There are not a lot of things I feel very certain about in life. Among those rare certainties, I truly believe that everyone loves cupcakes. There is at least one flavour for every single one of us. Either they are gluten-free, vanilla bean, or red-velvet, we all have a cupcake we fancy more than the others. They are just that great.
You may wonder why I feel so passionate about them. Well there are many reasons.
First, they are lovely. They look perfect in their individual ways, different yet they try to be the same. They also are what we can call “eye-candy”, meaning that you can enjoy them just by looking at them. Cupcakes are always joyful and you can tell people who make them, love baking. They bring colours to a table, they are festive, yet at the same time, bring comfort.
They are also the perfect gift. Think about it. What can you bring to a friend’s shower? Homemade cupcakes. A birthday celebration? Trying to impress your in-laws? Yes, cupcakes are the right choice.
They are also the perfect saviour. Forgot about the reunion where you said you would bring something? Get some cupcakes on the way there. Having friends over and your dessert turned out to be a disaster (it’s happened to all of us!), get in your car and go get cupcakes.
Of course, I also have to say that they are just delicious. When baked the right way with the right ingredients, how can you resist having a cupcake. I know I can’t. They are a real treat just as they are a treat to bake.
Most of all, you want to take your time when doing your cupcakes. I like having some music playing in my kitchen while I make the frosting, pipe it and decorate every single one of my 32 cupcakes. I can stay there, sitting on the high-stool with them for an hour, giving them my entire attention. In those moments, I feel good. I care about what I am doing.
And if you do not like baking but love cupcakes, when in Ottawa, my favourite cupcake shop is The Flour Shop. They really do amazing treats. There is also Isobel’s Cupcakes and Cookies in Beechwood (I have a thing for their chocolate cupcake actually).
I have to say cupcake shops have gained a lot of popularity in this city, which is not a bad thing. Take the time to look around in your neighbourhood and I am pretty sure you will find a little shop with the best cupcakes available.
And if you like to bake, here is my recipe for strawberry cupcakes. The base of the recipe is from Martha Stewart, to which I have added strawberry coulis. Here you go:
You will need:
3 cup of pastry flour
1 ½ cup of all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
2 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ¼ cup of sugar
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of butter
5 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
2 cups of buttermilk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
In a bowl, sift both flour with the baking soda, baking powder and the salt.
In another bowl, beat the butter with the sugar on medium-high speed until you get a smooth texture. Add one egg at a time, beating between each addition.
Add the egg yolks and mix well.
Add the flour in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk.
Beat in the vanilla.
In a cupcake pan, line up the paper tray and pour the mixture to about half the cup.
Add a teaspoon of strawberry coulis (recipe bellow) in each paper tray on top of the batter. Then cover with some batter and fill paper tray up to 3/4.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 325F, then let the cupcakes cool down.
Once cooled, add strawberry coulis to your fluffy-vanilla frosting (recipe bellow) and pipe it on top of the cupcakes. Decorate with a slice of strawberry and enjoy!
Crush the strawberries with icing sugar until you get the level of sweetness you wish. Strain it to get rid of the seeds.
1 ½ cup of butter
4 cups of icing sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until the butter is pale and fluffy.
Add one cup of icing sugar at a time, making sure it is well incorporated.
Add the vanilla once all the icing sugar has been added and keep mixing until a light and fluffy texture.