In the Kitchen: 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.

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.

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. Camille says:

    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. Trish says:

    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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