Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever. - The Beatles
Hmm.. unfortunately, I believe that most things are real and there are lots of things that we do get hung about, but today, I just wanted to say that despite all that, there is so much to celebrate! Like my friend Helen's birthday! Life might not be strawberry fields forever, but there definitely are sweet moments to delight in!
Happy birthday to Helen! She's so special to me because it's not about the outwardly appearance or words that make our relationship, but the heart-to-heart connection. We've gone through a lot over the years, and she's blessed my life in lots of ways. It wasn't the good times that brought us closer but the tears and hurts that let us open up. I think that kind of friendship is so precious and priceless.
So in light of that, I've baked some cupcakes for her--I guess I've sorta made myself the designated baker for parties. She loves my strawberry cheesecake, but I hadn't had enough time to bake it, so I went with strawberry cupcakes. It was a compromise: it had strawberries and cream cheese in it! I found a FANTASTIC recipe from speedM on Flickr. The icing tasted literally like Strawberry Haagen Daaz ice cream, or Strawberry Pocky!
It was simple to make and just gorgeous! I'm actually a huge non-fan of strawberries. I don't like em at all. I love fruits but strawberries--blegh. But these cupcakes were great. I'm glad I tried this recipe! You should too! As for decoration, I didn't want to do a typical strawberry topping, so I did a modern looking chocolate piece. I just melted the white chocolate and spread it thin, dusted some cocoa powder on it, then froze it, then broke it into pieces. It was nice against the pale pink of the frosting.
Strawberry Cupcakesmakes one dozen
2 cups of fresh strawberries, cut in half and stem removed
sugar to taste
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup strawberry sauce
1/4 cup milk
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces or 1 package of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
approximately 1/4 cup of strawberry sauce
1. Soak strawberries with about 1-2 tbs sugar for 15 minutes. Put strawberries in a small saucepan and heat under medium heat with lid on. Cook strawberries for approximately 15 minutes till strawberries cook down and become soft and saucy. Adjust sweetness with sugar until you get the desired sweetness. With a blender, puree until you get the desired smoothness or chunkiness. Cool before using in recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers. Whisk flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Measure out milk and strawberry sauce together. Set aside.
2. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
3. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine. Add about one third the milk/strawberry sauce mixture and beat until combined. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes). Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add half of the sugar, beat until combined. Add strawberry sauce until you achieve the right color and flavor, making sure not to add too much or the frosting will be too soft. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.