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Fun Halloween Treat: Strawberry Ghost Cupcakes!

A fun strawberry Halloween treat created by the California Strawberry Commission.

OK, we admit it: We love to have a little extra fun with California strawberries during the holidays. This year we decided on topping cupcakes, made with fresh strawberries, with darling little ghosts. If you don't read anything else in this post, I want you to know that this is the BEST frosting to use for almost any cake or cupcake - especially these little ghosts. Not only is it delicious meringue frosting, but it sets really nicely and is easy to pipe!

If you've never worked with meringue frosting, don't worry, it's totally easy if you just remember a couple things:

- Wipe down the mixing bowl and attachments with vinegar to clean thoroughly.
- Be patient while the frosting is mixing - I mixed for about 10-15 minutes altogether.

That's it! You will love the creamy and smooth texture, and so will your kids!

We wish you and your family a fun Halloween. Let us know if you have any questions about the recipe - or strawberries in general!

Ingredients

For Cupcakes
6- 8 large strawberries, mashed
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Buttercream Merinque Frosting
4 egg whites, room temperature
3 sticks butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line cupcake pans with colorful cupcake liners.
In small sauce pan, on medium heat, cook strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar for about five minutes until mixture resembles jam. It should yield about 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool.
In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In small mixing bowl, stir together milk and strawberry mixture.
In bowl of stand mixer, using whisk attachment, beat butter til creamy and pale yellow (about 3 minutes); add 1 cup of sugar and continue to beat another few minutes until sugar is fully incorporated.
Using paddle attachment, beat in eggs, one at a time; then vanilla extract. Scrape down sides and beat another minute.
Add half the flour mixture until incorporated, followed by the strawberry mixture. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until just blended.
Fill cupcake liners, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top and bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out dry. Let cool.

For Buttercream Merinque Icing:
Fill small pot with a few inches of water and bring to boil. In stand mixing bowl, add egg whites, granulated sugar and stir. Place over pot (to heat bottom of bowl) and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch, about 4 minutes.
Return bowl to mixer, making sure you do not get any moisture from the water in the bowl or mixture. Beat with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form, about 3-6 minutes.
Add butter, one stick at a time, and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla extract. 
Add confectioner's sugar and beat another 5 minutes.

For Ghosts:

Use piping bag and round tip (I used 1M round Wilton tip).

Hold decorating bag straight up and pipe icing in center of the cupcake. Squeeze and move tip in circular motions for about four turns; lift tip up and away to create the peak.

Dot eyes with dark icing.

For more strawberry recipes, visit www.californiastrawberries.com or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/castrawberries.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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