Monday, February 17, 2014

Eggless Strawberry Cupcakes

When a special day is approaching (read: birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day) and it comes to doing things for my dear husband my mind gets to work like a week prior to the main day. Since Valentine’s Day just went by allow me to talk about that.

I have often heard people excusing themselves from Valentine’s Day saying “oh we don’t believe in this stupid day, after all every day should be celebrated like Valentine’s Day and one should make his/her partner feel special every single day”.  And my husband is one of those people (eyes rolling!) But really who are we fooling? You tell me, with all the life’s madness do you really get time to shower your partner with love, adoration and little gestures every day (if you are one of those then I would like to tell your partner how lucky he/she is)? Even a cheesy romantic like me who surprises her husband with his favourite cookies and his favourite dish or breakfast on random days fail to make everyday special and exclusive.
Your partner does not expect expensive gifts, a flower or a handmade greeting card will make him/her more than happy.

So, I say if Mr. Valentine has given you the opportunity to make someone you love feel special, why not grab it? I am not asking you to celebrate just this one day and be dull and lame on the other days but utilise this one in the least.

Anyway, I have lectured enough. Let me share what I did. Be it any occasion (even if it is not an occasion) I love to buy people close to me greeting cards. Besides the materialistic gifts (sometimes there sometimes not) I always love to bake something for my husband. So this valentine while I had already got him a card, I decided to try a new flavour of cupcake and zeroed in on making eggless strawberry cupcakes for my love.

The moment he left for work I gathered all the ingredients (all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, oil, vanilla essence, yoghurt, milk and strawberry crush). I first mixed butter, oil and sugar. When it was whisked to a slight fluffiness I added vanilla extract to it. After mixing them well I added a few spoonfuls of home-made yoghurt. When it all came together I dropped in a few dollops of preservative free home-made strawberry crush

I then moved on to the dry part of the recipe and sifted all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and together. I added this dry mix to the wet strawberry mix in three parts adding a bit of milk with each part and brought them all together. Once the dry ingredients seemed in perfect harmony with the wet ones I toppled nicely cut strawberry chunks to it and folded them gently into the cupcake batter.

I placed the cupcake sheets in each mould and filled just about half the mould with batter leaving the rest for the cupcake to rise.

The oven was preheated at 180 degree Celsius when I shoved in the mould tray into the oven. I left them to bake for around 20 minutes. Once they were done I pricked the cupcakes right in the middle to the bottom to see if they were done. My toothpick came out absolutely clean (if yours does not let them bake for another 3-4 minutes). I then transferred the cupcakes onto a rack to let them cool. 

While the cupcakes were sitting to cool down I started working on the frosting. I took some room temperature butter and whisked it well. I then added cream and powdered sugar to it and whipped it till it formed soft peaks. Then, went into it two spoons of home-made strawberry crush which were folded in with the cream and brought to the perfect fluffiness with one last whip.

To present them beautifully I took a few strawberries, washed them well but left the leaves on. I then cut each strawberry at various angles to give it an appearance of a rose. 

Then came the final part: placement. I took the cupcakes, coated each one with a thin layer of home-made strawberry crush, topped that with the frosting and finally the strawberry rose. They looked so lovely!
I did not yet know how my husband would react seeing them at 12 A.M. but I fell in love with them and could not wait to dig my fork in them. 

We welcomed the Valentine’s Day at 12 A.M. My husband was speechless when he saw the cupcakes and just smiled at them. Even after a full proper dinner he could not stop himself from finishing one whole cupcake at midnight. I was assured that he has liked them. The hard work and effort that was put in was all worth it when I saw him enjoying the cupcake. I too had one whole portion :p. 

I am sure you must be wondering after all that I did, what did my dear husband do for me?

My husband’s tight embrace and a kiss on my shoulder spoke more than words wishing me happy Valentines. He did take me out to dinner and a movie to reciprocate my gesture.

If you want to make someone you love feel special these cupcakes are a brilliant idea.

Ingredients ( ten cupcakes)
this is how they looked...:)
For the batter
#  1.5 cups of all purpose flour
#  ¾ cup of sugar
#  4 small cubes of butter
#  3-4 spoons of olive oil
#  2-3 spoonfuls of yoghurt
#  ½ tbsp of vanilla extract
#  3 spoonfuls of strawberry crush
# ½ tbsp of baking soda
# 1 tbsp of baking powder
#  pinch of salt
#  ¾ cup of milk
#  4-5 strawberries cut into chunks

For the frosting

#  6-7 small cubes of butter
#  ½ cup double cream
#  powdered sugar (2 tbsp, increase or decrease as per taste)
#  2 spoonfuls of strawberry crush


# preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
# take room temperature butter and olive oil, whisk it well.
# add sugar and mix it all well.
# add vanilla extract.
# add yoghurt and bring it all together.
# add to this some strawberry crush and mix again.
# sift together all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
# add the dry flour mix to the wet strawberry mix in three parts adding some milk with each part.
# mix well in one direction to bring the batter together.
# throw in the strawberry chunks and fold them gently in the batter.
# fill the cupcake moulds to half of their volume.
# put the moulds in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
# when they are done, prick a toothpick in the centre of the cupcake to the bottom. If the toothpick comes out clean the cupcakes are ready (if not let them bake for another 4 minutes).
# transfer them onto a rack and let the cool.


# whisk well room-temperature butter.
# add double cream and powdered sugar to it.
# whisk and whip it till soft peaks are formed.
# fold in the strawberry crush.
# whip it one last time and put it in the refrigerator for a while.


# coat the cupcake with a thin layer of strawberry crush (optional)
# drop a spoonful of frosting onto it
# place a fresh strawberry on the top.


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