One of my favorite memories as a kid in Utah is sitting on our concrete porch as the sun set, eating strawberry shortcake. The bisquick shortcakes were hot out of the oven, strawberries sweet and juicy from the garden, the evening air cool and the concrete still warm under my legs.
When I saw this recipe at Use Real Butter, I knew I wanted to try it. It seemed perfect for an early summer dessert. Little did I know how perfect it was for what I was about to do to it.
I was taking this to a potluck for the Care-a-Vanners, NCCC, Habitat homeowners and Habitat board members, so mini-cupcakes seemed like a better idea than full on cake.
They turned out fantastic despite my fairly significant lapse in direction following (explained with the recipe below) and all 70 were gone by the end of the night.
1 lb fresh strawberries
Wash and trim tops off berries. Freeze berries until solid. Completely thaw berries and puree in blender or food processor. (Fresh is the best, freezing pops the cell walls releasing flavor. Resulting puree is thick, not at all watery like I was afraid it would be.)
Strawberry Chiffon Cake
makes two 9x3 inch rounds (or 76 mini cupcakes)
14.5 oz cake flour
8.75 oz confectioner's sugar
0.5 oz baking powder (omit above 8500 ft)
6.75 oz whole milk
6 oz canola oil
3.25 oz eggs
13 oz egg whites
9.5 oz granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 oz strawberry purée
Heat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in pan.
Sift dry ingredients (except granulated sugar) into a large bowl. Mix all ingredients (except the 13 oz of egg whites and granulated sugar) in the large bowl until combined. Whip whites and granulated sugar to medium peaks. Fold into batter gently.
You can also completely forget that last step and leave out the egg whites and granulated sugar. I'm sure the cake is better with it, but I tested the recipe without, and it still turned out really good. Probably a little less sweet and a little more dense, but still good.
Bake until set, about 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove from pan.
strawberry swiss meringue buttercream
8 oz egg whites
16 oz sugar
1 lb butter, room temperature
4 oz strawberry purée
Combine egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk constantly over a gently simmering hot water bath until 140°F is reached. Remove from heat. Place on mixer with whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while - should be cooler than your hand). Change to a paddle and gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency has been reached, add purée and mix well.Assembly
I used a circular piping tip to cut a small circle into the top of each cupcake. Then I removed it and some of the cupcake underneath it with a pointy knife. You can save the top circle, to replace, or not. I did.
Pipe puree into hole. Cover with buttercream.