Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade

I imagined that I'd have something else to show you, a beautiful tiered cake, but I ran out of something I needed for it during a failed experiment that shall remain nameless. So, I scrapped the cake idea for now and decided to go with flavors I love together.

These are vanilla cupcakes with lemon mousse filling and strawberry cream cheese frosting.

Oh. my. heck.

Really sweet, but hello, cupcakes? These are perfect for a hot summer day and are reminiscent of the strawberry lemonade my son got from Over Easy recently.

You can use your favorite yellow or white cake recipe with these.

Lemon Mousse

Lemon Curd (courtesy of The Whimsical Bakehouse)

1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (about four small lemons w/o a juicer)
1/2 cup sugar
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest (have fun zesting!*)
4 large eggs

Bring first four ingredients to a boil (whisking pretty regularly)

Beat the eggs well just before mixture boils

Slowly stir the hot mixture into the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low to medium low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. You will feel it thicken. Be very careful with the heat or the curd will curdle (hahahahahaha!). However, if you are not a perfectionist and you do get a teeny tiny bit of curdling, the next step, straining the mixture into a bowl will take care of it.

Once you have strained the mixture into the bowl, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and chill for at least four hours.

*The zest is the yellow part of the outer rind of the lemon. Do not zest the white part of the rind, you will get bitter lemon curd.

To make the mousse:

Whip up 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream with two tablespoons of powdered sugar, you want the whipped cream to have stiff peaks; but be careful, whip too long and you'll have butter.

Fold in 3/4 cup chilled lemon curd and do with as you wish. Spooning it directly from the bowl and into your mouth is a perfectly acceptable use for this light and refreshing mousse.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from The Whimsical Bakehouse and modified almost beyond recognition)
(P.S. Also tastes divine on chocolate cupcakes)

9 oz softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
8-10 cups of powdered sugar
10-12 strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry daiquiri mix

Put the strawberries and daiquiri mix in a blender and liquefy. Set aside in a bowl.

Cream the cheese and butter.
Add the first six cups of powdered sugar and mix on low.
Add strawberry mixture and blend.
Add powdered sugar until you get to the consistency you want. This recipe is not for decorating, it is for taste, so you will not get a light and fluffy buttercream no matter how much powdered sugar you add.

Assembling the cupcakes

Cool the cupcakes.

My idea of filling a cupcake is rudimentary at best, so, uh, sorry about that. Basically, I filled a plastic plunger (that came with our Pancake Puff pan - yes, we own the Pancake Puff pan) with the lemon mousse and inserted it through the top of the cupcake. I did this three or four times on each cupcake after I discovered rooting around inside the cupcake trying to make a single "fill hole" compromised its structure. I settled for having several "tubes" of mousse instead.

To get the frosting's swirly effect, I squirted the frosting on to the cupcake using Ateco tip number 824.

Sip and enjoy.

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