I will try to keep this as concise as possible. Here are the results of my second attempt to bake Smitten Kitchen’s Pink Lady Cake recipe.
(SPOILER ALERT) Results
- Ambre: WINNER!!!
- Cupcake: KO
Battle One Lessons & Challenges
- I added the butter and strawberry puree to the dry ingredients before they were room temperature, a mistake that resulted in a huge time penalty.
- The recipe, as is, does not ask you to foam the eggs, which we think contributed to the denseness of the first cupcake batch.
- The temperature in the kitchen was well over 80 degrees, which didn’t help the batter remain light and airy, also contributing to the density of the cupcakes.
- We made the whole recipe, which produced 24 cupcakes (excessive). While the first 12 cakes were baking, the batter sat for 25ish minutes in the hot kitchen (warming up and losing its fluff).
Executing the Revised Battle Plan
- First I got suited up and started our kitchen cooling device – a massive fan that Tristan bought to ensure proper air circulation. We are 110% committed to getting these cupcakes light and fluffy!
- I pureed the heck out of my strawberries and kept checking their temperature to ensure that they were warm enough to add to the dry ingredients. At this point (see below), you can see that I still need the temperature to rise about 40 degrees before I’ve reached optimal conditions.
- For this recipe, you add all the dry ingredients and then beat in the butter and strawberries. This is what that looks like before and after.
- MOST IMPORTANT CHANGES – In the next step, the recipe tells you to beat some eggs whites and milk (with awesome red food dye for the perfect pink look) and add them to the batter. This is where we tweaked the recipe the most. We dropped the 2/3 cup of milk in this step (instead, we added 2/3 cup extra strawberry puree) since the milk will only serve to mask the taste of the berries. Then, we decided to foam the egg-dye mixture to semi-stiff peaks. There was no way on God’s green earth that these cupcakes were not going to rise. Before foaming the eggs, Tristan added just a pinch of cream of tartar. The acid in the tartar helps prevent the foam from collapsing (a super important safeguard in the event that you accidently over-beat the eggs).
- After incorporating the eggs into the batter, we ended up with 12 beautiful cupcakes. The liners were pretty full, so we were worried about the cakes spilling over in the oven, but…
- They turned out perfectly! These little gems are light and fluffy just like we were hoping. These cupcakes can hardly even be compared to those produced by Battle One!!!!
- And look at this cupcake cross section. I think the pictures speak for themselves (compare to the cupcake from Battle One on the right).
Conclusion – Mission Accomplished
- There does not need to be Strawberry Cupcake Battle 1.3. In our opinion, we have made this recipe as perfectly as we could have hoped for. The extra strawberry we added in place of the milk just makes the berry flavor stand out even more (in a wonderful way). The cakes are so moist and fluffy it is like eating a cloud, but they also are still structurally sound enough to hold icing properly. Truth be told though, we will not be adding icing to these gems, they just taste too freaking good as they are. Bake them yourselves to find out just what I mean!
Done, Done and Onto the Next One. Look for Battle Two Soon! I think I want to try out a vanilla cupcake recipe next time.