Sunday, June 3, 2012

Egg Free Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

I love strawberry shortcakes in the summertime when strawberries are on sale and at their peak.  Yum.  I couldn't figure out how to adapt this treat to be egg free.  The strawberry shortcakes I had eaten in the past were made with fluffy-loaded-with-eggs-angel-food-cake.  Again, some things just can't be made egg free: angel food cake. (Although by all means if anyone has figured it out do share!)  I came across this cupcake recipe in a book I checked out from the library called "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" and I thought they made a tasty alternative to traditional strawberry shortcakes.  The recipes in this cookbook were both dairy free and egg free but since we don't have dairy allergies in our house, I just switched all the dairy substitutions to use regular dairy.  But if you do find yourself in need of a dairy and egg free cupcake, you can make the switch back.

**UPDATE: 09/16/12  This post was in desperate need of some better pictures!  Enjoy!

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
From Egg Free Bakery,  adapted from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World"

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, let stand 5 minutes)
1-1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
about 1 cup thinly sliced or chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
Addtional fresh strawberries for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin pan with baking cups. Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, mix together buttermilk (or milk/vinegar mixture), oil, sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in together wet and dry ingredients until no large lumps remain being careful not to overmix. Fill lined muffin pan 2/3 full.  Don't overfill.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake either.  (I think the texture is better if the cupcakes are just done).   Let cool 5-10 minutes in pan before removing cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely before assembling.  Yield: about 12 cupcakes (I say "about" because I always have extra batter and could probably make 2-3 more cupcakes.  However letting this batter sit around is not a good idea. So if you happen to have any more muffin tins or free standing muffin cups to fill up-- you could make a couple more.) While waiting, assemble filling and frosting.

For Filling:  If using fresh strawberries, slice or chop and mix with a bit of sugar or syrup and let sit a few minutes.  If using frozen, let thaw and chop-- no need to mix with anything else.

For Frosting: I've made these cupcakes twice now using different frosting and the one that we liked best comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe:  (The proportions below is the original recipe halved)  *I was just thinking.... Next time I try these I'm going to try to use a whipped cream frosting rather than a buttercream.  I think it'll make it more authentic to strawberry shortcake...

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
From Mels Kitchen Cafe & The Recipe Girl 
1/4 cup  butter, softened to room temperature
1-1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1-3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer (can also do this with a handheld electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until it is light and creamy.  Add vanilla, stir to combine.  Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing fully after each addition on low speed. Once all the powdered sugar is added and incorporated.  Pour in the heavy cream and whip on a higher speed until frosting is light and fluffy.

To Assemble:  Using a sharp knife, cut a cone shape out of the center of each cupcake. (Wait! Save those tops!) Spoon in strawberry filling to fill the hole.  Now take the tops/centers that you have cut out and set aside and slice off the pointy end.  Place back on top over the strawberry filling. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and garnish with fresh strawberries if desired.

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