Happy Thursday! Living in Northern California gives me the opportunity to have awesome wineries to visit and one of my favorite places to go is Castello Di Amorosa. It’s located in Calistoga, about 50 minutes drive from where I live. I’m a club member so I enjoy to visit the castle and drink their tasty wines.
La Fantasia is one of their most popular wines, an Italian style frizzante which is lower in alcohol and sweet . This wine pairs really good with Summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. I already made a cake using this wine but today I’ll show you how to make these delicious cupcakes.
These soft vanilla cupcakes are filled with a homemade wine strawberry curd and topped with a delicious wine strawberry whipped cream frosting.
Also, I want to share with you something about vanilla cupcakes. I can tell you that when it comes to vanilla cupcakes, the best fat to use is unsalted butter. Please, do not use oil. Oil will make your cupcakes greasy, dense like bread. You want soft mini cakes with a nice dome and that’s what butter does for you. USE BUTTER!
Let’s start with the recipe. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram @Pastry_Tales because I always post videos about the things I bake including these cupcakes.
Yield about 14 regular size cupcakes
(If you want a bigger batch, just double the ingredients)
For the vanilla cupcakes
1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature. Do not use oil. Oil will make your cupcakes greasy and dense.
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
For the wine strawberry curd
1 lb of fresh strawberries, chopped in small pieces
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup La Fantasia wine (or any other pink sweet wine)
4 egg yolks
For the frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream cream
1/2-2/3 cup cup powdered sugar (it’s up to you how sweet you want the frosting to be)
1/4 cup La Fantasia wine (or any other sweet pink wine)
1/2 cup strawberry puree (puree them in a blender)
For the sugar coated strawberries
14 small/medium size fresh strawberries. Please use ripe strawberries BUT NOT SOFT.
1/2 cup La Fantasia wine (or any other sweet pink wine)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
There are 2 things you need to make first because they need time to cool off or set in the fridge: filling and sugar coated strawberries
For the filling (curd)
1.- Place wine strawberries, wine and ¼ cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium high heat cook for 10 minutes, until the fruit is broken down. You can use a potato mash to break down the strawberries too. Pass the mixture through a sieve and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. We are using a sieve so we can catch all the little seeds or thick skin that didn’t cook.
2.- While the strawberries are cooling, make the egg mixture : In a small saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, butter, cornstarch and remaining sugar. Pour in strawberry mixture and place on medium heat stirring constantly. Allow to cook, continually stirring, until thickened to a custard-like consistency then remove from heat. Pass this mixture through a sieve and allow to cool it completely to room temperature. Place it in the fridge for about 2 hours or more. We are using a sieve here again because we want to catch any leftover yok that did not cook very well.
-Your filling/curd is done, now let’s make the sugar coated strawberries-
For the sugar coated strawberries
1.- Wash your strawberries, dry them with paper towel. Place strawberries in a shallow container and cover them with 1/2 cup of La Fantasia or any other sweet rose wine. Cover the container with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate for 1 hour or 1 hour and a half.
2.- Drain strawberries and lightly dry them. If you want, you can reserve the liquid so you use it for the frosting. Place them on the top of a small baking sheet or shallow dish and roll them in the white granulated sugar. Place them the baking sheet/dish in the freezer until ready to use. Do not leave your strawberries at room temperature because the sugar can melt.
-Your sugar strawberries are done, now let’s make the vanilla cupcakes-
For the cupcakes
1.- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a regular size muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
2.- In a small bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3.- In a big bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes. Then, add sugar slowly and mix in medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one mixing well after each addition.
4.- Add in vanilla. Mix. Add in yogurt. Mix for 1 minute.
5.- Add in dry ingredients and mix in low speed until you don’t see any leftover flour. Be careful to not over mix the batter.
6.- Fill your cupcake liners just until 1/2 full, I like to use an ice cream scoop, it works great. Bake for 20 minutes aprox. or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs.
7.- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then, transfer the cupcakes to a cooking rack to cool completly.
-Cupcakes are done, wait till they are all cooled off and then start with the frosting-
When the cupcakes are all cooled off, using a pairing knife cut the centers so you can fill them with the curd . You should make all this before you start making the frosting. Begin by cutting a small circle on the top , cutting about 2/3 down into the thickness of the cupcake. Be sure to not cut all the way down and take out the core.
Then, fill that hole with the strawberry curd. Just use a small spoon. You won’t need to cover the top of the hole with some of the core you took off. But if you want to, you can do it.
For the frosting
For the frosting you have 2 options: Use fresh strawberry puree or you can cook down the strawberries to get rid of some of the moisture so your frosting is not too runny. If you decide to cook down the strawberries, follow the directions since number 1 otherwise jump to number 3. I decided to cook down the strawberries and my frosting was better than using just fresh strawberries.
1.- Place your strawberries in a blender and puree until creamy. Pass this mixture through a sieve so you can discard the seeeds.
2.- Add the strawberry puree to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and continue cooking to reduce it to 1/4 cup. This will take you about 15 minutes. When your mixture has reduced and thickened pour it into a small container and let it cool, you can place it in the fridge to cool it faster.
3-. When cooled, add the strawberry mixture, heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a large mixer bowl. For the first minute whip in low speed. Add wine (or some of the liquid you reserve from the sugar coated strawberries) and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes and then high speed until the mixture holds nice peaks. Place this mixture in the fridge until you are ready to frost.
4.- Using a piping bag and a tip (I used Wilton 1 M), frost your cupcakes. Place one sugar coated strawberry on the top.
Remember to keep your sugar coated strawberries in the freezer until ready to serve. These cupcakes are the best the same day or the day after that you make them.
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