Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
Let me let you in on a secret: I’m not particularly patriotic. For me, the Fourth of July is a day off from work, time to hang out with friends and an excuse to eat hamburgers and tri-colored desserts. What dessert recipe, other than perhaps apple pie, do you see that shows up around this time that isn’t red, white, and blue? Call me silly, but even without patriotism, I look the tradition.
These cupcakes, I will admit, are no exception: Red, white, and blue – both inside and out! They’re also darn tasty, easy to make, and represent an expansion of my horizons. I haven’t made homemade cupcakes very often before (maybe thrice now?), and I’d never tried baking something with multiple colors. It was also great to not only top them with fruit, but to actually flavor the different colors accordingly, using my new LorAnn flavorings in strawberry and blueberry!
This recipe was closely borrowed from Bakerella, though my technique for filling cupcakes was different. I didn’t have proper pastry bags or masking tape, so I utterly failed to form the pretty straight lines her cupcakes have. At first, I made a huge mess, but quickly realized I’d need a new strategy: A swirled effect! It’s pretty in its own way, and since I wasn’t trying to make them look like snow cones, it was perfectly appropriate.
These were stunningly tasty, moist yet fluffy, rich in swirls of berry and vanilla flavors, with creamy frosting. Be warned, however, that the nutrition facts will confirm your fears: These are an indulgence, not an everyday food! Still, holidays are meant to celebrate, so by all means, make some for a Fourth of July party – just remember to share!
Berry Swirl Cupcakes
Adapted from Bakerella
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
2 egg whites
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Red & blue food coloring, or icing colors
Blueberry flavoring (Recommended: LorAnn Oils Concentrated Super Strength Blueberry Flavor)
Strawberry flavoring (Recommended: LorAnn Oils Concentrated Super Strength Strawberry Flavor)
1/4 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine egg whites and milk. Add the butter to flour mixture, and then add the egg & milk mixture. Stir together well, ideally using a hand mixer on the medium setting for 2 minutes; batter may be still be very slightly lumpy, but this is ok.
Divide the batter into three small bowls (mugs work well too). In one mug, add the 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract and mix well. In the second, add two or three drops of blueberry flavoring; then mix in enough blue color to yield your desired result. In the last, add two or three drop os strawberry flavor, and mix it in along with enough red coloring for it to be the shade you want.
Scoop each batter into its own plastic bag (I used sandwich-sized ziplocks). Press out the air and seal. Carefully cut off the very tip of one corner of each bag. Pick one bag (I started with blue) and divide it evenly between the cupcake papers. Then, squeeze in the second bag, distributing it evenly between each cupcake paper. Move the bag to draw streaks rather than just carefully spooning it on top of the first layer; this is how you’ll get the swirls. You will not need a toothpick. Last, squeeze in the last bag, trying out different patterns as you like.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and let them cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and 1 tsp milk. Mix with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until creamy. If it’s slightly too thick, add the other teaspoon of milk.
Frost the cupcakes and decorate with fresh berries, if desired.
Makes nine cupcakes.
Cost of the recipe: $4.53. Cost per cupcake: $0.50.
Nutrition per cupcake (with frosting and berries): 296 calories, 10g fat, 8g sat fat, 45g carb, 0.5g fiber, 3g protein
Nutrition per cupcake (without frosting and berries): 194 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g sat fat, 31g carb, 0.5g fiber, 3g protein