Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strawberry Kisses

It's strawberry season! Yay! I know it's quite early for that, but this winter has been so...wintery...that I was looking forward to fresh fruits and vegetables for such a long time. I've had these mini cupcakes in my head for quite a long time. Last year, I experimented with adding fruit butters to cupcake batter, and that turned out well, but tasted to me a little too cooked. But, keep in mind, I prefer freezer jams and all fruit preserves to heavy sugar jams and jellies. Well, unless it's ginger jam, then the sugar is nice...but that is another story.

This frosting was quite a challenge for me, too. My first attempt was an Italian Buttercream - but that fell apart when I added strawberry puree to it. My second attempt was another Italian Buttercream that boiled the strawberries with the sugar, but I couldn't get the proper temperature on the sugar mixture without burning the strawberries, so that didn't get very far.

I finally settled on an easy Buttercream that I had perfected last year, when I was experimenting with different fruit butters. Turns out, the orange liqueur adds the perfect compliment to the American Buttercream. The strawberries were flavorful enough to provide enough flavor for the frosting. This is very similar to the frosting I use fruit butters in, if you want to be daring and try an apple frosting, or a pumpkin frosting. Using fruit butters was perfect, since most of the moisture had been cooked out.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click here. Have a Blessed Easter!

Mini strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream AKA Strawberry kisses

For the cupcake (makes about 48-50):

½ cup sugar

½ cup mashed strawberries

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup milk

1 ½ c. flour

¾ t. vanilla or 1 t. orange liqueur

1 egg

½ t. salt

1 t. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Spray mini cupcake tins lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium size bowl, whisk sugar, strawberries, milk, and vegetable oil together until well combined. Add egg, salt, baking powder, and vanilla or orange liqueur. Whisk until well combined. Add flour, and stir until just incorporated. Don’t overmix, but make sure you have a nice batter.

Fill tins about 2/3 full. For my tins, this is about 1 Tablespoon of batter. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly brown on top. Cool and remove from pan.

For the frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

½ t. orange liqueur or vanilla extract

1/3 c. strawberry preserves (I use all-fruit preserves with no sugar added, but any strawberry jam or preserves work)

½ c. butter, softened

1-2 t. milk

Combine butter and powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add strawberry preserves and extract, and whip until well combined and frosting takes on a pink tinge. Add enough milk for desired consistency, a few drops at a time (I only used about 3-4 drops of milk). Frost mini cupcakes and serve.

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