Guys, I have the BEST family and friends. They spoiled me like I can’t even begin to tell you for my birthday! I think I mentioned the other day that if there weren’t tears involved in my birthday, it probably wasn’t my birthday. Well, I’m here to tell you, it was probably Christmas or something like that. I was a little sad because hubby had to leave town on my Birthday, but he even made me feel special, especially since he wouldn’t be here on my actual birthday.
I’m telling you… THE. BEST. family and friends. Last year for my birthday, Deb got me a cupcake carrier (seen in these photos). Remember all those cupcakes I did last year? Anyway, this year since I’ve been really into cakes, she got me a cake stand and cake server. I laughed and joked, “what will it be next year? haha. Pies maybe?” Who knows, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
My aunt fed my cookbook addiction. More good yummies to come. I soooooooooo badly want to write a cookbook. You have no idea. I’d also love to be a YouTube personality, but I don’t see the later one happening probably, but nothing says I can’t aspire to that one day. My aunt said she expects some good yummies. You betcha! First up for me to make for her though are Strawberry Lemonade French Macarons. That was a promise!!
That’s not to say all my other presents weren’t great, because I’m not joking, I. GOT. SPOILED. Thank you thank you!
Strawberry Basil Cupcakes
I really think I should have titled this post… It was Kim’s fault. But it definitely wasn’t a bad thing!! Nope… no siree Bob! So about a month ago or so… I ran across yet another Tatyana’s Everyday Food Facebook post on Strawberry Basil Cupcakes. I reposted it on Facebook so I wouldn’t forget about it and could, with a little digging, find it again.
My friend Kim (Hi Kim!!) saw the post I shared and commented that we needed to try those. I fully concurred with her. On Wednesday nights this summer we went to a children’s camp to allow them to “try scuba.” I kept meaning to make them for one of those Wednesday nights so we could try them, but as we all know… life kept getting in the way. If I wasn’t busy, she was in Curaçao SCUBA diving… without me… How Rude (in my best Stephanie Tanner voice).
Yesterday was our last Wednesday night for summer camp this year. I got up yesterday morning and planned on whipping these up. Kind of a celebratory, we made it! type cupcake. I hate to say it, but some weeks, those kids are a little… um… rude. Rude might be a good word. Other weeks, they are appreciative and on best behavior. I think we did 8 weeks of this. 4 girl weeks and 4 boy weeks. Usually, the boys are better than the girls. This summer, I almost think the girls took both awards, best and worst.
I went back and forth… stand mixer, hand mixer, stand mixer, hand mixer. I eventually went with the hand mixer because all it was needed for the cupcakes themselves was to cream the butter and sugar. Everything else was done with a spatula. No need to wash the mixer bowl for just that, right? Plus I knew I would need it for the icing.
I used my trick again for the dry ingredients. I just can’t see getting another bowl messy just to sift in my dry ingredients, only to immediately add them to the wet ingredients. Now, in this case, it was a third, half milk, third dry, half milk, third dry, but still. That’s where the plate comes in handy.
This batter came out perfectly for 24 cupcakes. Tatyana, you did excellently. I get happy when things turn out correctly! I used my big Oneida Ice cream scoop. Worked perfectly to evenly divide the batter between the 24 cupcake liners.
The icing is where I had my hesitation. Why? Well, because you put fresh basil in it. Basil seems to be a savory dish item to me and does it really go with strawberry flavored cupcakes? So many questions. I think that is what intrigued me so much. You know me, especially if you’ve been following anytime at all… I like to try things. Making my own butter, check. Vanilla, check. Buttermilk, yup. Cake flour, uh huh. Self-rising flour, that too. So why not try Basil icing, right?
I quickly made the icing while the cupcakes were baking. Then I put it in a 12″ piping bag. That was awful. I needed a bigger one but couldn’t find it.
The cupcakes were too warm to ice when I was ready to leave for the dive shop, so I took everything with me. Whew, I spent way too long trying to push the icing through the tip without squirting it all out the top. Just ask Shaye. She was laughing at me. I was laughing too. It was annoying.
But once the icing was made, I had to try it. I still wasn’t sure I was sold. Guys, wow! There are no words. This spice that is usually used in a savory dish tasted pretty darn good with American Buttercream. It gave American Buttercream a great flavor and surprisingly it was good.
Yes, I think I’m still in shock at that statement.
So should you make these? I think the general consensus was yes. I had at least 10 people try them that I know of, they all said yum. Some knew the icing flavor and others didn’t. Those that didn’t, I asked what they thought and told them what it was after the fact. They were all impressed.
Now… I kind of screwed up and must have put too much icing on a few of the cupcakes because I barely had enough for one and 3 didn’t even get icing on them at all. Oh well… you win some, you lose some. haha.
p.s. As you notice in this picture… 2 cupcakes are missing. I ate the one with barely any icing to be the first guinea pig to try it. Then Abug took one to eat without icing. So I guess technically I had 4 that didn’t get icing, not three. She did try a bit of the icing. It wasn’t her thing, but then again… she’s 4. They are picky eaters anyway.
- For Strawberry Cupcakes:
- ¾ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 1½ cups white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract or emulsion
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup diced fresh strawberries, about 7-10 strawberries
- ½ cup strawberry preserves
- For Basil Buttercream:
- large bunch of fresh basil patted dry
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar, separated
- 1½ cups salted butter, softened at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or milk
- green food coloring, optional
- fresh strawberries, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line several cupcakes pans with cupcake liners; set aside.
- For the strawberry cupcakes: In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and strawberry emulsion. Mix together until smooth. Dice strawberries, then add to the butter/sugar mixture along with the strawberry jam and milk; whisk until smooth.
- In a sifter, combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined.
- Using a scoop, fill the cupcake liners until almost full. Bake the cupcakes in the 350˚F for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Another way to check doneness is to press in the middle. If they spring back, they are ready to go.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to completely cool.
- While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the icing. Place the basil leaves and 2 cups of powdered sugar into a blender or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly like sand and the basil leaves are totally chopped up; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the salted butter and whip with a whisk on high speed for 5-7 minutes until the butter is a pale yellow color and fluffy.
- Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Add the optional food coloring at this time (do it... it makes for a great presentation!). Whisk until a light and fluffy buttercream forms. After a bit of mixing, add the heavy whipping cream or milk (allows the mixture to come together better).
- Add the basil mixture and continue to whisk on high speed 3-4 minutes or until a light and fluffy buttercream forms.
- Transfer the basil buttercream to a piping bag with a star tip and ice the cooled cupcakes. Top with a whole strawberry, if desired.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pull out of the fridge 30 minutes-1 hour before serving to allow the buttercream to come to room temperature.
Adapted from Tatyana’s Everyday Kitchen
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