Strawberry Cupcakes

Source: "Sprinkles"

2/3 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed if frozen); 1/3 cup puree
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature

Note: You do need to follow the directions to get this recipe to turn out. However, I do not sift flour or powdered sugar when I make this, and I never buy unsalted butter, so I just added a little less salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor (or use wand blender); process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree. Add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed if frozen); 3 Tablespoons puree
1 cup unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor (or wand blender); process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended. Do not over mix, or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

These are so delicious, my kids always specifically request these cupcakes. I've used this frosting with a cake mix for the cupcakes to speed up the process and they are pretty good too. Or, you can frost sugar cookies with this frosting... also fabulous.

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