A terrific baker and cook from the recipe site I belong to directed me to a picture of a white cupcake with a strawberry in the middle when I asked for suggestions for a ‘summer’ cupcake. I did my own take on it by using a white cake mix that I doctored just a bit (to make the cupcake part easy). And I decided that my way to make these really *divine* would be to frost them with real, homemade buttercream frosting and then finish them off with a bit of sweetened coconut for pizazz.
Let’s first talk about a white cake mix. It keeps its white color because egg whites, not the yellow yolks, are used. But it’s the yolks (in my humble opinion) that give most baked goods a rich texture and taste. So I always add an extra egg yolk to any cake or cupcake recipe I make. But in this case I simply replace one of the egg whites called for on the package directions with one egg (yolk and egg white). I find the change in color is minimal if noticeable at all. Then I also add 1/2 cup of either sour cream or plain, Greek yogurt. To add moisture and richness.
As for the homemade buttercream frosting….
A real buttercream frosting is made from sugar, egg whites and unsweetened butter. Often flavors (lemon juice) and extracts (vanilla, for example) are also added. This type of buttercream frosting is light in texture and absolute divine in taste. And a pleasure to work with. And it’s easy to make. Okay – not as easy as creaming powdered sugar and butter for what most people consider ‘buttercream’, but not that hard.
One thing, however, to take note of is that with this type of buttercream if you are serving it in hot weather (which would be the goal for a summer cupcake:) – keep it inside (best yet, in the refrigerator) until a bit before you are going to serve it. It doesn’t hold up well in prolonged heat (butter turns to liquid in heat). Serving these cold is an absolutely delicious treat!
Makes 16 – 24 cupcakes depending on how large you make them
- 1 package white cake mix
- 1 whole egg (use this as a replacement for 1 egg white in package directions)
- 1/2 cup plain, Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 16-24 medium size strawberries, tops removed
- Make cupcakes according to directions but with the addition of the whole egg and the 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt.
- Fill each cupcake liner as directed to in package direction. Place a strawberry, pointy side up, in the middle of each cupcake and gently push down. The top of the strawberry will poke through the batter but no worries; as the cupcake bakes the batter will rise and cover the strawberry.
- Bake as directed except start checking the cupcakes 5 minutes before package directions. And, to test doneness, stick a toothpick in the cupcake not in the center of the cupcake but more to the side (you want to test the batter for doneness, not the strawberry).
- Cool to room temperature. Then, 1 hour before frosting, put the cupcakes in the freezer to firm. It will make frosting the cupcake much easier.
Homemade Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Baking: From My Home To Yours”)
Makes enough for 24 cupcakes or one layer cake
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons), optional
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Put the sugar and the egg whites in a mixer bowl or other large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmered water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. (I actually just put it over very low heat, without the pan of simmered water, and watch it like a hawk). The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove bowl from heat.
- Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. During this time, the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the the lemon juice, if using, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla You should have a shiny, smooth velvety, pristine white buttercream. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the buttercream if not using immediately.
To Assemble Cupcakes
- sweetened, flaked coconut
- Put coconut on a plate.
- If cupcakes have a large overhand\g over the liner, you may want to trim the overhang a bit.
- Put a large dollop of buttercream on the center of each cupcake. Spread over top of cupcake so that it is well-covered. Holding the cupcake with one hand, hold a knife or icing spatula upright in the other and run it around the edges of the cupcake so that a small ‘wall’ builds around the edge of the cupcake.
- Take the cupcake and roll the ‘wall’ of the cupcake in coconut so all sides are lightly covered.
- keep frosted cupcakes in refrigerator until ready to use. (They can be frozen too!)
Diva Entertains has a fun and fabulous line of Cupcake Favors! Perfect for any celebration!