Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strawberry Cupcakes and a Sweet Send-Off

I started my journey at Fox59 two years ago as an intern. Every Friday I drove from Bloomington to Indianapolis at 1 a.m. to shadow the morning reporters during the AM show. On my first day I was assigned to tag along with Michael Henrich.

My first impression of Michael was that of amazement – I could not believe how much energy he had at 3 in the morning (this was before my coffee days)!!! Over the next few months I continued to shadow under Michael, and even though it was exhausting to drive to Indy in the middle of the night it was definitely worth it to be able to learn from him.

Not only did I learn about being in front of the camera and writing stories, but I also learned about how you can use journalism as a platform to really help people.

In July 2013, I got a full-time job at Fox59, and I became Michael’s co-worker. He has been a wonderful friend the past two years, and he has continued to mentor me and help me grow as a journalist.

Michael’s caring attitude is inspiring, and he really is just as genuine in person as he appears on TV.

Today is Michael’s last day as a reporter in Indy. He is starting a new job at Fox25 in Boston next week. And even though he will be greatly missed by all of his co-workers and fans here in Indiana, I am so incredibly excited for him and his family!

So of course, in order to properly celebrate his last day I made my favorite Sweet Strawberry Cupcakes. I also took some new pictures for this post with my new camera, and they are a big improvement from my last iPhone photo shoot.

Sweet Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes
·         1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         1 large egg
·         3/4 cup milk
·         1/4 cup strawberry yogurt
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 and 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·         1/4 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         5 large strawberries (fresh or frozen)

For the Cupcakes
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.     Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
3.     In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
4.     Remove bowl from microwave and stir in sugar.
5.     Stir in egg, milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract until combined.
6.     In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
7.     Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and slowly mix until no lumps remain. Set aside.
8.     Put strawberries in a food processor and pulse until strawberries become a chunky puree. You should have about 1/3 cup.
9.     Add the strawberry puree to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and fold it in.
10.  Divide the batter among the 12 cupcake liners.
11.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
12.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Now that you’ve made the cupcakes, choose from either the strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe of the strawberry buttercream recipe to frost them!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
·         8 ounces strawberry cream cheese, softened to room temperature
·         1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
·         3 cups confectioners' sugar
·         2 tablespoons heavy cream
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         1/4 teaspoon salt

1.     In a medium bowl beat the strawberry cream cheese and the butter together on medium speed for 3 minutes.
2.     Add 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined
3.     Add another 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar and beat again
4.     Continue process until you’ve added and beaten all the confectioners’ sugar
5.     Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt
6.     Beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
·         1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
·         1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
·         1/3 cup strawberry preserves
·         4 cups confectioners’ sugar
·         2 tablespoons heavy cream
·         1/2 teaspoon salt

1.     Beat butter and vanilla together for 2 minutes
2.     Add strawberry jam and beat for another 2 minutes
3.     Add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined
4.     Add another 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and beat again
5.     Continue process until you’ve added and beaten all the confectioners’ sugar
6.     Add the heavy cream and salt
7.     Beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes

1.     It may seem silly to beat the butter for so long in the frosting recipes, but it’s completely necessary. It makes the frosting fluffy and ensures that you don’t end up with chunks of butter when biting into your cupcake.
2.     The amount of confectioners’ sugar in a frosting recipe controls the thickness of the frosting. If you think your frosting is too thin or if it isn't holding shape just add more confectioners’ sugar.

Goodbye, Michael! (Not sure why Intern Kylee was holding a banana)

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