Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
For my son’s 2nd birthday party last weekend, I wanted to create two different cupcakes. One for the chocolate lovers, and one using one of his favorite fruits: Strawberries. Even though I knew he probably wouldn’t eat one (he’s not into desserts oddly!), I couldn’t throw a birthday party without cupcakes. He cried when we brought out his “smash” cake at his first birthday party, so this year was at least an improvement when he blew out the candle. Then he promptly went back to playing with his friends while the rest of us dug in.
This cupcake is perfectly moist with just the right amount of sweetness. There’s fresh strawberries in both the batter and the frosting, so you taste the berries with every bite. I used solely almond flour for this cake, as opposed to a mix of coconut and almond which I usually lean towards. Using a blender to mix the ingredients ensures that the almond flour is blended into an extremely fine grind, making the cake smooth and light. A little lemon juice in the batter and frosting makes the tart strawberries sing.
My plan was to make a coconut whipped cream frosting, but after 3 cans and no heavy cream from the top, I jumped to planB. The guests were already arriving and I didn’t have time to chill any more cans, so I made a last minute decision to whip up an Italian meringue. If you’ve never made or had Italian meringue, you’re going to be in heaven. It is made from beating egg whites while pouring in a stream of boiling sugar (or honey in my case) and ends up creating a taste that is between a marshmallow frosting and a whipped cream topping. It’s like biting into a sweet cloud. It also pipes and holds up better than whipped coconut cream, so let your creativity juices flow. I mixed in a little homemade strawberry preserves for this cake, but left it plain for my chocolate cupcakes.
- 2½ cups blanched almond flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup finely chopped strawberries
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- ⅓ cup honey
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons strawberry preserves (freshly pureed strawberries will work too)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line a standard muffin tin with baking cups.
- Combine the honey, coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest in the jar of a blender. Puree on medium speed for 20 seconds or until frothy and smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients and blend on high for 30-45 seconds. The batter should be very smooth and contain no lumps. If needed, scrape down the sides with a spatula and blend again for a few seconds until all of the dry mixture is incorporated.
- Gently fold the chopped strawberries in by hand. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin, filling about ¾ of the way full.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely on the counter before frosting.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, make your Italian meringue.
- Bring your honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and lemon juice until frothy and you can just begin to see trail marks from your beaters. When you lift out the beaters, you should see soft peaks.
- With the beaters or mixer running, slowly pour in the boiling honey in a steady stream. Continue beating for 6-8 minutes, until the meringue is cool to the touch.
- Gently fold in the strawberry preserves. Put the frosting into a piping bag for a pretty design, or spread onto cupcakes with a knife.
* For easier separation, separate the whites from the yolks when they are cold.
* Meringue will not stiffen if you use a dirty bowl (usually because of leftover oil) or let any of the yolk get in with the whites
* Over beating will cause the meringue to fall. Stop once you can lift the beaters out and see stiff peaks.
* The frosting needs to be piped immediately and is best served immediately as well. Once it’s on the cupcakes though, it will hold up in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays