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Birthday cupcakes? Dang straight! The Muffin Myth was launched one year ago today! If I may, I’ll take a moment to thank once again the people responsible for helping me get this project off the ground, those who continue to support me in this endeavor, those who read, and those who actually make the recipes I post here (and tell me about it!). You make my day, every day.

What better way to celebrate than with some birthday cupcakes?!

The local strawberries are still going strong in Sweden. I’m eating as many as I can while they’re still around, and each day when I leave my apartment and see local strawberries are still at the fruit stand down the street I breathe a little sigh of relief. I’ve made strawberry cakes, I’ve made jam, I’ve eaten my weight in strawberries straight up, and, I’ve made these strawberry cupcakes. 

These cupcakes are a riff on a strawberry cake recipe posted by Deb over at Smitten Kitchen not too long ago, which I made earlier in June when my in-laws were visiting us here in Stockholm. Their visit was in the middle of a fierce heat wave, and, one day, weary from touring around and just wanting to put her feet up and have a healthy snack, my mother-in-law arrived with a bunch of bananas and a carton of what she thought was milk. Alas, she had made the exact same mistake as Paul had on his very first day in Sweden a year and a half ago, not realizing that in addition to regular milk the Swedes drink a cultured, sour milk. It’s kept in the dairy cooler right next to milk and the packaging looks remarkably similar. Clearly if you don’t know the difference it is an easy mistake to make. Lucky for Tess I was here to stop her from taking a big gulp; Paul was not so lucky on that first jet-lagged morning. I gather it isn’t so good in coffee.

Though I haven’t yet developed a taste for the cultured milk (give it time; I did learn to love Marmite while I lived in New Zealand 12 years ago and still have a fondness for the stuff) I have discovered that it is fantastic as a baking ingredient, much like buttermilk. This cake recipe didn’t originally call for buttermilk (or cultured milk), but in it went. When I tinkered with this recipe to make it into cupcakes I played around with substituting a banana for half of the fat. The resulting cupcakes didn’t taste particularly banana-ey and they were quite dense. Good, but not fluffy like the full fat version was. And really, only six tablespoons of butter for a dozen cupcakes, I think we can all live with that.

One year ago: The Muffin That Started It All

Strawberry Birthday Cupcakes Recipe:

Fresh, ripe strawberries are the best for this recipe. They will soften and become jammy as the cake batter bakes up around them. Slice smaller strawberries in half, larger ones in quarters. This is a place for cupcake liners. I don’t normally use them when I bake muffins, but the sugars in the strawberries will stick to the tins and make removing the cupcakes difficult otherwise. I accidentally bought jumbo liners and rather than venture back out for the right size I just dropped them into a 9 x 11 rectangular pan and made the best of it. I recommend buying the correct size. 

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Makes 12 cupcakes.

…….

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

.

6 Tbsp (90 g) room temperature butter (or, 3 Tbsp butter and one mashed banana)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup cultured milk, buttermilk, or plain yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla

.

450 g (about 1 lb, or 1 pint) strawberries, hulled and sliced in half

…….

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper liners.

In a small bowl sift together flours and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer or a whisk, beat the butter (or butter an mashed banana) and the sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg, beating until well mixed, then the cultured milk and vanilla. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into 12 lined cups, filling not more than 2/3 full. Arrange 3-4 strawberry halves over the batter in each cup. 

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, rotating the pans once half way through, until the tops are golden and a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011

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