Katie Green's Food Blog: Graduation Strawberries
My sister recently graduated from police auxiliary training in Canada after much hard work and determination. I made these cupcakes for her as she has multiple allergies that significantly limit her ability to enjoy many foods. Thus, these cupcakes are dairy, egg, and wheat/gluten free. That may not sound delicious, but they are and actually have the consistency, texture and taste of an authentic cupcake. And when you throw a bunch of frosting and strawberries on something, it's hard NOT to make it delicious.
Let's face it. Strawberries are different. They rebel against all other fruit by carrying their seeds on the outside and are not actually classified as a true berry. Strawberries are in the rose family and come packed with Vitamin C, fiber, folic acid and potassium. Like apples, strawberries come in many different varieties, but we have grown accustomed to the typical kind from California that we see in the stores. Their strawberries are generally bigger and bred to withstand transportation. Local Washington strawberries are smaller and sweeter, but much more delicate with a shorter shelf life. Interestingly, eating nitrate rich foods like strawberries before exercise can cause you to burn more calories during your workout. Strawberries are also reported to prevent muscle fatigue by increasing blood flow to muscles by 7%. Throw them into your pre-workout smoothie and your body will thank you.
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Adapted from vancouversun.com
· 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (Or, for gluten-free, 1 ½ cups of the following mixture: 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup potato or tapioca starch, 1/2 cup almond meal and 1 tsp xanthan gum)
· 1 cup sugar
· 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 1 tsp baking soda
· ½ tsp salt
· 1 cup cold coffee, water or coconut milk
· ½ cup canola oil
· 2 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
· 2 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting (You may want to substitute Cool Whip or another healthier option)
· 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
· 3 cups powdered sugar
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 2-5 tbsp soy, almond or rice milk
· 1 ½ cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners (makes 14 cupcakes). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together coffee, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.
Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon nondairy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. You may not need to use all of the nondairy milk. Beat on high for 2 more minutes until light and fluffy.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, slice off the top 1/3 of each cupcake and slather with frosting and sliced strawberries. Place the top of the cupcake back on top and add an additional bit of frosting and sliced strawberries. Dust with powdered sugar.
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