I had a veiled request for some cupcakes…A coworker, fishing for cupcakes without actually asking for them, wanted to know if by any chance I did any baking over the past weekend and just happened to have some extras, he’d be more than happy to pay me and take them off my hands. Translation: He was looking for a birthday gift for his wife–He and his family have been the recipients of many cupcakes, and apparently they all like my work. As it so happened, I was already thinking of making some form of cupcake using a strawberry buttercream, and at the suggestion of another coworker, I decided to make white chocolate chip cupcakes.
I’m not normally a fan of white chocolate…Which isn’t technically chocolate anyway. I figure, if I’m going to have chocolate, I want the real stuff, not chalky, overly-sweetened gunk. But now and again, I give it a chance, and sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by the results.
This cupcake is one of those pleasant surprises. Topped with a rich strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, they’re light and delicious. I decided on strawberry buttercream just because I had two pounds of strawberries to use, and frankly, while I love berries, just eating them on yogurt or as a snack gets a little boring after 3 days!
White Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
1 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with liners, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the white chocolate chips with the tsp of flour, then fold them into the batter.
Using a large scoop, add the batter to the prepared pans. Bake the cupcakes 22-25 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then cool completely on wire racks.
While the cupcakes are cooling, mix together the strawberries and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Allow to sit uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Puree the berries and sugar, and strain to remove the seeds.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and the 1 1/4 C sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk constantly, until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved (rub a small bit between your finger and thumb--It should be smooth).
Place the bowl on the mixer, and whip on high speed with the whisk attachment until the bowl is cool to the touch and the mixture holds stiff peaks. This may take 10 minutes, or longer.
Switch to the paddle attachment and drop the speed to medium-low. Begin adding the butter, a couple Tbsp at a time. Beat well after each addition. The mixture may look curdled after all the butter has been added--This is normal. Continue beating and the mixture should come together. Add the vanilla, and beat on low speed to eliminate air bubbles.
Add in the strawberry puree and beat on medium until the puree is incorporated and the frosting is smooth.
I did notice there were a few cupcakes where the chips all sank to the bottom and basically melted into one big chunk. That I was not expecting, especially after tossing them with some flour, but it’s still a decent cupcake. And I daresay it’s one of the prettier ones I’ve made!