“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.”
- Alfred Tennyson
And in this garden of mine we would picnic everyday, as we did the other night. There would always be stiff Manhattans in the flask, sweet strawberry cupcakes in hand and rich chocolate pudding capped with bourbon whipped cream.
You’d pick me a flower just as two more would pop up next to us.
I could live in this ever-growing garden always, as long as you were there with me.
adapted from Look, I made that
makes 16-18 cupcakes
Strawberries are definitely not in season here and yet I needed these cupcakes. I imagine the flavor to be much more strawberry-like if the berries are used were ruby red throughout. I’ll try again in June. But regardless we ate them happily. These we topped with brown sugar buttercream and while delicious we decided that lightly sweetened whipped cream and sliced berry on top would have been wonderful too.
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tea vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
1 cup pureed strawberries
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 tea rose water (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
Combine the vanilla seeds (if using), sugar and butter and beat until well combined. Add the eggs in a slow stream, beating well after each addition. Beat for 1 minute at medium speed. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture and beat for 1 minute at medium speed.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the pureed strawberries and the orange zest.
Spoon into the prepared cake pans and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center, about 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from the pan.
Cool completely before frosting.
Brown Sugar Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt.
Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.
Transfer to the clean bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and cooled, about 15 minutes.
Raise speed to high; beat until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
This really is the perfect classic pudding. The creamy texture is reminiscent of the boxed variety I remember and crave. And really, it’s no more difficult to make. Unless you use the instant pack – that’s way too easy and a little odd how it firms up so quickly.
I used dark brown sugar instead of the white which added more richness and depth to the pudding but I imagine white is the more classic choice. I’ll leave it up to your pudding discretion.
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar (see note)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
7 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 60% chips)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk well to remove any lumps.
In a large saucepan bring the milk to a boil to a simmer. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and whisk together for one minute, or until thick. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and everything is well combined.
Transfer the pudding to a bowl, or individual bowls, and place wax paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Refrigerated until cold and set.
Bourbon Whipped Cream
There’s no recipe except to add as much bourbon as you think necessary to a bit of whipped cream. I added nearly 2 tablespoons to about 1 1/2 cups of already whipped cream.