The berries have hit town. First they were straggling in willy-nilly. Then they arrived by the busload like they own the place.
The first thing you smell in the grocery produce section these days are the strawberries. It probably is one of few times of year that I deliberately dawdle in the produce department. And that is how I learned that you don’t have to go anywhere else to buy chocolate. They sell it right next to the berries. They also seem to hawk cheese next to the grapes, but I’m much happier to see the chocolate. You know what’s next to the rhubarb? Nothing. Nothing at all except strange things with roots.
Once those berries arrive home you need a plan otherwise they will turn into a science project as they lounge around. Any berry that still looks pristine after a couple of days is probably not an actual berry, so be careful. I’ve been fooled before. Those long-lasting faux berries taste just like, well, air and styrofoam packing peanuts. How I know that last part is probably more information than you need.
These Strawberry Strawberry Cupcakes are an ode to strawberry season. And this time of year, they actually taste like strawberry. And look – not a sliver of chocolate nearby.
Although slices of strawberries in the cupcake would have been great, it is much better to turn the berries into purée that is well incorporated with the dry ingredients. Slices would get all melty and weepy and pretty soon your gluten-free rice flour cupcake would be more like rice pudding. And sadly, it would not be easy to pipe buttercream on top of rice pudding. So let’s go with the puree and save the sliced berries for short cake or a tart (soon).
Meantime, travel to the grocery and stop and smell those strawberries. Bring some home and get busy making these quick and easy strawberry cupcakes. Everyone will be glad you did.
|Strawberry Strawberry Cupcakes, Gluten Free||
- 1 one pound (or a quart) package of fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
- 2 oz. sugar (about ¼ cup)
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 1 tablespoon Framboise
- 200 grams AP GF flour (100 grams superfine brown rice flour, 50 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (about 1.5 cups)
- 170 grams granulated sugar (heaping ¾ cup)
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 100 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (7 tablespoons)
- 116 grams macerated and puréed strawberries (about ½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Framboise
- 3 large egg whites
- 170 grams unsalted butter, chilled room temperature (not hard, not melty) (1.5 sticks or 12 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4-6 tablespoons macerated and puréed strawberries
- 455 grams powdered sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
- 1 half-pint heavy cream, whipped (1 cup)
- 6-8 fresh strawberries sliced
- Wash and hull one pound of strawberries, reserving a few for decoration. Cut into small slivers. Add ¼ cup of sugar, liqueurs, and mix well. Cover and give the container a little shake. Refrigerate at minimum two hours and overnight is better. You want liquid to accumulate. Purée in a small food processor or blender. Don’t strain the liquid. Set aside. You might not use it all and the remainder can be frozen.
- Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan (about 12).
- In a large bowl (stand mixer or hand mixer is fine) weigh flours, add sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk. In a microwave safe glass container melt butter and cool slightly. Add in vanilla, Framboise and puréed strawberries. Mix. Add egg whites. Whisk to incorporate. Add to dry mixture and beat until fully combined and batter is shiny, about two minutes. Scoop into liners about ⅔ full and bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan and bake about 6 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes to a rack. Cool completely before frosting.
- Whip butter with vanilla and 4 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture until thoroughly combined. Add sifted sugar and mix on low until combined. Add more strawberry purée by the tablespoon until the buttercream looks like frosting. Less is more! Turn mixer to high and whip until light and fluffy. Add more purée if the frosting is too stiff. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.
- Top with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly sliced strawberries.