Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kitchen Klutz: Cupcakes for Cupid

By Michèle De Meglio

Cupid is coming — and he’s bringing cupcakes!

Chocolate may be the traditional Valentine’s Day treat but I don’t wanna make that. I have to follow my heart after all — and I want cupcakes! Pink ones!

To get that lovely rosy hue, strawberries were in order. The thought of strawberry cake was too odd for my liking so I opted to transform the berries into a decadent frosting.

What’s the perfect compliment to strawberries? Vanilla! My Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting were gonna be great!

I searched my favorite cookbooks for the simplest and easiest recipes and ultimately combined a few to suit my novice skills.

Frankly, baking has more steps than I would have liked! (I’ve gotten pretty good at three-step dishes.)

To make the cupcakes, I filled a large bowl with dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and another with messier fare (butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract). Then I put everything together and added milk.

As I mixed, the batter went from very lumpy to very thin. It was difficult to tell when it was just right. It seems I have the same problem as Goldilocks!

After endless stirring, I filled a muffin pan with the mixture and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Fortunately, the frosting needed only three things — sugar, an egg white and of course, loads of strawberries. After draining and smashing the berries, I filled my mini food processor with the goodies. The recipe said to mix the ingredients until they seem thick, just how rich frosting should be. I kept at it even when the food processor’s motor made sad straining noises. Those berries were going to break my machine! Oh, the things we do for love — and Valentine’s Day.

Verdict: Why can’t every day be Valentine’s Day? The world would be covered in pink and full of decadent milk chocolate and sweet strawberry-frosted cupcakes. If that wouldn’t bring world peace, I don’t know what would.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk

Strawberry Frosting:
1 cup strawberries, drained
1 egg white
1 cup sugar

For cupcakes, fill a mixing bowl with flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs while mixing ingredients. Add vanilla. Combine both bowls and stir in milk. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

For frosting, drain strawberries then combine with egg white and sugar in a blender or food processor. Whip until solid, then chill to thicken mixture. Spread on cupcakes and serve.

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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