Strawberry Cupcakes Guest Baker

Strawberry Cupcakes Guest Baker


Today, guest baker Krissy makes strawberry cupcakes. We met Krissy in our childbirth class before our daughter Meta, and Krissy's and her husband's daughter Julie, were born. I'm not much of a baker, so Krissy walks us through her outstanding strawberry cupcake recipe! -- Peter I remember the first time I saw a red velvet cake a few years back on an episode of Sara's Secrets on Food Network. I figured since we lived in Florida now (from Pittsburgh, PA), I should learn how to make a proper Southern Red Velvet Cake. The recipe featured Cake Man Raven's recipe, and it is one I see time and time again in searching for the perfect Red Velvet recipe. I have used the recipe several times over, but was a bit put off by the amount of oil and its residual effects let alone how much cocoa powder really should be in the recipe.

After some research, I found I could make a few substitutions that hopefully would result in a healthier tasting treat. I substituted unsweetened applesauce for half the oil in the recipe, and yogurt for buttermilk. I rarely have buttermilk on hand, but always have yogurt since it is one of my daughter's favorite foods to eat.

The first time I tried all the substitutions I was surprised that they actually turned out okay, but I could not believe how great they tasted! It was definitely the 'Wow!' factor I was looking for when my husband and I tasted them. I was really excited that after some failed baking experiments one actually turned out. By using the strawberry yogurt we get a wonderful tasting strawberry cupcake – or a muffin if you leave the icing off!

The first step of any recipe to is read the recipe and make sure you have all your ingredients. There is nothing worse than getting into a recipe and realizing you are out of flour or eggs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating and before you make the batter, line your muffin tins.

Add a sifter placed over a bowl and add the dry ingredients to it. Be careful not to measure ingredients over the bowl or mixture you will be adding it too, on the off chance too much comes out and ruins the recipe.

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder

When all the dry ingredients are measured, sift. Use a spoon to get the last few lumps out.

Now measure the wet ingredients (see below), and add it to the bowl of the stand mixer.

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup strawberry yogurt
  • 2 eggs (room temp)
  • 1 tsp distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 - 1oz bottle)

Strawberry yogurt - the semi-secret ingredient

Check each egg individually before adding to the batter to ensure there are no problems with the egg. Add each egg to the mixer one at a time.

I happened to use Apple Cider vinegar since I had it on hand.

Now the fun part - a bottle of red food coloring!

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three small batches, turning the mixer off while adding. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Optional: Just before you finish mixing, feel free to add a drop or two or three of blue food coloring to darken the red. I prefer a scarlet color over a bright pink/red so I end up adding 3-4 drops. The choice is yours.

Now that the batter is ready, it is time to fill the muffin cups. I use a small soup ladle to fill the cups and I find it easiest if I spray the ladle with some non-stick spray so the batter slides right out. This is also useful when portioning out cookie dough.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full.

Once filled, grab the muffin tin at both ends and tap gently to ensure all the batter has settled and no air bubbles have formed. Clean up any batter spills on the tin before placing in the oven to avoid unnecessary burning.

Place one tin of muffins in the center of a 350 degree pre-heated oven. Bake per the recommendations below:

  • Mini-size: Bake 13-15 mins
  • Regular size: Bake 15-18 mins

Use a toothpick to check for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean.

When done, place tin on a wire rack to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes from the tin to cool even further. The cupcakes must be cooled before icing.

While you are waiting for the cupcakes to cool, or waiting for another batch to bake, take this time to make the frosting. I took advantage of an extra bowl we happened to have, which I highly recommend if you like to get all your baking done with minimal downtime.

To the mixer we add 2 blocks of cream cheese, 1 stick of butter and 2 cups powdered sugar.

Starting on low speed and slowly increasing, beat the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. The paddle attachment may have been more useful instead of the whisk.

Then add the vanilla. I use clear vanilla extract which is readily available in the cake section of your local craft store or maybe at your local grocery store where you find regular vanilla extract. The clear extract will keep your frosting from turning an ever, ever, ever so light brown color. If the frosting seems a little stiff, add a tsp or so of milk with the mixer on low. Place the frosting in the refrigerator if it seems too soft to decorate with.

Now comes the next fun part - decorating! I decided to use a pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip to make nice big swirls of frosting. After fitting the bag with a tip and coupler, or just a tip, place the bag into a larger container and fold the top over the edge. Fill the bag halfway full of frosting. Gather the top of the bag and twist the bag to force the frosting down and to squeeze the air out.

Don your favorite decorating outfit. This apron was a anniversary present from my husband Dave a few years back. It goes well with my 'Muffins are just ugly Cupcakes' shirt.

Select some cupcakes to start decorating. Make sure they are cool, otherwise you will have a mess between a warm cupcake and the frosting.

With a bag of frosting ready to go, you can pipe directly on the platter where you will be serving, or you can pick up the cupcake to decorate. The later would be easier if you are using an offset spatula for icing. I used the 1M swirl technique to pipe large swirls of frosting on the cupcake.

  1. Keep the tip perpendicular to the cake, just above the surface and a pipe a swirl.
  2. On top of the first swirl, pipe another and pull straight up when finishing.
  3. Voila

If you still want something pretty, but without as much frosting you could just pipe stars onto the top of the cake. Just squeeze the bag of frosting a bit and out comes a star, or flower if you give it a little twist.

The great thing about cupcakes is that there are so many ways to decorate them. Which will you choose?

Final Thoughts:

I had a great time baking these cupcakes while Christey took pictures. It was interesting for me to see what others see while I am in the kitchen. Baking is something I love to do an to be able to share any tips, tricks or fun stories while doing it makes it even better. These cupcakes would be a great activity to do with the kids this Fourth of July or even during the holidays later in the year. Of course, you have to get the kids involved at some point since we had several toddlers at the end asking for CUPCAKES!


Strawberry Cupcakes Yields: 2 dozen regular size cupcakes, or 4-5 dozen mini-cupcakes

Cupcake liners 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon fine salt 1 tablespoon cocoa powder ¾ cup vegetable oil ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce 1 cup strawberry yogurt 2 large eggs, at room temperature 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce is usually 1 bottle) 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe below Crushed pecans or red decorating sugar for garnish *Optional: blue food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting Yields: Enough frosting to heavily decorate the above cupcake recipe

2 cups powdered sugar 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick, room temperature) 16 ounces cream cheese (2 blocks, room temperature) 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (if available, otherwise regular)

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  3. In a stand mixer, mix together wet ingredients: oil, applesauce, yogurt, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. (Optional: Add a few drops of blue food coloring to deepen the red color)
  4. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three small batches until just combined, and a smooth batter is formed. Do not overmix.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and tap on flat surface to ensure no air bubbles. Bake accordingly:
    • Mini-size: Bake 13-15 mins
    • Regular size: Bake 15-18 mins
  6. Use a toothpick to check for doneness and when it comes out clean, move muffin tins to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer on low speed, combine cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until combined.
  2. Increase the speed and beat until light, fluffy and lumps are gone. (If frosting seems a bit stiff, turn off and add 1tsp or so of milk) Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add vanilla and mix briefly.
  4. Place frosting in refrigerator to stiffen slightly.
  5. When cupcakes have cooled completed. Pipe frosting or use an offset spatula to spread frosting onto cupcake. Decorate with crushed pecans or red decorating sugar.
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