The cupcakes that wooed Ina Garten and that Bobby Flay ate 3 of in a row and that Bob Tuschman called one of his very favorite cupcakes ever? Demand for the recipe has been only slightly less impassioned than demand for my meatloaf that changed the way Paula Deen makes meatloaf. (Um, not that I’m name dropping or anything.)
Look, the frosting recipe is a little complicated. But, like many complicated things, it’s worth it in the end. My husband would probably say this about me. I hope.
For a special touch, add a sliver of strawberry on top of the each cupcake before baking. It sinks into the middle of the cupcake and is a pleasant surprise for die-hard strawberry lovers.
Buttermilk Cupcakes with Strawberry-Balsamic-Wine Frosting
Makes 30 cupcakes
For the Cake
4 cups cake flour
1 tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups whole fat buttermilk
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 30 cupcake liners. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate large bowl or standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk until just combined. Slowly add dry ingredients until just combined. Distribute batter into cupcake liners evenly and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 lb. strawberries, tops cut off
1 ½ cup red wine
1 ½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Swirl melted butter over a baking sheet (compact enough to slide into oven while cupcakes are baking, if you’re making them at the same time). Place strawberries, flat side down, on the sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until strawberries are very soft. Process strawberries in a food processor by pulsing about 10 times, until macerated.
While strawberries roast, combine wine and vinegar in a saucepan and cook over high heat until syrupy, which can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes – KEEP AN EYE ON IT, because it goes from too thin to burned very quickly. Reduce heat and add macerated strawberries, salt, and cornstarch. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly so the mixture doesn’t burn. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
In a large bowl or standing mixer, beat butter until creamy, then add powdered sugar until combined. Add strawberry-wine mixture until just combined.