This is what was going on inside my head for, like, 3 days before making these. This flavor combination needed to happen. Immediately. Had someone told me that it could not be done, I may have been forced to give up baking for life. FOR LIFE.
Then, thankfully, the baking gods shown down upon me. Pick your own strawberries happened.
My dream was becoming a reality.
Armed with my hand-picked strawberries, in to the kitchen I went and through a cloud of flour, sugar, chocolate and berries, these cupcakes emerged. With panache.
These cupcakes are not pretending to be healthy, plain or simple. They are are full-on ostentatious with their vanilla bean cake, white chocolate frosting and berry compote center. They demand to eaten on bone china flatwear because, really, is there anything else on which a Vanilla Bean Cupcake with White Chocolate Frosting and Strawberry Filling can be eaten? No. There is not.
(Unless you’re one of my lovely co-workers. Then it’s totally acceptable to eat it on a paper towel with a plastic fork or freshly-Purelled hands. Desperate times, ladies. Desperate times.)
If you have an afternoon to kill and are lucky enough to have fresh strawberries around, I highhhhllllyyyyy suggest making these. The vanilla cake is just beyond, and the white chocolate frosting adds a little element of sophistication. And something about biting in to a cupcake and finding it stuffed with beautiful strawberry compote makes plain, unfilled cupcakes almost obsolete (I said “almost”… let’s not get crazy here).
So go ahead, break out your bone china on a random Friday afternoon. These cupcakes absolutely insist upon it.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 15-20 minutes | Cooling/Assembly: 1.5 hours | Total time: Approximately 2.5 hours
Yield: 24 cupcakes
- 1 cup whole milk at room temp
- 4 egg whites at room temp
- 1 egg at room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 6 tablespoons shortening, room temp
Strawberry Compote Filling
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed, chopped
- 1 cup (8 oz) strawberry preserves
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
White Chocolate Frosting
- 6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
For the cupcakes:
Preheat your oven to 350 ° F. Line two standard cupcake pans with liners and set aside. In a bowl, combine milk, egg whites, egg, vanilla and almond extracts and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, combine dry ingredients. Set aside. Add the butter and shortening, stir by hand for about 30 seconds, then combine on medium speed for another 30 seconds (this helps reduce flour spillage/overflow). Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, increase the speed, and mix for approximately 1 minute, making sure to stop once in the middle to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full with the batter. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake until the cupcakes are springy and a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Once fully baked, remove cupcakes from the oven and place immediately in the freezer to cool (this helps stop the baking process and results in a more moist cake).
For the strawberry compote:
Place strawberries, preserves and sugar into a medium saucepan. Heat on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in cornstarch and heat for approximately 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
For the frosting:
Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler, being careful not to burn. Set aside to cool. In a large saucepan, mix granulated sugar and flour, then add milk and heavy cream. Whisk together until combined, then heat over medium low heat, whisking occasionally. for about 20 minutes.
When mixture has thickened, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the butter. Increase the speed to high and whip until frosting is light and fluffy. Add in your melted chocolate and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Add the granulated sugar and whip a few minutes more. If frosting is still slightly runny, stick the whole bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then mix again. Repeat until frosting is desired consistency.
Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Using a small knife or apple corer, cut out the center of each cupcake (cutting out a kind of cone shape from the middle works best- here’s how ) . Fill the hole with the compote, about 1 teaspoon per cupcake. Fit a piping bag with desired tip and fill the bag with frosting (if you don’t have a piping bag, just scoop frosting into a large ziplock and cut off small piece of the corner). Pipe frosting onto each cupcake (be generous, this frosting is delicious). Garnish with some elegant sprinkles, or something else fabulous. Devour off of an over-priced plate.