Cream-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes With Strawberry Buttercream

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Source: Confessions of a Tart


Cream-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes With Strawberry Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes
(Makes 24 cupcakes) [made about 27 for me, but I didn't overfill]
(Martha Stewart)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Pastry Cream (recipe below)
Strawberry Buttercream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in 3 batches of flour mixture, alternating with 2 batches of milk. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until thoroughly blended, 10 to 20 seconds.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with batter. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let cool in tin on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and decorate.

If filling with cream, use a small spoon or the tip of a knife to make a small hole in the center of each cupcake, going about half way through the cupcake. Fill the hole with cream and then pipe buttercream on top.

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Strawberry Buttercream
2 sticks (16 tbsp) of butter, room temperature
1 cup strawberries, pureed (I measured out the strawberries first and then pureed them)
3-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream the butter in the mixer on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. On slow speed, gradually add about 2 cups of powdered sugar and turn back up to high for a few minutes to really incorporate the sugar. Turn to slow speed again and fold in the strawberries. Add more sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Once all the sugar is incorporated, turn to medium-high for a few minutes to mix well.

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Pastry Cream
(Tartine - awesome, awesome book)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Add the salt, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth (don't let the eggs and sugar stand together for too long or else the sugar will cook the eggs *so I've heard*).

When the milk is ready, slowly drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking until the custard is as thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. The mixture must come just to the boiling point (slow bubbles, not boiling vigorously, or you will curdle the eggs, yuk). Remove from heat and immediately pour through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut the butter into 1 tbsp pieces and whisk into pastry cream 1 tbsp at a time until smooth.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and put in the refrigerator to cool.