None of the schools my kids go to ever have bake sales, which is too bad, because they would be the fundraisers I would actually enjoy being a part of. I remember the parent-teacher-student open house we used to have every September in my elementary school. The whole school would smell like perfume and freshly polished floors. The bake sale was always set up in front of the stage in the cafeteria on a long table filled with cookies and cakes, and it was always a huge success.
So, this week, to kick off September, I thought I’d dedicate everyday to some sort of bake sale treat — for all of you who are lucky enough to have one at your kids’ schools, and for all of you who just wish you did.
I tweaked this recipe and got a fantastic consistency; the only problem is, it makes 16-18 cupcakes, not 12. Since I have only one regular size muffin pan, I made twelve regular size cupcakes and two extra large cupcakes.
For this recipe, you need to use a jam that does not drip liquid. I use Polaner All-fruit Seedless Strawberry, or better yet, Smucker’s Simply Fruit Seedless Strawberry. Both are really firm and work well with this frosting.
As for room temperature butter, who ever knows when they’re going to want to bake two to five hours in advance? Baking is usually a spontaneous thing for us. I just microwave the butter in 10-15 second intervals, rotating it on each of its sides, until it is soft but not melted.
2 1/4 cups (340g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons, or 170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (330g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups (340g) milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees * (180 degrees Celsius). Line 12-18 muffin tins with paper liners.
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth, about a minute on medium speed. Add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes more. With mixer on medium-low, add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in extracts.
4. With mixer on low, add in a third of the flour mixer, followed by half of the milk. Add in the next third of flour, the remaining milk, and finally the remainder of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
5. With an ice cream scooper, divide up the batter evenly among the paper liners. (I use a scoop that holds 1/3 cup, which works perfectly.)
6. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center ones comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pans for at least ten minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before decorating.
*For all you fellow friends at high altitude, crank the oven temperature up a bit, to about 365 degrees.
strawberries and cream frosting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces seedless strawberry jam
1 cup heavy cream
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about a minute. Add in 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla. Beat until smooth.
2. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and add in jam. Whisk until smooth and all large lumps are gone.
3. Clean out mixer bowl (unless, of course you have more than one mixer bowl — lucky!), and with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on high until stiff peaks form. With the mixer on low, add in 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and whisk until just combined.
4. Fold the two mixtures together until smooth, being careful not to deflate the whipped cream.
5. Place frosting in a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I used the Wilton 1 M size; I found the tip and the bag at Jo-Ann’s). Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, starting at the edges, and swirling around to the center.