Sprinkles of Beverly Hills strawberry cupcakes

I lived in Los Angeles for 4 years, and was often caught up in the "cupcake craze" of the mid to late 2000's.  People would stand in line for 20 minutes at Sprinkles on Little Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills just to buy a cupcake for $4.  You heard me right.  $4.  For 1 cupcake.

I worked for a big corporate company that was less than 1 mile from Sprinkles.  Birthdays and other special occasions would have us running there for a dozen cupcakes at the low low price of ~$32.  It was like crack.

So, last year when I was looking for a cupcake recipe, and my friend Maura sent me a recipe that was advertised as just like Sprinkles, I quickly made them and have not looked back.  These cupcakes are divine and are fairly simple. 

WARNING: these cupcakes can and will insight mischief and thievery.  My father in law and my husband's uncle co-conspired to steal and hide some at Jack's birthday party on Sunday.  Shameful! ;-D

I've tweaked the original recipe that Maura gave me to better suit our tastes.

Strawberry cupcakes

Makes 1 dozen

* 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
* 1 1/2 cups bread flour, sifted (original recipe calls for all-purpose)
* 2.5 heaping teaspoons baking powder (original recipe calls for 1 tsp)
* 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature (original recipe calls for whole milk, but we prefer buttermilk)
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (try homemade!)
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup evaporated cane juice crystals (original recipe called for white sugar)
* 1 large egg, room temperature
* 2 large egg whites, room temperature (buy some cream and use the leftover yolks to make ice cream!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, 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 to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

These are amazing with my homemade cream cheese frosting.
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