Strawberry {Basil} Cupcakes

Today was a seriously dreary day in Charlotte.  It's been raining all day (although, literally as I type this the sun decides to come out and make me a big, fat liar).  I decided it would be a perfect day to work on a cupcake recipe with a flavor combination that has intrigued me for awhile.  

Strawberry + Basil.  

I've seen it on tv and in recipes and after going strawberry picking this past Friday, it seemed like just the thing I needed to finally give a try.  Let me put a disclaimer here though - for those of you who are not quite sure about strawberry and basil - simply omit the basil infusion process, and use plain milk in your recipe.  

Pinterest was a wonderland of strawberry and basil recipes - so I was reassured to know that even while sounding strange, it IS a popular combination of flavors.  I finally narrowed down the one I wanted to try - found at Nutmegs, Seven.  

I guess I was in the mood for a challenge - the recipe itself comes from someone in the UK - so the measurements were in grams and millileters.  And, after I read the recipe over I knew there were some adjustments I wanted to make.  But seriously, I love the challenge of reworking a recipe - especially on the kind of day where you don't want to leave the house.  Plus, the recipe said it made 6 cupcakes!  I actually got 9 out of it, but I was loving the idea of not having 24 cupcakes sitting around the house, taunting me.

The cupcakes themselves were easy once I converted all the measurements over.   I deliberated long and hard over the frosting for these cupcakes though, and am really happy with the final result and how they turned out.  

If you feel brave and adventurous in the kitchen like me (you do, you do, you really really do...) check out my changes, substitutions and conversions below!

- The first thing I added to the cupcake recipe was a fresh strawberry puree.  Since there was no strawberry in the original cupcake, I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around a basil flavored cupcake.  I really wanted the strawberry to be in there too.

- The original recipe calls for castor sugar, which is the same as superfine sugar here in the US.  I just took raw turbinado sugar and ground it up in my coffee grinder.  I think granulated sugar in a food processor or coffee grinder would work just as well too.


- Then I nixed the original frosting recipe.  Once again, there were no strawberries in the frosting and I really felt like the cupcake would need the sweetness from the strawberry so it wouldn't taste like a dinner biscuit.  I thought about strawberry meringue, strawberry buttercream - but in the end, it was just a strawberry whipped cream that I thought would add the right amount of sweetness and strawberry flavor without overpowering the cupcake.

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Cream Frosting

1 c. cake flour (like Swans Down)
3/4 c. superfine sugar 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tblsp butter or butter substitute
1/2 c. milk or non dairy milk
1 egg
bunch of basil {optional}
2/3 c. fresh strawberry puree
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. confectioners sugar
4 tblsp of strawberry puree


{Optional: if you dare!} Bring 1/2 c. milk and roughly torn basil leaves to a boil on the stove.  Remove, and let sit for 1 hour so the basil has time to infuse the milk.  Strain milk through mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove basil.  

Preheat oven to 335 degrees.

Take some fresh strawberries, wash them, remove the stems, and throw them in the food processor until they become a thick, seedy liquid.  Set aside.
Sift or mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in a bowl or stand mixer.  Add 1 egg and the {basil infused} milk.  Mix together, then fold in your strawberry puree.  

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.  Makes approximately 9 cupcakes.  When cupcakes are done, let cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes and then remove from tin and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

To make the frosting: 

1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons food processed strawberries (take some fresh strawberries, wash them, remove the stems, and throw them in the food processor until they become a thick, seedy liquid)

Whip cream with a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment.  Whip for 3-4 minutes on medium speed, or until it begins to form soft peaks and looks like whipped cream.
Mix in powdered sugar.
Mix in strawberries until just combined.

Frost cupcakes, and garnish as desired.  

Cupcake recipe adapted from Nutmegs, Seven and the frosting recipe is from Cupcake Project

The end result?  A fluffy, light and sweet little cupcake with just a hint of savory.  And who could possibly find anything not to like about a strawberry whipped cream frosting?  

So - what do you think?  Weird or yummy?  And what's your favorite off the wall flavor combination?


Cupcake liners from Pick Your Plum, straws from Mindy Mae's Market.