Strawberry Cupcakes for your Valentine…

…or for any reason at all, really.

We have Hailey to thank for this recipe. She and Ella turned 5 this month. I know, I can’t believe it either, they’re growing up way too fast, as all children do! We told them they could have a party and invite all their friends from preschool (actually, they told us and we agreed but I don’t want to seem like a pushover). So, the planning began…It was decided that the party would be at their gymnastics place and the theme would be fairies and butterflies. Ella contributed most of the ideas and input which involved many bedtime conversations about whether I had booked the venue, what guests had rsvp’d, what snacks to serve and what we would put in the boys goody bags because they would NOT want what the girls had. I have to say, it was a lot of pressure and I can only imagine how much of nightmare she’ll be as a bride someday. On the other hand, Hailey had only one request, strawberry cupcakes.

I tweaked my recipe for vanilla cupcakes to come up with a strawberry version and they turned out really good. So good, Bob and I were actually choosing them over the chocolate cupcakes I made at Ella’s request. That was weird for us. I wanted to post these in time for Valentine’s day since they are so perfectly pink and lovely. Of course, they would be wonderful on any occasion.

Here are my precious birthday girls

Ella and Hailey

Strawberry Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry puree (instructions below)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk w/1/2 TB vinegar)\

Frosting

4-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup strawberry puree
2TB milkTo make the strawberry puree, thaw and puree a 16oz bag of frozen, unsweetened strawberries. You may use a blender or food processor if you don’t have a handy immersion blender.

In medium saucepan, over med-high heat, combine pureed berries, 1/4 cup sugar, and the juice of one half lemon. Bring to a boil, allow to boil for @ 5 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken slightly.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cupcake pans with liners (this should yield 24 cupcakes)

Sift flours, baking powder and salt in bowl, set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until well combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix until combined, add buttermilk, mix until combined, add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix until combined

add strawberry puree, mix until combined

finish with last 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full of batter

Bake 18 – 20 minutes until tester comes clean. You can also check by gently pushing on the cupcake with your index finger, it should spring back a bit if it’s ready. Cool completely.

Beat 2 cups powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until well combined.

Alternately, a little at a time, add strawberry puree, milk and remaining powdered sugar until you achieve desired taste and consistency.

Mix until frosting is light and fluffy.

Frost to your heart’s content and put on lots of sprinkles (Ella & Hailey’s suggestion, they love their sprinkles!)

If you have a piping bag and a large star tip, you can make them fancy like I did for the birthday party. I sort of prefer the old fashioned frosted look though.

Don’t forget your princesses (we could’t find fairies) and butterflies!

Happy Valentines Day!

“The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all…”
Creed/Masser
Sung by the great Whitney Houston

It’s true that it’s the greatest love… unfortunately, it’s not usually easy.
RIP Whitney Houston.
Thank you for the music!

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