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1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla*
½ cup pureed fresh strawberries
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
4 tbsp. strawberry jam*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or blender, process strawberries until pureed and set aside. In medium bowl, whisk* together flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

In mixer add butter.  Cream butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy.  Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add egg and egg whites until blended.  Slowly add half the flour mixture until blended.  Add milk, strawberry puree, and vanilla, and mix just until blended.  Slowly add rest of flour mixture, scraping down the sides of bowl until blended.  Fill cupcake tins lined with paper cups* 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes on cooking rack.  When cooled, cut out a small hole in center of cupcake and fill with one teaspoon of strawberry jam.  Put the cut out cake on top.

Basil Buttercream Icing:

½ cup milk
½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
4 ounces package cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract*
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

In small sauce pan add milk and fresh basil.  Heat on medium heat.  When milk comes to a simmer, reduce heat to low.  Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep milk from burning on the bottom, until mixture is reduced more than half.  Add to a food processor or blender and puree for about 10-15 seconds.  Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In medium bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add vanilla extract and basil puree.  Beat just until incorporated.  Slowly beat in powdered sugar, scrape down the sides, and beat until smooth.  When the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can put the icing in a piping bag* to frost them or just spread on with a spatula*.  Garnish with a slice of fresh strawberry and enjoy!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

*Available at Zest!

Recipe from Kay Weaver’s Herbs! Herbs! Herbs! class.  Sign up for cooking classes at Zest! Cooking School at Brighton to learn more from Kay’s classes!



Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream Icing

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