Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Strawberry Cupcakes with Fresh Basil Buttercream

Disclaimer: this is not a kid cupcake. Well, unless your kid likes balsamic vinegar and basil.... I don't think I know any of those. And I know a lot of kids!

I made these cupcakes on Saturday with the intention of taking some to the Mother's Day Lunch at my sister's house. Friday night I was listening to House Hunters while back at the job search (job hunting sucks, btw) and a craving hit me. I was craving strawberries and balsamic and I thought "oohh basil, too!". It was well past dinner time, so naturally I began thinking dessert-- a cupcake! Yumm...

These cupcakes were well received. The basil butter cream doesn't have a super strong basil flavor, but compliments the strawberry flavor of the cake nicely. The tangy and sweet strawberries in the middle are a nice surprise and adds a more complex flavor. The cake is sweet, because let's be real, it's cake.... but everything else is more savory which creates a good balance for a "grown up" cupcake. 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Balsamic Soaked Strawberries and Fresh Basil Buttercream

1 box Strawberry Cake Mix- such as Pilsbury (18.25oz) + water, vegetable oil, and eggs- directions on back of box

Balsamic Strawberries
1/4 lb of fresh strawberries- diced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Fresh Basil Buttercream
6 large leaves basil, roughly torn
1 stick butter- divided in half
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar


Mix and Bake cupcakes as per package directions. As cupcakes are baking, pour balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and set on medium heat. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon. Let cool and then add in diced strawberries to soak.
For buttercream, melt 1/2 a stick of butter in microwave for aprx 20 seconds. Combine basil leaves and melted butter. Combine well and let cool until solid again. Add other 1/2 stick of butter and whip. Add in powdered sugar and ricotta cheese, mixing thoroughly.
*Note- if you store the icing in the fridge, you'll  need to bring the icing back to room temp to spread on the cupcakes.

When cupcakes are cooled, cut out a chunk of the center to add strawberries. Drain the balsamic from the strawberries and spoon them into each cupcake being careful not to overfill.
Top with Fresh Basil Buttercream and enjoy!