I'd actually totally forgotten about these! I made them a while ago, but surprisingly they never ended up on the blog. So for your eye feasting pleasure...
Sincere Strawberry Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 pkg (10-12 ounces) frozen strawberries, defrosted or fresh strawberries (please see specific instructions for below)
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
If you're using fresh strawberries: First, rinse the berries really well and remove the stems. Quarter or rough chop them them into a bowl and add a few tablespoons of water and mix to coat. Then add a tablespoon or two of sugar (enough to coat the surface) and mix to coat again. Cover and refrigerate the berries for several hours or better yet, overnight.
If you're using frozen strawberries: Put the defrosted strawberries into a bowl and cover them with the sugar, mixing well to coat them. Let the strawberries sit on the counter for at least an hour to macerate (best to do this the night before or early in the day).
Once they are soft and mushy, use a fork to mash the strawberries. Be careful not to mash them too much (you want there to be some chucks). Place the berries in a mesh strainer and drain as much of the juice that you can. Reserve the juice.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with baking cups.
In medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer for 3 minutes. It should be very pale yellow and and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix for 1 full minute on medium-low speed (no cheating! :) ) - be sure to scrape down the bowl a few times to ensure that everything is mixing together properly. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix again for 30 seconds.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, in 3 batches, starting with the flour. Be sure to mix well after each addition and scrape the bowl down every so often.
Mix in the strawberries on low speed plus 1/4 cup of the strawberry juice. Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake for 21-23 minutes. The surface of the cupcakes should spring back when touched and just a little brown. You can also test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake comes out with just a few pieces of cake clinging to it. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
Frosting: Basic Butter Cream. Use a stick of softened butter, and slowly beat in a box of powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup of strawberry blend until it forms stiff peaks.
Topping: I just added mini chocolate chips. I thought I was going to get brave & melt the chocolate and actually DIP the cupcakes in, but my frosting ended up being a little too wet for the situation & I'd run out of powdered sugar.