In the Kitchen: Strawberry cupcakes

the good strawberry cupcakes

I’ve developed a small reputation of being quite the baker. Obviously I’m not much of a baker. I know real bakers. I’m but a novice but I do enjoy myself. That said, contrary to my friends’ beliefs, not everything I make comes out looking utterly fantastic.

Or fit for public consumption.

Case in point: the cupcakes I made for Spanish Club. Oh boy. Where to start? Since the theme was “Red, White or Pink”  I decided to make Red Velvet cupcakes. Except I couldn’t decide on a recipe and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just buy a box mix [mainly because I couldn’t remember which box mix I used the last time that netted a dry cake]. I hemmed and hawed until I stumbled upon a strawberry cupcake recipe purported to be the one used at Sprinkles Cupcakes. We all know how much I dig Sprinkles. So I decided this was the one to make.

And it was pretty easy. Puree some frozen strawberries, which actually works better if they’re thawed but hey, a little orange juice helped make that process go easier, mix the batter, pop them in the oven and then bing, bang, boom, like magic – strawberry cupcakes.

Except not.

There was a very slight pinkish color to them and when I pulled the wrapper away, the cake broke apart, and not in a good way, which was obviously because they were fresh out the oven and needed time to set. However I was still skeptical because it didn’t look like it baked all the way through so I popped them back into the oven for a few more minutes.

not so strawberry cupcakes

In the mean time, I worked on the frosting. This was my very first attempt at make frosting since I always just buy a tub and call it a day. But I was determined to give it a go for the complete package. It came together easily enough and tasted pretty good to boot. I popped it into the fridge to keep cold because I was not feeling confident at all about the cupcakes.

And they did not turn out well. They had a rubbery consistency, which I think resulted from me over beating the batter. I was very disappointed to say the least but instead of sulking over it too long, I hightailed it out to the grocery store to buy strawberry cake mix and cheesecake flavored pudding mix instead. I added some of the strawberry puree into the batter and they baked up perfectly.

strawberry perfection. from a box

Then I frosted one of the new cupcakes with the frosting and wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t like it. At all. Sigh. So I had to pick up a tub of frosting on my way up to Jacki’s house and finish the cupcakes there [of course not without a shot of vanilla extract to bump up the flavor of the frosting]. I was kicking myself for not buying a tub while I was at the store picking up the cake mix. Oh well.

But in the end they turned out delicious even though not exactly quite to plan. I’m so glad I thought of the back up plan because I was seriously bummed things didn’t turn out, though that’s the risk whenever you try a new recipe. Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ll be trying that recipe again. Turns out Tami had trouble with a strawberry cupcake too. So see, even real bakers have issues too.

And yeah, I totally bit the look from Sprinkles.  But don’t they look fabulous? The buttons are made of royal icing. Totally doable!


10 thoughts on “In the Kitchen: Strawberry cupcakes

  1. Chelsea says:

    I’m a huge baker, but I am certainly not above utilizing cake mixes when I have the opportunity — unless I’m doing something fantastically custom or with a specialized flavor profile. I’ve had the best luck with mixes and it saves so much effort and ingredients. If the flavor fits, I use it — and then have a good amount of time to focus on the frosting & “look”..

  2. talda says:

    chelsea, i totally love box mixes myself especially now that i figured out that you can add stuff to make them even better. sometimes you can’t beat a box mix. but i do enjoy the process [and challenges] of making something scratch.

    monica, thanks! they were yummy. i’m sure eddie would have loved one.

  3. Well, they look delicious anyway! Don’t feel too bad—every cupcake I’ve ever baked has been a complete failure. I only have the pans for muffins now.

  4. talda says:

    camille, thanks for the encouragement! i did enjoy the back up cupcakes something fierce. i think my favorite thing about them was that they kind of reminded me of the mushrooms from super mario bros.

    i’m kind of geeky like that.

  5. OH MY GOSH! i am SO glad i found your blog post through tastespotting. because CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! i tried the same exact recipe wednesday afternoon with just the allotted amount of prep/baking time before i had to book it to surprise my friend for her bday. they were the doughiest, “flour”y cupcakes EVER! with not a tinge of pink. i was highly disappointed also. even when i first saw the recipe, i was skeptical. there was no way……. i bet it’s a conspiracy by the sprinkles people to make us fail and cry ourselves all the way to their stores! and the frosting was kind of weird also, i agree. mine tasted really buttery and sweet, and i upped the puree amount. i also added fresh chopped strawberries into it to mute the butter flavor/texture. all in all, i was super disappointed and felt bad feeding my friends those cupcakes (but i had no choice!)

    thanks for comforting a fellow non-baker in need!


    • talda says:

      trish, haha, glad my failure could help someone else! i actually was planning on baking after coming home from church that night but ended up skipping. and, as bad as this is about to sound, i’m glad i did. otherwise i wouldn’t have had time to go to the store before it closed to buy the cake mix! my frosting tasted fine in the bowl but something weird happened when i slathered it onto the cupcake. and as much as i love sprinkles’ strawberry cupcake, i’m happy spending the same amount i would have spent for one cupcake on almost 2 dozen cupcakes. that’s my kind of math!

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