The other day, I sent an angry text message to my friend.
“Stupid Valentine’s Day,” I wrote. “I am on pink and red overload. Those two colors don’t even go well together!”
Moments later, my friend wrote back, “F— that s—,” the most profanity I have ever heard (or read) him utter at once.
What is it about Valentine’s Day that seems to get everyone up in arms? I’m part of the problem, I admit; even last year, when I was actually dating someone on February 14th, I rolled my eyes when the poor schnook suggested, “We should do something.” I should be a better sport. After all, the inventor of Valentine’s Day cards, like myself, was a Mount Holyoke alumna.
This year, I decided to take my least favorite holiday and use it as an excuse to bake something pink, so that those who aren’t as vehemently opposed can make wholesome goodies for their friends, family and – wait for it – sweethearts on Valentine’s Day. Those pink baked goods are delicious strawberry cupcakes. Let’s kick it.
For the cake:
24 medium strawberries, hulled
1 cup + 2 tbsp cage-free egg whites
3 cups raw sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
For the frosting:
3/4 cups strawberries, mashed
3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
7 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups Earth Balance organic whipped buttery spread, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Begin by hulling the strawberries. There are proper methods of doing so, but I just used my fingers.
Place strawberries into a blender, and blend until smooth. Try NOT to leave any remaining chunks, like so:
Instead, allow the strawberries to become completely pureed:
In a large bowl or food processor, beat together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and strawberry puree until well combined.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing well.
The original recipe allows the option of adding red food coloring to create a pink shade for the cake. I did not have much luck in this venture, after retrieving the great but very pricey India Tree natural food coloring -
Adding several drops -
And ending up with the same exact shade as before. $18 down the drain, ladies and gentlemen.
Spoon the batter into a prepared cupcake tin – greased with a natural spray or lined with cupcake liners (try to find liners made from recycled paper, usually available at Whole Foods), filling each roughly 3/4 full.
Bake until the cupcakes have risen into a rounded top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and allow cupcakes to cool for at least 10 minutes before applying frosting.
To prepare the frosting, begin by mashing 3/4 cup of strawberries. It’s very fun to mash them by hand, especially when on the anti- side of Valentine’s Day, but doing so also creates a wonderful strawberry aroma.
Place the mashed strawberries, confectioners’ sugar, melted Earth Balance and shredded coconut into the food processor, beating until smooth.
Using a rubber scraper, scoop the frosting into a large, zip-sealed plastic bag. Push the frosting into one corner of the bag and secure with a rubber band, like so:
Refrigerate the frosting for 5-10 minutes to create a thicker consistency. Remove the bag from the refrigerator and snip off the bottom 1/2 inch of the corner.
Begin by frosting the rim of the cupcakes, working your way into the center to create a spiraled peak.
Recipe yields 35-36 cupcakes.
Weight Watchers PointsPlus™ Value: 8 per cupcake