I love holidays and even holidays that I don’t celebrate because there always is an excuse to bake something delicious!
I wanted to make cupcakes and try something new, but not too new because I’ve never messed up cupcakes before and didn’t want to start now! Trust me, I have a never-ending baking bucket list that includes all kinds of crazy cupcake ideas, but after reading so much of Mark Bittman’s books, I think his “simple is better” edict is starting to sink in and I chose not to make the crazy stuffed cupcakes I had in mind originally.
Then I saw Giada had an amazing sounding strawberry mascarpone cupcake recipe but when I clicked on it, I was horrified to see that it used BOX MIX. Nooooooooo! C’mon Giada. I was so annoyed that I nixed the idea completely. Then a search on one of the best baking blogs led me to this. Ahhhhhh. Baking serenity sans box mix. Life was good, and so were the cupcakes.
If you’re looking for a not-too-sweet, fresh, light and airy dessert, bake this. It’s so easy and I can’t wait to make this again with maybe a few slight tweaks and using other fruits!
Recipe via Joy the Baker
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese mixed with 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup diced strawberries, fresh
Center a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcakes papers and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Dice strawberries and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg and beat for another 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla. Add the ricotta mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Starting and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the strawberries. Divide among the 12 muffin tins and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until risen and very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting you’ll need:
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on low speed until mixture is warm and sugar is dissolved. (I first dissolved the sugar in the water and then mixed it with egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.) Increase speed to high and beat until frosting is thick and fluffy, about 7 minutes.
Remove from bowl and beat until slightly cooled.
Add a dash of vanilla extract and food coloring if desired.