11 June 2009

Strawberry Swing Cupcakes for IC:E Summer Berries

This is my first entry for the June Iron Cupcake:Earth challenge - Summer Berries. I was thrilled when this challenge was announced because I had been eyeing a recipe from the new Martha Stewart Cupcakes cookbook which I had seen on her site and then was able to drool over in person when my copy finally arrived from Amazon.co.uk! Hers is a Strawberry Cupcake with a Strawberry Meringue Buttercream. And lucky for me, it's strawberry season here in Paris.

The most common varieties on the market here are Gariguette, which represent 20% of the French strawberry production, and Mara des Bois. I used the latter for this recipe - it's a small, sweet, somewhat firm berry reminiscent to the wild strawberries we used to pick in the fields when I was a little girl at camp in Maine.

After taking a more in-depth look at the Martha recipe, I decided hers might be a little too full-on strawberry for a gal like me who is preferential to chocolate and caramel, and also a little bland for IC:E where the flavor combinations are key to the challenge. So I decided to scrap that idea - sorry Martha - save for the strawberries.

So, what did I come up with? A strawberry cupcake loaded with white chocolate chunks and topped with a strawberry and pistachio twist buttercream. It's name,"Strawberry Swing" is taken from Coldplay's Viva La Vida which I was listening to while I baked them.

I have to admit that despite the flavor additions, these were still a bit too strawberry potent for me. I think next time I may chop the chocolate finer so that you get more chocolate in every bite, and up the ratio of pistachio to strawberry buttercream.

In any case they make a nice summery dessert and would be perfect for sharing at a picnic or 4th of July party. The recipe follows. Enjoy!!!

Strawberry Swing Cupcakes
For 16 cupcakes:
4 ozs. unsalted butter/beurre doux, softened
1 cup sugar/sucre en poudre
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda/bicarbonate alimentaire
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk /lait fermente
1/2 cup hot water
100 g. white chocolate, chopped
3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped in small pieces (you may want to reserve about 12 whole strawberries for decoration)

Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C. Grease or place cupcake liners into cupcake tins.
To make cupcakes, cream together sugar and butter until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda, salt and mix until well-combined. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk in 3 batches ending with a flour addition, mix well until smooth. Add hot water last and mix to combine. Fold in white chocolate chunks and 2 cups strawberries.
Fill lined cupcake tins 2/3rds full and bake for 18-22 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Pistachio & Strawberry Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 tbsps. milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries (reserved from above)
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and crushed

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.
In a bowl or mixer, beat together butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and milk and mix well. Divide buttercream into 2 bowls, fold strawberry puree in one; fold pistachios into the other. Mix well. Fill a pastry bag with pistachio buttercream on one side and strawberry on other so when you pipe, you get a half and half mixture of each coming out. Frost cupcakes. EAT!

I am competing for an ETSY PRIZE-PACK this month, which you will find right below the photo of my new tote! Why is there a pic of that groovy tote bag in the midst of my cupcake blog you may ask? Well, it's just my way of giving a shout out to my friend Melissa at Etsy shop: Haut Totes. I won a contest she was running on Twitter last week (I honestly never win anything!) and won an awesome, so very cool tote from her! Yay! Do you likey????

Here are the Iron Cupcake June prizes:

* A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH
* A groovy linocut piece from BLOCKHEAD PRESS
* a sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery,
* PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, , JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books, a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.


  1. Those cupcakes look berry berry good. : )

  2. Oh Cat! What a great entry! I love your stories on how you come to decide on what flavour to cook!
    Congrats on winning the bag, looks like we have both been unusually lucky recently! :)

  3. these look so nice! You surely have my vote :) Wish I could grab one. droooolinggg!!!

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm certainly looking for a 2nd win with this one! ;) Ar eany of you gals submitting entries? Looking forward to them if so.