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Strawberry Filled Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

November 22, 2008
Photo and Recipe by Eileen Talanian

Strawberry Filled Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

The surprise of a sweet, luscious strawberry filling is a pleasure in these tender cupcakes. You can use either strawberry jam or preserves, or strawberry fruit spread. The fruit spread makes a moister, more flavorful filling, that tastes more like fresh fruit. These cupcakes are great with White Chocolate Frosting, a coating of Chocolate Ganache, or a dollop of Sweetened Whipped Cream. The strawberry filling is placed on top of the batter, but sinks to the middle of the cupcakes as they bake.

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites from eggs graded large (3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole or 2% milk
1/3 cup (about) strawberry fruit spread or strawberry jam or preserves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and adjust the racks so they divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 standard size cupcake pans with cupcake liners (there will be 24 wells).

Place the butter, granulated sugar, and egg whites in a mixing bowl and cream them on medium high speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth, and light in color. Scrape the bowl and add the vanilla, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl again and add half of the flour, beating on low speed until the mixture is evenly blended, about 30 seconds. Add all of the milk and beat on medium low speed for 30-45 seconds. Scrape the bowl, add the remaining flour, and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well, giving the batter a few stirs to be sure it is evenly mixed.

Divide the batter evenly into the lined cupcake wells. [If you only have one cupcake pan (with 12 wells) you should measure the cupcake batter and use exactly half of it to fill the wells, then bake them, remove them from the pan, cool the pan, and repeat the lining, filling and baking process.] Place a rounded half-teaspoonful of strawberry fruit spread on the center of the batter for each cupcake.

Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, reversing the pans halfway through the baking time. The cupcakes will be done when a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place the pans on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans and place them on the wire racks to finish cooling. Do not frost the cupcakes until they are completely cool.

White Chocolate Frosting

White chocolate is not technically real chocolate…it is the cocoa butter that is extracted when cocoa powder is made, with added sugar, milk solids, lecithin, and vanilla. Be sure to use a white chocolate that is made with real cocoa butter. Lower quality white chocolates are made with hydrogenated vegetable oil (shortening), have a far inferior flavor, and will leave an unpleasant coating in your mouth. Real cocoa butter will melt in your mouth, giving that great, smooth, sensuous feeling we get when we eat high quality chocolate. The white chocolate must be carefully and slowly melted or it will be grainy and the recipe won’t work.

6 ounces excellent quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tablespoon half and half

Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil.

Place the white chocolate in a heat-resistant small bowl, and place the small bowl into the larger one. Add enough of the boiling water to come up about 3/4 of the way on the sides of the small bowl. Make sure that no water, not even one drop, gets into the chocolate during the melting process. Leave the bowl in the hot water, stirring gently with a small whisk or fork, until most of the chocolate is melted, about five minutes. Check every few minutes, stirring each time until all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. The smaller the chocolate pieces are, the quicker this will happen. Meanwhile, beat the butter with the powdered sugar on low speed until it is blended (it will be crumbly at first), then increase the speed and beat it on high speed for 2 minutes until it is fluffy. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, add the cream, and beat again until smooth. Add the white chocolate and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. The filling will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for two weeks. Bring the frosting to room temperature before using it.

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