After scrolling through thousands (okay, like twenty) different cupcake recipes, it was decided that strawberry-lemonade shall be the flavor of the treats I would take to my high school French teacher’s mini-retirement/farewell party.
So cute! So delectable!
And they were a hit! Even my baker-extraordinaire French prof said they were delicious.
Mini Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Adapted from How Sweet Eats (I pretty much did it exactly as printed, but here it is for convenience)
makes 12 cupcakes or about 30 mini cupcakes
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I did half AP and half whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
grated zest of two lemons (or 1 1/2 lemons, if using ginormous lemons from Costco)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together until fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Mix on the lowest setting for a few seconds.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients.
Pour into paper-lined cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 mins at 350, or about 13 minutes for minis. Let cool, then frost. (I let mine cool overnight).
Strawberry and Lemon Buttercream
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar + 1 cup extra
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 -1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
grated zest of two lemons
1-2 tablespoons of milk (just have on hand if needed)
In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar slowly with the mixer on low, increasing to combine. Add in vanilla extract. At this point you need to separate the frosting in two. It all depends on how much you want to frost each cupcake. I choose to take about 3/4 of the mixture and make it strawberry, with the rest being lemon. Whichever you decide to do, leave the frosting for the strawberry IN THE MIXER. Put the frosting for the lemon flavor in a separate bowl.
For the strawberry frosting: once the berries are chopped, press them with a paper towel to just release any extra moisture. Add 1/4 cup of the berries and turn the mixer on high, scraping down the sides as you go. Being that strawberries have a high water content, you may need to add some (or all) of the extra cup of powdered sugar. This will depend on the water content of YOUR strawberries, so add 1/4 cup, then more sugar if needed. Repeat until desired flavor/consistency is readers.
For me, the strawberry frosting looked fine in the mixer, but when I tried to pipe it form a Ziploc, it began to separate. So I returned it to the mixing bowl (no small feat) and beat it some more with more sugar. Then I just dolloped it on (no patience for piping).
For lemon frosting: take the remaining butter mixture and either add it to a clean bowl of your electric mixer or a bowl large enough that you can whisk with some elbow grease. Fold in lemon zest and add milk if needed. I was able to do this by hand with a whisk (whisking VERY hard), but it will also work with an electric mixer.
To serve them, I dolloped a big blop of strawberry on the cupcake, and then a wee blop of lemon zest frosting on top of that, finally sprinkled with a few shreds of lemon zest. Beautiful! You’ll have lots left over. I’m thinking… dark chocolate whoopie pies with strawberry buttercream filling. Oh yeah. Or maybe I’ll just make more cupcakes.
These were SO good. My taste testers loved them–the whole wheat pastry flour gives them a kind of earthiness that pairs well with the strawberry frosting. The lemon-flavored cake was just DELICIOUS. Light, a tender crumb, almost melt-in-your-mouth. Pretty much fantastic on its own.
The strawberry buttercream, while troublesome to pipe (okay, well, I’ve never piped frosting before and am not eager to try it again) was just as delicious when dolloped…. or licked off the mixer beater. The strawberry flavor totally came through and the tartness of the strawberries matched the sweet icing beautifully. The lemon zest icing was a lot less finicky, and so delicious too–I think I am just a fan of lemon-flavored things in general. Lemon bars? Lemon Girl Scout cookies? Lemon poppyseed muffins? Feed me.
I’m also a fan of miniature-sized things; yes, I’m embracing that trend, of COURSE! These are two bite! Even one, if you are really hungry for some lemon/strawberry deliciousness.
The strawberry with the long stem in the picture above may make you think I went strawberry-picking. Alas, this was not so. It was actually a lucky find in a Costco flat of strawberries. Perfect timing for the photoshoot!