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Posts Tagged ‘Valentines Day’

 

I’ve discovered that I’m hardwired to bake.  It’s what I think about when I

wake up in the morning and what I think about when I’m driving, when I’m

at the grocery store, or in the dentists’ chair. It’s what I think about when

I’m in a crowd or all alone.  It’s what I yearn for when I have other chores

to do, what I stay up late for and what I dream about. It’s how I mend a

wounded heart, comfort a worn out soul, plan a big event, show off a new

idea, serve up my sincere gratitude, or share my heartfelt love.  Quite

simply, it’s what makes me happy. And I know it makes a lot of you happy too.

Seeing as today is a day for declaring our love for the people and things we

love, I took this opportunity to write my true love a very special Valentine.

 

 

For a long time I searched for “my calling”.  Something I was good at.

Though I tried on many hats, nothing seemed to be a good fit. Until, quite

unexpectedly, I discovered I was good at something I already did.  It’s funny

how you can miss something so entirely, while you’re incredibly busy looking

for it.  Has anything like that ever happened to you?

I baked these cupcakes for Jennie, my son’s special valentine, on the

occasion of her 21st birthday.  The  vanilla buttercream recipe is the same

one I always use, and the one I wrote about earlier in the week, in the

post Strawberry Heart Cupcakes. It tastes delicious on any flavour of cupcake.

I hope you’re enjoying the valentines in your life, today … and every day.

Love, Jackie  XXOO

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They say love is in the air, so what better way to say “I love you”  than with a strawberry cupcake topped with whipped buttercream and candied hearts.

These cupcakes are easy, moist and straw-bel-icious!!!  Filled with fresh

strawberries the sweet, light flavour comes through in every bite. Whip

some up for the sweethearts in your life.

 

Strawberry Cupcakes

Makes 12

1/3 cup (75 g) butter, softened

1 cup (230 g) sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla

1 cup (150 g) flour

1 tsp ( 5 ml) baking powder

1/3 cup (85 ml) milk

6-8 (120 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped

1-2 drops gel food colour in red (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F /175 ° C.  Line one standard 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the egg and then the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating between the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture; beat until combined after each addition.  Fold in the strawberries. At this point I added two drops of Americolor “Super Red” soft gel paste food colour to add a deeper strawberry colour.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are slightly golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean,about 20 minutes.  Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on wire racks.

This recipe can easily be doubled.

Vanilla/Strawberry Buttercream

Yields:  3 cups

5 large egg whites

1 cup (210 g) butter, softened

1 cup (190 g) + 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

6-7 (100 g) chopped strawberries (optional)

1. Pour egg whites and sugar into a grease-free and heatproof bowl. Place the bowl in a double boiler, with the water simmering, but not touching the bowl.  Whisk the sugar and eggs continuously until it reaches 160 °F / 70 °C .  This will take approximately 15 minutes.  If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the mixture by rubbing it between your fingers; if the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is thick, it’s ready for the next step.

2. Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whip using the whisk attachment until white, glossy, thick and cool.  You can test the temperature by placing your hand on the outside of the bowl, if it’s comfortable and approximately room temperature, it’s ready for the butter.  This step can take 10 – 15 minutes.

3. Start by switching to the paddle attachment on your mixer.  Slowly add the butter in chunks, one at a time, until incorporated and your mixture is thick, smooth and silky.

Notes:

Don’t worry is your mixture looks soupy or curdles.  It may appear to be ruined, but keep mixing and it will come together.  If your buttercream appears to be too runny; place the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes and rewhip.  If the buttercream appears to be to cold, set it back in the double boiler for a few seconds and whip again.

Add the pure vanilla extract or scrape a vanilla bean, if you would like some tiny vanilla bean specs, and mix.

If you would like to have a strawberry buttercream add 100 g (6-7) coarsely chopped fresh strawberries to the buttercream and whip for 1-2 minutes.  (You can also add a drop of strawberry flavouring, though you won’t need it if your strawberries have a lot of flavour).

Pipe vanilla buttercream using a Wilton tip # 2A  tip in a pastry bag in swirls on the cooled cupcake topped with a couple of candy hearts, sprinkles, smarties or Hershey’s kisses.

To pipe the strawberry buttercream you will need to use an open piping tip so that the strawberries won’t get stuck in the tip.  Wilton # 12 Round or #199 Open Star should work just fine.

The buttercream should be used immediately or stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.  Leave out at room temperature and rewhip with the paddle attachment of your mixer for 5 to 10 minutes when needed.

Mmmm. Mmm. mmm. mm. Can’t you just taste that fresh berri ‘ ness?

Hope you’re busy spread’in some berry-licious love and I hope you have a wonderful

weekend.~!

Jackie

XXOO

 

 

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