This spring is been a different one for me. It has brought a lot of childhood memories and connection to the world I used to live in.
When I was a child, we lived in an urban house wherein we had a small garden. My dad planted an apple tree, a cherry tree and lots of roses along the wall. The whole garden was not more than 15 cubic meter big but, it had accommodated plants to its full potential. My siblings and I would play in this little natural world of us, but for me, it was a bit more details into it! Attention to details! I saw that little garden as a little treasure with a lot of beauties that were probably visible to me because I would get so close! We had this huge rosebush that bloomed into few but huge flowers. Although I had every plant in check, I had a deeper connection with this pink rose. Everyday, I followed the daily life of my rose. From a little bud blooming into a humongous flower with huge sturdy pedals and delicate light pink silk skin, I did not miss a single event. I loved her, and it was interesting to me just follow her beautiful life stages! I even loved large needles on her stems that sometimes hurt me when I was checking her leaves or flowers!
Moving into an apartment and getting busy with life, I lost connections with that beautiful world. However, after all those years, I moved into a house again which has brought a lot of those wild and sacred memories to me.
Ingredients for Cakes
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 g pastry flour, sifted twice
1 ½ tsp baking powder, add to the flour
1 tsp salt, add to the flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp low fat yogurt
½ cup strawberry, cut into small pieces
Strawberries, for topping
Ingredients for Icing
2 large egg whites
145 g sugar
170g unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp beet juice to color or natural food color (optional)
Directions for Icing
Mix egg whites with sugar in a double boiler, or simply place a heatproof bowl over a low heat hot water bowl. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. This may take about five minutes. Test with rubbing the mixture between your fingers. It should be soft without sugar granules. Let the mixture to cool down close to room temperature.
Transfer the mixture into a mixer bowl and whisk for 12-15 minutes on high speed. Fluffy picks should form and the mixture has completely cooled down. Check this by touching the bottom of the bowl. The meringue must be completely cooled down before adding the butter.
Turn on the mixer on medium speed and start adding small amounts of butter at the time. Before you add the next slice of butter, scrape down the bowl, to make sure it is completely mixed. The mixture might seem to split as you the butter each time, but continue whisking; it will come back together.
At the end, add the vanilla extract and beet juice (or natural food color). Whisk well until they are incorporated and the icing is smooth.
Refrigerate until ready for piping.
You can refrigerate this icing in a container for few days, or freeze it for up to one month.
Directions for Baking
Preheat oven to 350 F. And place 12 cupcake sheets over the cupcake case.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until creamy and pale. Add the eggs, one at the time. Mix well before adding the next one.
Gently, stir in the flour and mix with a spatula in round motion until the flour is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, strawberry pieces, and yogurt and mix.
With a large spoon, fill the cake cases filmed with the sheets, 2/3 full with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan, then transfer onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Spoon the icing into a piping bag and attach the desired tip. Pipe the icing over the cakes. You can simply spread the icing over the cakes using a palette knife. Decorate with fresh strawberries. You can store these cupcakes for few days in a container in the fridge.