Bay Scented Strawberry Cupcakes with Balsamic Syrup

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rarely do I ever become truly smitten for a cupcake, but this is one of those times. I've now made this recipe three times in one week. The recipe produces just enough for Rob and me and a few guests, it's relatively easy, and when using the freshest ingredients you can find it produces an ethereal taste.

The bay leaves soak in the milk for a few hours or overnight, allowing their menthy, verdant flavors to permeate the cake. It's very subtle and refreshing with the farmer's market strawberries I've had in my fridge, their little red faces just goading me to use them in a cake. Cream cheese frosting would go well here, but I like seeing the naked strawberry smiling up at me, and the vinegar syrup just has a nice little bit of bite to it to help cut the sweetness.

Really, this cupcake, like a day at the spa, can only be described as invigorating!

Bay Scented Strawberry Cupcakes
makes 15 cupcakes / 350 F oven

What You'll Need...

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 bay leaf
8 fresh strawberries (more or less depending on size)

What You'll Do...
1) Place the milk and bay leaf in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat the milk until bubbles form around the rim. Take off heat and let cool in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

2) Beat butter on high until soft for 30 seconds.

3) Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.

4) Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.

5) Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.

6) Mix in the flour mixture then the milk mixture, alternating between the two and ending with the flour. Chop up 6 of the strawberries and fold them into the batter.

7) Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full. Place an open slice of strawberry on top of the batter, and lightly press it in a bit.

8) Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

Balsamic Reduction Syrup
Place 1 cup of balsamic vinegar (quality can make a real difference here, but I used Safeway brand and it was fine) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously for about 4-6 minutes, until the vinegar has reduced by half. Pour in a glass or ceramic bowl to cool, and continue to stir. Drizzle syrup on plates or over cupcakes.


  1. I don't think I've ever heard a cupcake compared to a day at the spa, but I'm all for refreshing and invigorating!

  2. Oh wow, this sounds so incredibly good!!

  3. Very interesting sounding concept for a cupcake here! It sounds very refreshing on a hot summer's day!

  4. These look and sound heavenly!

  5. What a gorgeous combination of flavors! I may have to try this for a friend's birthday next week - she loves bay and so do I. I'm so happy to have found your site!

  6. I swear, you come up with the best cupcake ideas!

    I'll take two- one for each eye, please!

  7. I tried your chocolate chipotle cupcake & it was great. I will try this one as well as I know you will not stear me wrong.


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