A Little Bite of Summer in the Cold

It has finally, finally, finally started to get cold here in Maryland. Like really, truly bitingly, cold.

It took a while this year. There were days in the last few weeks that were gorgeous. You would walk outside, all bundled up, and then dash back inside, drop your winter gear and run around in a t-shirt and/or hoodie.

But now…Now we’re talking cold.

So, I’m all for winter flavors. Gingerbread, and deep chocolates and warm brown sugars. They are some of my favorites, but sometimes you just wanna bite into something and taste Summer.

Which is where House of Yumm’s Vanilla Cupcakes with strawberry jam buttercream come in.

I hadn’t used this recipe before, because honestly, I don’t make vanilla cake too much. It’s…well…vanilla. It’s good, it’s solid, but there’s nothing terribly special about it.

But sometimes you just want something simple.

Think Kaylee from the Firefly pilot, biting into that strawberry that Booke brought on board with him. Sometimes that’s the kind of simple you want.

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Now I have to tell you, I have a dirty secret. A terribly dirty baker secret.

I’m an overmixer.

If you just heard Derek Zoolander’s voice in your head, bemoaning his inability to turn left when you read that, then congrats! We share a brain.

Whenever a recipe says “do not overmix” I do anyways. Usually things turn out fine. Thankfully, this was one of those times.

So the cupcakes are from House of Yumm, but the buttercream is your basic buttercream (2 sticks butter,  2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, splash of milk 1 tsp vanilla), and then you drop in 1/3 of a cup of strawberry jam.

Sadly, right now I don’t have whisk attachments for my hand mixer, so I used the beaters like always, and then whisked the crap out of it by hand, because this is a frosting that you want to be fluffy and light.

Now I’ve tried using strawberry compote before in my strawberry frosting, and the taste is a lot sharper. I really love the jam aspect. It adds something fun and tasty to it.

In terms of what kind of strawberry jam, I usually go for Smuckers Natural. It literally has five ingredients, so it’s sweet, but it’s not diabeetus-sweet. Which is good because the frosting is already loaded with powdered sugar.

I’d love to make more jam frostings, because there are so many flavors out there. I’ve been toying with the idea of grape, but the only thing I could think that would go with that are peanut-butter cupcakes. And that might be a little too obvious for me. I’ll think on it some more.

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My roommates happened to have fresh strawberries in the house, and they, it turns out, are all way better at slicing things than I am (I bake, they all do a lot more cooking), so they sliced ’em up and popped slivers on top.

When I woke up in the morning, these three were the last ones left:

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Larry, Curly, and Moe

So they turned out pretty good. 🙂

 

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