Battle One: Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing


  • Winner: Cupcake
  • KO: Ambre

What is this all about you ask? Well, we (mainly me, Ambre) have begun a cupcake baking hobby. I like decorating and tasting these cute little cupcakes. Tristan likes answering my questions about the physics behind the baking and providing emotional support for times when those devious cupcake bastards thwart and defy me.

For this cupcake showdown, I decided to make Smitten Kitchen’s Pink Lady Cake recipe (which can be found here: This produced 24 strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I had a fantastic time piping my own homemade icing and choosing the decorations for these little diet destroyers.

However, this story is not all roses and buttercups. Let’s just say that there were some challenges along the way. Most notably, I thought my strawberry puree was room temperature, but it was still so cold when I added it to my batter that it clumped everything up and forced me to wait 2 hours for everything to warm back up to the right temperature before I could proceed. Fortunately, this didn’t affect the final result one bit.

Here is how the cupcakes turned out:


Everyone agreed that the components of this cupcake were delightful. The icing was smooth and super flavorful and the strawberry flavor of the cupcake was easily distinguishable. However, there were two major problems. 1) The delicious cream cheese icing overpowered all of the flavor of the cupcake. I recommended that people eat the icing first and the cupcake separately so that they could actually get the chance to taste the strawberry flavor of the cupcake. This leads us to the second problem, which was how darn dense these cupcakes were. It looked like this and had the consistency of pound cake:


So, I have decided that the goal of this new baking hobby of mine is to not only bake, but also perfect each recipe that I decide to try out. Tristan and I have had a formal conference about what can be done to improve this recipe and battle two will be occurring this weekend. Stay tuned to see how our recipe tweaking works out.