Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberries

A big Costco box of strawberries and a new cookbook were the inspiration behind these sassy strawberry treats.

Whenever I get a new cookbook for cakes I like to start with the first recipe that the author kicks off with. I think of it as a first date: I'm getting a feel for her recipes and seeing if we have a future together. My newest cookbook is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World in an ongoing search to bake sans eggs and nuts so that my youngest can enjoy my work free of allergens. I'm not sure how the rest of my relationship will go, but I am definitely looking forward to our second date, er, recipe.

These are the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes, listed as a basic, go-to cake. Unlike me, I played by the book and didn't include dairy in the recipe (like I am ought to do because milk and butter aren't a problem for us and it just seems wrong not to). Soy milk, vinegar, oil, sugar, flour...pretty much everything but the eggs. The cakes were fragrant and had a moist although a bit corse crumb. I decided to take them a step beyond basic and fill them with fresh chopped strawberries macerated in maple syrup and honey. 

To do this, I cored out a cone with a small knife and pressed in about a tablespoon of the syrupy strawberries, then pressed the lid back on.  I finished the cakes off with a modest swirl of cream cheese buttercream frosting. This was not a vegan version, rather a batch I had in the deep freeze that seemed perfect for this 'on a whim' project. I don't know if it would be as delicious, but with vegan cream cheese and shortening I think a similar frosting could be made. A sliced strawberry and a sprinkle of gold sanding sugar finished the decor and hinted at the golden fruit hidden inside. 

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