Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Strawberry-filled Cupcakes

We had a family barbecue yesterday for Memorial Day. It was the first one we've had in quite awhile as my parents have been out of the country for 3 years. It was a beautiful day and it was wonderful spending time in my parents' lovely back yard. It was complete with water balloon fighting, swimming for the brave (the pool can be cold) and croquet playing. My dad killed everyone else on the croquet field.

I was assigned to bring a couple of side dishes, one of them being dessert. I wanted to make something patriotic, and this is what I came up with. These, along with my younger sister's amazing lemon bars made from the lemons on my parents' tree, were a hit.

You've got the red; you've got the white, and you've got the blue. And you've got some sugar. Just a bit. (As a side note for those who caught the reference to Frank Castanza, Seinfeld is coming to Hulu this summer. Yay!)

I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla American buttercream frosting, but secretly hidden inside.....was strawberry cream cheese whipped filling!

They were the perfect fruity dessert for a perfect Spring evening. The cupcake and frosting recipe came from my new favorite baking cookbook, given to me by my older sister:

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

It is a bakery in Savannah, Georgia, and so far all the recipes I've tried have been amazing. This cupcake recipe has a method for mixing that I have never seen before. Almost like a pastry dough since you add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix before pouring the liquid ingredients in. It made for a light, fluffy cupcake.

For the filling, I pureed strawberries, added them to smooth, whipped cream cheese, and folded in some whipped cream. Then spooned it into little holes I cut out of the cupcakes. I made the holes by cutting a cone shape out of the cupcake top, and I carved out a little more by using a small melon-baller to remove a little extra cupcake to make room for more filling. And don't worry, those melon-ball sized cupcake bits did not go to waste. They found their way into bellies.

Then I piped on the delicious vanilla buttercream, added some sugared strawberries and some blueberries, and wallah!: tasty patriotic cupcakes to celebrate Memorial Day.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
1 16 oz. bag frozen strawberries, defrosted and then pureed in food processor
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Add the pureed strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer for a minute. Remove from heat at allow to cool to room temperature. You will have about two cups of pureed strawberries. 

2. With a paddle attachment in your mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer turned to low, add the 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla until well combined. 

3. Pour one cup of the strawberry puree mixture into the cream cheese mixture and mix on low speed until well combined. 

4. In a separate bowl, (I used hand mixer), beat the whipped cream until it starts to thicken. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat on high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Fold in the whipped cream into the strawberry-cream cheese mixture (I do this with a large whisk). Spoon or pipe the filling into your cupcakes. 

It was definitely a memorable day!

Photos of the yard are courtesy of my little sister. And yeah, my dad made that cool treehouse. He's awesome like that.

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