I don't always actually eat my cupcakes. Usually I reel PID in as a taste-tester and lick an empty bowl here and there to ensure everything's in order. But with these, I simply couldn't say no.
Diet, I beseech thy forgiveness as I indulge in my own Light 'n' Fluffy Strawberry Shortcakes!
Here's what you'll need for the Cupcakes (12 yield)
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cake flour
3/4 c. egg whites (about 6)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. meringue powder (optional)
dash of salt
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (note, this is hotter than for normal cupcakes which are typically baked at 350). In a small bowl, combine your powdered sugar, flour and meringue powder and set aside. Beat the egg whites at medium speed for 1 minute, then add in the tartar. Beat at medium-high speed and gradually add in the granulated sugar, then the vanilla, then the almond extract, then the salt. Let this mixture beat at medium-high for about 5 minutes or until it starts looking like a meringue and begins to peak. Gradually begin to mix in the flour/powdered sugar mixture until smooth. It should look, feel and taste much lighter than your typical cupcake mix.
Spray cupcake tin with Baker's Joy (aka my best friend) and fill each tin to the very top with the mixture. Drag a knife through each tin to break up any air bubbles, then flatten the mixture so there are no peaks.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Here's what you'll need for the Whipped Cream Icing:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp. meringue powder
2/3 c. granulated sugar
Beat the cream on high and gradually sprinkle in the meringue powder. When it starts to peak, gradually add in the sugar. Continue beating on high for about 4-5 minutes and you're done! Easy peasy, lemon squeezey!
Here's what else you'll need:
1 container of fresh strawberries save 12 small berries whole, chop the rest
1 container of Breyers Strawberry Ice Cream (or your favorite brand -- just make sure it's got the delicious chunks in there)
After your cupcakes have cooled, use a cupcake corer (or a spoon, or knife, or whatever you've got handy...) to core a substantial chunk out of the center of the cake.
Then, take a few chunks of your chopped strawberries and set them in the bottom of the cored center. Take a spoonful of your strawberry ice cream and scoop it on top of the chopped strawberries, smoothing it out over the top of the cupcake.
If you'd like, drop a few more chopped strawberries on top of that. I didn't -- but after tasting it was thinking it might be good! Then, either with a piping bag or a spoon, ice your cupcake. As a garnish, take one of your remaining full strawberries and slice it three times up the center, then twist it out in to a fan. Voila!
Now for the best part...... TAKE A BITE! I assure you, you won't be sorry!