"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Monday, January 3, 2011

Strawberry Cream-Filled Cupcakes

Drooling yet? I spent my Friday off work baking--literally, all day. I made cupcakes from scratch, a cream cheese icing, and a strawberry cream filling. And all so I could carry them to a NYE party in one of my wonderful Christmas presents from Brian: a cupcake/cake carrier (Williams-Sonoma calls it a "courier" but we're not that fancy).

Photo from Williams-Sonoma's website. Buy one here! P.S. Do you see those flower cupcake muffin things?! How does one make those!? 

So first I made the icing because it needed to be in the fridge for awhile to thicken up. 

I've mentioned before that butter and brown sugar are two of my favorite ingredient combinations. Unsalted butter and cream cheese is another great one. I know it seems kind of weird and like it could actually taste pretty disgusting. But if you love cream cheese and butter independent of one another as much as I do, you understand how great putting them together can be. 

This particular recipe called for 5 cups of confectioner's sugar (also known as 10x in the baking world. Don't ask me why!). It sounded like a lot, and by the time I had added 4 cups I was a little overwhelmed by the sweetness! And that is truly saying a lot for a person with a sweet tooth of my caliber. I only added 4 cups on the first batch and then a little less than 4 on the second batch. Then I mixed them together and the result was pretty amazing--plenty of sweetness but a big cream cheese flavor as well. 

On a side note, if you plan on adding confectioner's sugar "one cup at a time while continuously beating the icing on medium speed" with a KitchenAid as the recipe suggests, this is what your kitchen will look like. 

Powdered sugar EVERYWHERE. The mixing bowl is hiding some of the mess as well.
I would suggest adding it VERY gradually, and if you can aim the sugar to hit the blade it seems to work much better. Otherwise, when the mixer makes its way around and hits the pile of powdered sugar you just put in, it explodes into a big cloud all over everything, including you!

The cupcake batter was the best I have ever had. It was light, fluffy, sweet, a little floury. The texture had so much lightness to it it's hard to describe. It was almost like a mousse. It made me so excited to actually bake the cupcakes. I was paranoid about ruining that wonderful batter in the oven that I sat next to the oven with the light on and practically watched them rise and bake for the last 7-8 minutes of bake time. 

There are no words for this!
The real point of this little exercise was to try out the cupcake corer I got for my birthday. 

It looks kind of vicious but it's just plastic. 
It makes cute little cupcake plugs

Brian cored all these. :) 

Then I made a strawberry cream filling while the cupcakes were cooling. I think whipping heavy cream was the most exciting thing I've done yet with a KitchenAid. If you've ever whipped cream without one you understand how exciting this moment was for me. I think I even went into the office where Brian was on the computer and did a little dance of excitement to try and convey how awesome this was. (Especially the fact that I could leave the cream whipping in the kitchen while I left to do a dance.)

This is all I've ever really wanted in life. 
And then, the finished product, iced and ready to go in my carrier/courier! And for the record, that thing is HEAVY with 36 cupcakes in it!

If you're thinking the icing looks a tad bit runny, you'd be right. It never actually fell over the edge of any cupcakes or anything traumatic like that, but if you're used to a canned frosting or canned whipped frosting you might be a little worried. If I had added the other two cups of 10x sugar the consistency would have been much thicker. But then I'd also be on the floor in a sugar coma and you wouldn't be learning about these great cupcakes!

Finally it was time to go to Em and Scott's to see their beautiful little girl.

"It's a baby!!!"

It's almost the smile we tried to get out of her all night.
Hope you all had a safe and lovely New Year's Eve!

P.S. for all the recipes, get this book. Everything is from the famous Magnolia Bakery in NY. Look through the table of contents on Amazon--you'll hardly be able to contain yourself. Or, if you're just dying of curiousity, let me know and I'll post the cake and icing recipes here. :)

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