures in the 70’s and even up to the low 80’s one day. We busted out the shorts and tank tops, exposing everyone to the glare from our pale white winter skin. I put away the soup recipes and started grilling dinner; the kids even asked if we could go in the pool (55 degrees….I don’t think so).
All of this put me in the mood for summer fruits….specifically strawberries! In California we can get them year round and pretend that it’s July even when we are wearing our winter coats. Who am I kidding, we don’t need winter coats….sweatshirts, we wear sweatshirts!
So this Strawberry Surprise Cupcake was born out of my need for a fake summer during March. The cupcake recipe is my favorite vanilla bean cupcake from my blog and I topped it with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. If you have never tried SMB you must! I am absolutely addicted to it. Not only is it light and fluffy and delicious and yummy but you can take this buttercream and add different flavors and colors to it and you have a whole new recipe! Basically….you have to try this buttercream….but, be warned….you will become an addict and start making it all the time!
The surprise part of this cupcake is that it’s filled first with a pastry cream and then with strawberries!! I thought pastry cream alone was not summery enough and the strawberries alone needed a little something. Let’s face it….I’m also addicted to pastry cream. The recipe below makes way more pastry cream than you will need for these cupcakes, so you can use the rest to make a fruit tart or just eat it straight out of the bowl like me!!
So, if you need to pretend it’s summer (or it really is summer when you are reading this) I hope you try these yummy cupcakes!!! (and again….sorry about getting you addicted to SMB….it really wasn’t my intention).
Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes
The Cupcake: (recipe from cupcakeproject.com)
Yield: 16 cupcakes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s supposed to be that way.)
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
- When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a rack.
For the pastry cream:
- 2 cups half-and-half
- ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
- Pinch of salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
- When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering half-and-half into the yolk mixture to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
For the strawberry filling:
- 1 lb of Strawberries
- Slice half of the strawberries and set aside to garnish the finished cupcakes.
- Chop of the other half and sprinkle with sugar, to taste, (use however much you need to make the filling sweet enough for your taste) and mash them with a fork. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes or so until the berries are juicy.
Assemble the Cupcakes:
- Use a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (about 1/2 inch deep) from the center of each cupcake and throw away the pieces. Spoon pastry cream filling into the cupcake then top with the strawberries. Frost with buttercream and garnish with a strawberry slice