Nope. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you… And those aren’t giant strawberries you are seeing 😄 I mentioned earlier the hubby has been complaining about gaining weight because I have been baking cupcakes almost every week now for the past month, so I found a solution: down-size! 😁 From now on, I will be baking only mini-cupcakes instead of the standard-sized ones (… except, of course, on special occasions) 😊
For my first attempt at down-sizing, I made a batch of Strawberry red velvet mini cupcakes with Strawberry cream cheese frosting for Valentine’s Day cum Norwegian Mothers’ Day. They are similar to the raspberry ones I baked a week ago for our anniversary, except for a few changes:
- I added 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar to the 1 1/2 teaspoon called for in BrownEyedBaker’s original recipe. The result is a moister and fluffier cupcake. (I should have done this earlier considering the original recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder, which is acidic, while the standard cocoa powder available here in Europe are all alkaline. Since the leavening ability of chocolate cupcakes relies on the usual acid-base reaction between the cocoa and baking soda/powder, this explained why my previous cupcakes were rather flat-topped and a bit dense. I could have used baking powder instead, but I read somewhere that this might make the cake too fluffy…)
- I found and used another base recipe for the cream cheese frosting that is more to my liking. The ones I used previously ended up being too sweet after I reached the desired consistency. This one I used from Wicked Good Kitchen is perfectly balanced, in my opinion.
Strawberry red velvet mini-cupcakes
Makes 36-48 mini-cupcakes
63 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
169 g granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp red food coloring gel
2 tbsp strawberry puree
3-4 drops strawberry essence (e.g. LorAnn Oils)
3-4 drops vanilla essence
125 ml buttermilk
115 g + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 tsp white vinegar
- Pre-heat oven to 175°C.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Turn the speed to «high» and add the egg, beating until well-blended.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla essence, strawberry puree, strawberry essence and food coloring to form a paste. Add this paste to the batter and mix at medium speed until thoroughly combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to «low» and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Carefully add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed, then repeat the process of adding the rest of the buttermilk and flour. Beat at high speed until the batter becomes smooth.
- Reduce the mixer speed again to «low» and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn the speed back to «high» and beat for another couple of minutes until the batter is thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Line 2 mini-muffin pans with baking paper cups (or muffin forms). Fill each cup 2/3-3/4 full with batter. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pans before removing onto wire racks to cool completely.
Strawberry cream cheese frosting
(Adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen)
125 g unsalted butter, softened (I used half unsalted and half salted butter)
125 g cream cheese, straight from the refrigerator
2 tbsps strawberry puree
220-260 g powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
20 g freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized
2-3 drops strawberry essence
pinch of salt (optional)
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy. (This might take time, so patience is required)
- Add the cream cheese and strawberry puree. Beat until well-blended, then gradually increase the speed to «high», and continue beating until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary.
- Turn the speed to «low», then gradually add 220 g of the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar. Beat until thoroughly combined.
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries, and continue beating at low speed until just blended.
- Set the mixer speed back to «high», and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar, if necessary, and continue beating until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Taste the mixture, if it has become too sweet, add the salt and beat until completely combined.
- Spoon the finished frosting into piping bags (if using immediately), or store in suitable containers for later use.
- Frost each (completely cooled) cupcake with the prepared cream cheese frosting. You can use a piping bag, or you can simply spread the frosting on top—works either way.