Have I ever told you guys how Sam and I got together? I know I’ve told you about our engagement and showed you pictures of the wedding. But our second date is another story. Because… it almost didn’t happen.
We had a great first date (dinner and a concert) on a Tuesday night five summers ago. And Sam called me the next day to ask me out on a Friday-night date. I declined. Because, you guys, I already had plans on Saturday morning. I was meeting a friend for an early morning berry picking session. So naturally, I had to go to bed early on Friday night. Sam assumed that I was uninterested. The truth was, I just take my berry picking very seriously.
Luckily Sam ended up calling the following week for “one last try.” And because his second date night attempt fell on a non-berry-picking-eve, I agreed to going out. And that’s really the end of the beginning, as they say. It literally wasn’t until the following summer that he realized I wasn’t actually making excuses to avoid the date. I actually am obsessed with berry picking.
Needless to say, berries hold a … special place in our hearts. And now that berry season is starting up again for the year, Sam knows not to bother me on Friday nights.
But wait – before you end up feeling sorry for the guy, just know that he totally reaps the benefits. Take these Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting, for instance. Is there such a thing as too much strawberry? I think not. They are an explosion of strawberry goodness with every bite. And Sam got first dibs before we handed them out to friends.
Once the strawberries start appearing, we know summer is close. And I can definitely taste it in these strawberry cupcakes. Here’s to summer, berry picking, and second dates!
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, pureed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper
liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a
mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each
Reduce speed to low. Mix remaining wet ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter
mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Stir chopped strawberries into batter. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each
Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with strawberry buttercream.
Place whites and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking well after each addition. Switch to a paddle attachment. With mixer on low, add strawberry puree, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, or cover, and refrigerate. Frosted cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days. Top with a strawberry slice just before serving.
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