Feeling like I'm visiting a farmer's market as I enter my grocery store these days, mounds of containers full of beautiful, succulent, red strawberries from California greet me. I pick up several containers looking for the reddest, sweetest berries. The grocery store fruit/produce stocker never gets mad that I'm disrupting his beautiful display, in fact, usually helps me, pointing out "here's a good one!" He's aware of A Cup of Mascarpone, and is always eager to assist. Love his customer service!
Now for the exciting news that will include strawberries, and my favorite disposable bakeware! Welcome Home brands contacted me recently, asking if I would like to work with them on a giveaway of their fabulous, free standing, paper bakeware products...did they even have to ask?!!! I love these things! Beautifully decorated bake and serve pieces, no pre-greasing or pans to clean up, oven safe to 400 degrees, and a delightful way to gift your baked goods! I can't tell you how many of my Starbucks Copycat Gingerbread Loaves I gave as gifts last Christmas...all so lovingly baked and received!
Brainstorming what to create, my thoughts went directly to strawberries. Readily available from now through early summer, I thought they would be the perfect lovely ingredient to use in a recipe. Ironically, after perusing and testing many recipes to select the best one ever for my very first giveaway, the recipe I eagerly decided on uses frozen strawberries. So, you can buy fresh strawberries and freeze them first, or use already frozen whole strawberries...your choice.
A Strawberry Dream Cake recipe from the June/July 2011 issue of Cook's Country Magazine was what I decided on. You can never go wrong Christopher Kimball! Instead of making the two layer cake, I baked up scrumptious cupcakes utilizing the beautiful, pink and ecru designed cupcake baking cups from Welcome Home brands. I adore their accordion style pull apart cups, that don't leave the normal indentations in the cake, visible from regular baking cups! Plus, the paper decor doesn't disappear in the baking process!
The strawberry dream cupcakes may literally be the moistest, lightest, wonderful strawberry flavored cupcakes I have ever tasted! A tender crumb, undoubtedly from using cake flour over all-purpose flour, with no artificial colors or flavors, I can't express enough how scrumptious they are. I have to admit, you can actually view their deliciousness by looking in to the center of the cupcake in my photos!
Also changing things up a bit, I created my own strawberry mascarpone frosting which is absolutely divine, in place of Cook's Country cream cheese frosting. My frosting turned out so incredibly decadent, with the whipped strawberry essence, butter, and creamy mascarpone, it required more than just frosting the dream cupcakes alone. That's how the filling came about!
In addition to my Strawberry Mascarpone Dream Filled Cupcakes, A Cup of Mascarpone has three previous posts using the fantastic oven safe paper bakeware from Welcome Home brands. If you've missed them, click the post name below the following photos and it will take you directly to the recipes. ...and, you will be able to create any of these recipes using the paper bakeware in either of the two giveaways!
I would love to hear from you if you create the glorious strawberry mascarpone filled dream cupcakes! Enjoy the following 2 giveaways from Welcome Home brands and A cup of Mascarpone, as much as I have enjoyed presenting them to you!
Until next time...mangia! xox
GIVEAWAY #1 and #2 DETAILS (2 ways to win! - enter both giveaways):
Open to the US only. Giveaway ends on Monday, April 29th, at 12:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Giveaway #1 - first photo below:
Enter through Rafflecopter below.
Randomly selected winner will receive 1 pkg. of 6 loaf baking pans from the Festive Collection, 1 pkg. of 12 baking cups from the Blossom Collection, and 1 pkg. of 12 mini loaf baking pans from the Fine Check Collection. Winner will receive an email. If no response is received in 48 hours, another winner will be selected.
Giveaway #2 - second photo below:
Enter by becoming a follower of A Cup of Mascarpone's blog (join this site with google friend connect - top right section of blog), and leave a comment below with your follower name (current followers just indicate your current follower name).
Randomly selected winner will receive 4 pkgs. of 12 mini loaf pans, 1 pkg. of 12 baking cups, and 1 pkg. of 30 baking cups, colors and designs as shown in photo. This will come directly from A Cup of Mascarpone, and winner will be announced on my next blog post, and also on my Facebook page. If no response is received within 48 hours, another winner will be selected.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Strawberry Mascarpone Dream Filled Cupcakes
Yield: 11 cupcakes (with Welcome Home Brand Stand Alone Cupcake Papers)
for the cupcakes:
10 ounces frozen whole strawberries (2 cups)
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (see Carol's notes below on how to make your own)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened (1 1/2 sticks)
for the strawberry mascarpone buttercream filling and frosting:
reserved strawberry solids from cupcakes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese (drained of any liquid in container)
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar (a little extra, if needed, for frosting to reach a good consistency)
for the garnish:
11 tops from whole fresh strawberries
Create the Strawberry Mascarpone Dream Filled Cupcakes:
create the cupcakes:
1. Place oven rack in middle position and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 11 Welcome Home Brands Stand Alone Cupcake Liners on a large rimmed cookie sheet, set aside.
2. Transfer strawberries to bowl, cover, and microwave until strawberries are soft and have released their juice, about 4 - 5 minutes. Place in fine-mesh strainer set over a small saucepan. Firmly press fruit dry (juice should measure at least 3/4 cup); reserve the strawberry solids for the filling/frosting. Bring juice to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup. This will take approximately 6 - 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk milk into juice until combined.
3. Whisk strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla in a bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute. Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter a final stir by hand with a rubber spatula.
4. Divide equal amounts of batter into each cupcake paper and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool cupcakes on pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack, and cool completely, at least 2 hours. The cooled cupcakes can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I prefer keeping mine in the fridge, since they become easier to core out centers and frost.
create the filling/frosting:
Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix butter and sugar on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add mascarpone, and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add reserved strawberry solids and pinch of salt and mix on low until combined, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until ready to use, up to 2 days.
fill, frost, and garnish the cupcakes:
1. Remove the top 1/4, with greens and stems, of each fresh strawberry and set on paper towels to dry. This is done so the strawberries won't leak juice on the frosting. Set aside.
2. Using a cupcake corer/or apple corer, gently press and remove the center of the cupcake, push out the round from the corer, and repeat with each cupcake. It's perfectly ok to eat the rounds as you continue. ;)
3. Fill a disposable pastry bag with about 1/3 of the frosting and pipe in each hollowed out cupcake center. It's fine if it comes out the cored center, since you will be frosting the top in the next step.
4. Frost each cupcake with a small bent icing knife, or desired frosting utensil. Set a strawberry top on each cupcake for garnish. Serve. You can also refrigerate cupcakes for 2 days, and serve chilled or at room temperature. I prefer this delicious strawberry cupcake chilled.
If you don't have cake flour, or don't want to buy a whole bag of it, here is how to make your own, (which is what I always do): for each 1 level cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour, and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. For the 1/4 cup flour, remove 1 1/2 teaspoons flour, and add 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch. Put the 2 1/4 cups cake flour you have just made in a bowl and whisk to mix together. The primary difference in cake flour and all-purpose flour is the protein content. Cake flour is about 8% protein, where AP flour is about 10-11%. PLEASE use cake flour, and not AP flour for this recipe, for the excellent results it provides.
If you prefer, you can make approximately 12-14 regular cupcakes, or 2 cake layers. If so, prepare a regular size cupcake pan with paper liners, or 2 - 9" cake pans, and follow directions above adjusting cooking times as needed. The frosting recipe will be enough to frost the additional cupcakes, or the two layer cake.
Cupcakes adapted from a cake recipe from Cook's Country Magazine (June/July 2011 issue).
Filling/Frosting is a cup of mascarpone's own creation.