Will Run for Cupcakes


I’m training for an upcoming relay race–a very LONG, overnight, tiring run. Years ago, when we were still living in San Clemente (and living the fantasy), a storm called Sprinkles Cupcakes hit us hard. So hard were we hit that Raj used to leave work early on Fridays (let me clarify so as not to upset someone–this was considered physical training, PT, so it was a sanctioned, early leave from work) for what became known as the ‘Sprinkles’ Run.’ I suppose this ‘run’ isn’t as bad as it sounds, I mean he was burning calories by running, right? Raj would meet up with a small group of ‘work’ friends and fellow cupcake enthusiasts who set out on a five-mile run followed up by a jaunt into Sprinkles for a cupcake or two. Well actually, he’d call ahead and have a dozen cupcakes in various flavors (an on a good day, a shot of frosting for me) waiting to be picked up for himself, and me, and our dog Shanti. (Sprinkles makes great doggie cupcakes called ‘pupcakes.’) I could never meet up for these runs because I was too busy working, supporting the habit,…but that was a lifetime ago.
These days, I’m too busy looking for things to do. In honor of Raj’s ‘cupcake runs’ and because Valentine’s Day is just two days away, I decided to make these Sprinkles’ Strawberry Cupcakes.
I thought they turned out great. I was nervous about getting the frosting just right as the reviews on MarthatStewart.com were horrible–the frosting is runny, there’s not enough liquid, too much liquid, it’s disgusting…EXPLETIVES were seen in TWO reviews; it was that bad, seriously. After reading the reviews, I fought the urge to spend way too much money on imported, Betty Crocker “Strawberry” (artificially) flavored and brightly colored frosting at the grocery store. With trepidation, I continued on. It did take a few minutes in the mixer for the butter and powdered sugar to come together, but eventually they did. The frosting was perfect and slightly pink thanks to the addition of the REAL strawberry puree that I added.
Next up on the worry list was frosting the cupcakes. I don’t like the look of piped cupcakes (not home-made enough looking) and I prefer the dimpled look of Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes to Sprinkles’. I was relatively happy with my attempts. In the course of my cupcake research yesterday, I read that it takes about forty hours of on the job cupcake frosting training to get the ‘dimple’ just right. I only have about 38 hours of training left to go.

Lastly, I added a few pale pink sprinkles that I’ve been hording in the larder for years (unsure why, courtesy of Nicole’s trip to Rome), along with a homemade heart-shaped sugar cookie (recipe which will be posted, next).

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Cupcakes

This recipe for strawberry cupcakes is from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes.

The recipe comes from The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2008

  • YieldMakes 1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting (follows)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
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