02 June 2012

The Back In The Day Cookbook

The one place I had to visit while I was in Savannah was the Back In The Day bakery.  Just before I left for my trip, my copy of The Back In The Day Cookbook arrived which made me all the more excited to visit.  I was really hoping to run into owners Griffith and Cheryl Day.  Cheryl Day's grandmother, like mine, is from Alabama and taught her many of the homey and delicious recipes in the cookbook.  

But, of course, they were out and about touring with their cookbook and the very second I was getting lavender shortbreads, they were in New York City on the Martha Stewart show.  (Check out Cheryl making coconut cake with Martha here.) 

This book is homey and fun.  It is the exact collection of recipes that you will want to pass on to your children and grandchildren.  There is no foam, agar agar, or agave syrup.  There is a lot of confectioners' sugar, butter and vanilla extract.  And mostly, a lot of love.  On these pages you will find pies and puddings, cakes and more cakes, and an occasional Easy-Bake Oven.  

 If there is a fault (and this may just be my personal bias) it is the constant repetition of information in the recipes like the constant use of the phrase "at room temperature."   Bakers know to bring eggs, milk and butter to room temperature before baking.  Putting in repeatedly in the recipe, I find, a bit distracting and over-kill.  I blame the editor.

Here is a great, fruity cupcake for your summer indulgences.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/3 cups pureed fresh strawberries (from about 2 cups whole strawberries)
1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 egg whites, at room temperature

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the strawberry puree, milk, vanilla and, lemon zest.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer) cream the butter on medium-high heat until light in color.  Turn the speed down to low and gradually add the sugar, mixing for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is completely incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.  Add eggs and whites one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating the strawberry mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed.  With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling each one about two-thirds full. Bake cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting

1 pound  (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
Two 1-pound boxes (8 cups) confectioners, sugar
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 cup whole strawberries)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer) beat the butter, lemon juice, and fleur de sel on low speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the strawberries puree, mixing until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.  

 I can't wait to make these with my strawberry haul. 

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