Sera's Strawberry Fun Cakes
I've really been in a baking mood these past few weeks. This happens ever year at some point during the winter. It's just so cozy and warm in the kitchen, and I love making treats to share with everyone. So really, everyone wins. This week, I was inspired to design a cupcake for Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition. I've never really done this before, and it turned out to be a really fun process. I ended up calling them Sera's Strawberry Fun Cakes. On the outside they're sweet and cute, but looks may be deceiving.
This recipe is really two parts, the cake and the icing. I'm going to list full instructions for both sections, but you could substitute in different cake or icing if you wanted to. I really recommend you make the icing if you can though. I'm not really an icing person, but I'm always impressed with this recipe. It's delicious!
Also, these wouldn't be Sera's if there wasn't a little bit of a surprise in them, which is where you get the "fun" in Fun Cakes. I added a little surprise to ever 5th or 6th cupcake so that at the end there were 4 special ones. They don't look any different on the outside. These surprises don't really have to be unpleasant ones, though you could make them as tricky as you wanted. I did two that were naughty and two that were pleasant. Once I'd poured the batter into the cupcake tins, I added 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder into two at random. I dropped a few slices of banana into one. And I added several Red Hots into another. Feel free to experiment with your own surprises, and report back with how they turn out.
-3 eggs at room temperature, separate the whites and the yolks
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 1/4 cups cake flour
-3 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/3 cup oil (I used grapeseed)
-1 cup milk
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your cupcake pans. There's enough batter for 24 full sized cupcakes if you fill the cups 2/3 full. I made a mixture of full sized cupcakes and minis.
2. Beat the egg whites until they're frothy. It's easier to do this with a hand mixer, but you can do it by hand. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar a little at a time until the mixture gets stiff and glossy. It should start to feel thicker. Once you've reached this point, set the mixture aside.
3. Mix flour, the remaining 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add oil, 1/2 cup of milk, and vanilla. Mix for 1-2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and the rest of the milk and mix for another minute or two.
4. Finally, add the egg white mixture in slowly. Mix until you reach a uniform consistency.
5. Pour into cupcake pans. Fill cups 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. If baking in full sized pans, cook for 10-12 minutes. If baking minis, cook for 6-8. Keep a close eye on them. They cook quickly. You'll know that they're done when the tops have a springy texture. If they start getting firm, then they've been in too long. Allow them to cool completely before icing. If you don't, the icing could start to melt and get runny.
-1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, at room temperature (It should be soft enough to mix easily. Microwave it a little if you need to)
-8 oz cream cheese
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups confectioner's sugar
-1 cup freeze-dried strawberries, crushed up into a powder (I just put them in a plastic bag and crushed them with my hands, but you could use a food processor if you wanted)
1. In a mixer, start by beating the butter until it's smooth and creamy. Then add your cream cheese. Mix until they're completely blended. That means no chunks or lumps. You'll probably have to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times. Keeping mixing until it gets light and fluffy.
2. Add in your confectioner's sugar a little at a time, mixing slowly to prevent dust clouds. Then add in the crushed strawberries. If the icing isn't pink enough or flavored enough for your tastes, crush up some more to add in.
3.This makes enough icing for a batch of cupcakes that are moderately iced. If you like a lot of icing, or want to do a cake instead, you probably want to double the recipe. This was more than enough for me though. Also, if you aren't going to use it right away refrigerate it.
That's it! Have fun baking and spreading both mischief and happiness with these.