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Celebrate with Cake

Last week literally “took the cake” as one of the busiest of our summer. Ending with a big bang on Thursday evening, we spent the night celebrating the grand unveiling of our friend Renee‘s children’s photography studio here in the Windy City. We haven’t mentioned much about it until now, but the hubs and I have been taking an active role this entire summer in prepping the smashin’ new space with glossy fixtures, original photo art, and floor-to-ceiling crisp, white curtains on a ceiling track (a personal favorite of ours, as many of you know by now).

To toast the occasion, I served up a batch of home made cupcakes for the kids (and adults alike) – my first attempt at from-scratch mini cakes. As a bona fide lover of all things cupcakes (going so far as to replacing our own wedding cake with these just-our-size treats), I am happy to report that the recipe was a hit! After receiving a few high fives (why, thank you, 500 Cupcakes), we felt it was only fair to dish the recipe with you.

    White Chocolate & Strawberry Cupcakes
    For the cakes:
    1 cup (2 sticks) softened sweet butter
    1 cup superfine sugar
    2 cups self-rising flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    4 eggs
    1 tsp. strawberry extract
    1/2 cup white chocolate chips

    For the frosting:
    1 cup softened cream cheese
    1 /2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    3 tbsp. softened sweet butter
    3 tbsp. chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat the over to 350F. Place 18 baking cups in muffin pans. Combine the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, and strawberry extract in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy (about 2-3 minutes). Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the cups (about 2/3 full), and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes to cool on a rack. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and butter until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chopped strawberries. Spread frosting on top of the cupcakes. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1 1/2 dozen.

Luckily, the cupcakes didn’t last long, so I can’t attest to the freezing theory. However, I substituted regular ol’ vanilla extract in place of the suggested strawberry and the usual granulated sugar instead of superfine for the cakes with no problem. Because I planned on filling the bellies of several hungry children, I doubled the recipe, which in turn somehow tripled the amount of cupcakes made. Not sure how that math checks out, but the more cake the merrier, I say. Mmm.

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - August 10, 2010 - 8:48 AM

    Fun! As a former cake decorator at a bakery I can say that you can definitely freeze most cupcakes for at least a week or two, but to do so I’d recommend freezing them overnight in no container at all, then wrapping each one individually with plastic wrap if you really want to keep them as long as 2-3 months in there.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 10, 2010 - 9:55 AM

      Jane, this is good to know for any future cupcake baking. This would have also come in handy when we froze 2 tiny wedding cupcakes – the result was not so good on the 1 year anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • jill - August 10, 2010 - 10:56 AM

    yum yum YUM! and look at that beautiful stand, would you now? haha those look awesome!!! don’t you love it when a recipe’s a success? i made my fav strawberry cupcake recipe for leo’s baptism and my grandma said they were the best she’s ever had (coming from an old person, you know they’ve had a few, so that made me feel pretty good. haha). the last time i made them for you guys i had mistakenly frosted them before cooling so that’s why the frosting was runny. lesson learned!ReplyCancel

  • Tina B - August 10, 2010 - 11:23 AM

    Those. Look. Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 10, 2010 - 11:32 AM

    Jill, yes, as you can see, your wedding gifts to us came in quite handy! Thank you, I love you, I miss you, and see you SOON!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - August 10, 2010 - 11:56 AM

    YUM!! They look delicious and oh so pretty :) I actually use that same frosting recipe minus the strawberries for almost any cake or cupcakes that I make also. It is yummy to substitute almond extract for the vanilla also.ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - August 10, 2010 - 3:04 PM

    wow, those look great! I’ve never had white chocolate chips in cupcakes, and I’ve never even seen strawberry extract before (though I’m sure they have an extract for everything if you look hard enough.) I’m pretty sure you can make granulated sugar superfine by grinding it briefly in a clean coffee grinder or food processor. I’ll have to try these someday!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Hillenmyer - August 10, 2010 - 3:42 PM

    Mannnnnnn, I missed out… craving a lil bakery stop now!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 10, 2010 - 4:16 PM

    Thanks, everyone!

    And Kelly – good call on the almond extract. Shoot, we had some too. Reminds me of Busken. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • chrystie - August 11, 2010 - 6:28 PM

    YUM!! These look so tasty!
    Are you going to post pictures of the studio soon? I’d love to see how it turned out.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 11, 2010 - 7:30 PM

      Hi Chrystie,

      We do plan on posting photos of the studio, and I’m thinking of doing a feature here at the YBH. For now, you can stay tuned on her blog, which I’m also helping to write. I guess the cat’s out of the bag when I say that we not only helped to get her studio up and running, but I’m also taking a position with her company starting this Fall. Lots of change coming, and it’s all very exciting!ReplyCancel

  • Renee - August 12, 2010 - 3:32 PM

    I had the good fortune to be “stuck” with some of these leftover cupcakes from my party. Yum! I ate the last one last night and am very sad. By the way, I do not for the most part have a sweet tooth, and I seriously could eat one of these a day forever…ReplyCancel

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