In the summer there is nothing quite as refreshing as strawberry lemonade, but I have been on a cupcake kick lately and wanted to re-create the beverage in cake form. So, today without a lot of jammering about the post, lets just present the recipe for moist tangy strawberry lemon cupcakes, filled with fresh strawberries and "lemonade" and topped with super silky lemon-strawberry french buttercream swirl.
Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes- makes 24 cupcakes -
Adapted from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose and from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts
For the cupcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups (6 oz) cake flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mashed concentrated strawberries**
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
*To make these gluten free use a total of 6 oz of your favorite GF cake flour. To mix your own use 3 oz. superfine rice flour, 1 1/2 ounce potato starch and 1 1/2 ounce tapioca starch, 1 1/2 t xanthan gum.
**To concentrate strawberry puree, cook strawberries over medium low heat until reduced. The amount you want to reduce the mixture depends on your strawberries. Really good strawberries don't need it.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, and almond extracts; set aside.
4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stream in the buttermilk mixture. Beat for 1 minute at medium speed.
5. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the strawberries and the lemon zest. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling them two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or when cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold the cupcakes and cool on racks.
For the frosting:
- 14 ounces sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 5 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 1/2 lbs butter, room temperature**
- 2 - 4 T concentrated cooled strawberries*
- 2 t lemon zest
*to make the strawberry concentrate, cook strawberries over medium low heat until very thick like jam
**NOTE: Some prefer less butter, and you can reduce to 1 lb. if preferred.
- Combine sugar with 4 ounces of water and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it is dissolved, then brush down the sides of the with a wet pastry brush.
- Meanwhile, place egg yolks and egg in the bowl of a mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on low until the eggs are broken up, then on medium until they get pale and thick.
- Bring the sugar syrup up to 240 degrees without stirring it.
- Place the sugar syrup into a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed, drizzle in the sugar syrup between the side of the bowl and the whisk. Increase speed to medium high and beat until it is cool, thick and smooth.
- Once cool switch to the paddle attachment, add butter 2 T at a time, and beat on high until it is light and fluffy.
- Divide in half.
- To the first half, add 2 T strawberries and beat well. Taste - you can increase the strawberries but add slowly as the strawberries can loosen the buttercream.
- To the second half add lemon zest. Adjust to taste.
For the filling
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 T sugar
- 1 1/2 T cornstarch
- 1 T cold butter, cut into 3 pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, chopped finely.
- Mix lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add cold butter and stir vigorously until well blended.
- Allow to cool, mix with strawberries immediately before filling cupcakes.
- Using a knife or an apple corer, remove a small section from the middle of the cooled cupcakes.
- Spoon in filling.
- Spoon in to one side of a large piping bag fitted with a large start tip the strawberry frosting and along side it, spoon in the lemon frosting. Pipe on frosting.