Saturday, April 6, 2013

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting with Strawberry Compote

Frosting is one of my weaknesses. I love a good frosting! You can transform a good or even a mediocre cake into something delicious with the right frosting. I have to thank my Aunt Karen and my cousin, Cheri, for the recipe. They made chocolate cupcakes with a version of this frosting and I fell in love. The recipe was originally made with raspberry extract, but I modified it a little and used strawberry extract. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use any extract you want and it will taste great.

I made chocolate cupcakes for my birthday and I thought a strawberry frosting would be awesome because I was craving chocolate dipped strawberries when deciding what to make. I love using extracts in baking and I wanted an even more potent strawberry flavor so I opted to add a compote to the frosting. What is a compote you ask? It's basically a fancy French word for fruit that has been boiled down and reduced in water and sugar with or without spices. When you made a compote, it basically concentrates the flavor of whatever fruit you are using. You cook it down until it's a jam-like consistency, so it's perfect for adding flavor to frostings or cakes because most of the moisture is evaporated and you are left with an intense fruit flavor. I also loved how fresh it made this frosting taste. I prefer using a compote rather than a fruit puree because the flavor isn't as strong with a puree and you also have to worry about excess moisture. If you don't want to take the time to make a compote, you could use a couple tablespoons of fruit puree, just know that it won't be as strong of a fruit flavor. Or you could even use a tablespoon or two of a seedless jam preserve. You can use almost any fresh or frozen berries for a compote. I opted for frozen because this is not the peak season for strawberries and frozen would be a better choice for getting more full-flavored berries. This frosting is also very sweet, so I'd make sure to use it with a cake flavor that will balance that out.

Now about extracts. Finding a good extract that doesn't taste artificial is hard to find. I love baking with extracts, but sometimes it takes some work to find good ones. I used strawberry extract from Beanilla. The quality for price can't be beat and the flavor is amazing! It tastes like fresh strawberries and it enhanced the strawberry compote perfectly.

Here's what you need to make the compote:
-1 pint of fresh or frozen strawberries *If using fresh strawberries, you will need to add some water to bottom of pan to prevent burning
-Juice from one medium lemon
-2-3 TBS vanilla sugar (or you can use agave, honey, or regular table sugar)

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This may take more or less time. Just make sure you pay attention to the liquid. You want the mixture to look thick like jam. Remove from heat and cool slightly before adding to cake batter. You want it to be cooled entirely before adding to frosting so that it doesn't melt the fat in your frosting. When I made this compote the strawberries were broken down enough that I didn't need to put it into a blender or food processor. If you want a smoother consistency, blend it until smooth before adding to your frosting.

*Note: You will not use all the compote for your frosting. You can also put the rest into whatever cake batter you are using if you want a more intense strawberry flavor.

Here's what you need for the frosting: This will bake enough to frost 24 cupcakes or frost and fill (1) 9-in. round cake.

-1/2 C butter, room temp
-8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
-4 oz. white chocolate chips, melted
-1 tsp. vanilla
-2-4 tsp. strawberry extract (may need more depending on the quality of your berries used for the compote)
-1/2 C strawberry compote, room temp
-4-5 C powdered sugar
-2-3 drops of food coloring, optional

1. Using a standing or hand mixer, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Turn off mixer and add melted chocolate. To melt chocolate, melt over a double-boiler, use a chocolate melter or microwave in 30 second intervals on 30% power. Immediately whip to incorporate. It's important to add the chocolate all at once because if you try incorporating it slowly, it will solidify and make lumps in the frosting.

2. After chocolate is incorporated, add butter and whip for another minute. Add vanilla, strawberry extract, compote and food coloring if desired. Stir until incorporated. Add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated and then whip an additional minute so that frosting is light and fluffy.

Use to fill or frost cakes or cupcakes. This frosting will store for about a week in the fridge in an airtight container. If you use frosting after refrigeration, allow to come to room temp and whip until frosting is fluffy.

Here is the printable recipe.

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

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