Food52 contributor Jenny Steinhauer can't resist a batch of pillowy cupcakes filled with strawberries and cream.
I came to this recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes because of the bounty of strawberries in the markets, and because I was long on eggs. This is an angel cake recipe, more or less, stuffed with some fun berries and then frosted with irresistible whipped cream.
I am sure you are wondering what could go wrong. Well, your cakes could fall. First, if you put too little batter in the cups, they will shrink like wool sweaters in the dryer. Put too much, and you risk overflow, and they still will fall in a little bit, but my advice is to pop more batter into your cupcake papers than usual.
The strawberry middles are such a great surprise, and the frosting will hide any dimples in the cupcakes' faces. They are honestly a little irresistible once you get them to the table, and so much more charming than standard strawberry shortcake.
1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 large egg whites, room temperature
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 of a quart container of strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) container of cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
4-5 strawberries, stems removed and finely chopped
1. Begin by combining the 3/4 container of chopped strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to use.
2. To make the angel food cake cupcakes, line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
3. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and set aside.
4. Separate egg whites from yolks.
5. Zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Juice the lemon.
6. Add the egg whites to a mixer and beat on medium high until foamy (about 1 minute).
7. Add the lemon juice to the egg whites and beat until soft peaks form.
8. Continue to beat, adding about 1 tablespoon sugar at a time, until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
9. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg-white mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, folding the flour into the egg whites using a rubber spatula each time. Be careful not to over mix, you want it to stay really fluffy.
10. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake tins (about a heaping tablespoon in each one) and smooth the tops of each.
11. Bake until golden, or approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pan. While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, prepare the frosting.
12. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium speed until smooth.
13. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in the finely chopped strawberries.
14. Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a small paring knife to cut out the center of the cupcake.
15. Fill with some of the strawberry-sugar mixture.
16. Add the frosting to a plastic bag and cut a small corner off the bottom of the bag. Pipe the icing on to the cupcakes and top with a strawberry slice.
Photos by James Ransom