Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Malibu Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

I decided to prepare all the food for my friend’s bachelorette/lingerie shower. When I asked her what flavor of cupcakes she wanted she just shrugged and said “I don’t know, whatever you want to make will be good.” Yes, this is the same friend from my recent brownie-making. Well, you see folks, I’m often incapable of making decisions, and I wanted to be sure and make something she liked. So I began to read from a list of the cupcake/cake combos I had bookmarked. When I got to “Malibu Strawberry-Lemon Cupcakes”, as in MALIBU RUM, she instantly said “Yeah, make that, that sounds good!” Whew! Decision made!

I was a bit intimidated by the cupcakes because they called for an italian meringue buttercream. I’d heard scary things about this type of frosting curdling and not turning out, but I’m happy to report I had no such problems! The frosting was smooth and creamy, and delicious! Because of all the other food I was prepping, my crazy crazy work schedule, and the fact that the shower was being held 1.5 hours away, I wanted to make the frosting 2 days ahead of time. I chilled it in the fridge, but once it came time to frost the cupcakes I didn’t give the frosting enough time to chill. It was hard, and wouldn’t squeeze through my decorator tip. I ended up having to zap it in the microwave at a low temperature, and I was scared death I would melt it and lose the wonderful fluffy creaminess that I got after originally making it. It still turned out ok, but not AS beautiful as when I first made the frosting! *sigh*

And as for the cupcakes, I’m not sure I’ve ever made cupcakes with buttermilk before. These cooked up in an interesting way. It’s like the top became golden, and then the inside bubbled up. They all turned out lopsided. So I ended up shaving them off to make them even. Which is fine with me, I got to test taste them! They were yummy, but I think if I made these again, I would use a different lemon cake recipe. One that might bake up more evenly.

Either way, this was a decadent combo, and everyone at the shower loved the cupcakes! The strawberry drizzle is a great addition, and I’m glad I didn’t leave it out.


Malibu Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes


Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt (I increased this to around 1/4 because I used unsalted butter)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened (I used unsalted)
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Malibu Italian Meringue Buttercream:
2 egg whites at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
12 tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1-2 tablespoons Malibu Caribbean Rum, coconut flavor, to taste (I used 2 of course!)

Strawberry Puree:
5 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed (I used fresh strawberries)
1 teaspoons sugar, more or less (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, more or less (to taste)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pan with cupcake liners.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until well-blended on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the lemon zest and juice.

Fill each cupcake cup about two-thirds full and bake for about 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centrer of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Beat the egg whites in the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and beat just before stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, stir together the sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and washing down side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. When syrup reaches a boil, put your candy thermometer into it and continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches about 238-242 degrees Fahrenheit.

Immediately remove from heat, turn your mixer back on (if you had it off like me) and slowly pour the hot syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites, beating constantly at high speed and making sure to not pour directly on the side of the bowl. Beat meringue until the bowl is cool to the touch.

Change out your whisk for your paddle attachment and scrapes down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, gradually add butter about two pieces at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. Continue beating until buttercream is smooth. (Mixture may look curdled before all butter is added, but will come back together before beating is finished. If that doesn’t work, try chilling it a bit in case your meringue was too hot.) Finally, add the Malibu and mix thoroughly.

Place the strawberries and their juice into your blender. Pulse a few times until pureed. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice until it’s the taste you want.

Cupcake assembly:
Pipe or spread on IMBC frosting. Drizzle some strawberry puree on top. Garnish with a strawberry.

Sorry I don’t have more/better pictures. I was running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything together before everyone started showing up!

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