Like any good culinarian, this got me jonesing for warmer weather things. Like sunset runs and day-drinking and taking my shoes off in absolutely any presence of grass.
It also got me excited for summer fruits. And flavors. And the sweet sweet magic that occurs when you combine sugar and berries and put them in the oven.
These cakes are a product of that.
Roasted strawberry cupcakes with sweet basil-vanilla bean buttercream and balsamic-basil candy on top.
They're like any other strawberry cupcakes...except better. And more exotic. First, I tossed good ripe strawberries with a little sugar, olive oil and coarse sea salt and roasted them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. I mixed these into the batter of a normal strawberry cupcake recipe that's never failed me in the past. For the buttercream, I steeped basil with sea salt, sugar and milk for 10 minutes, strained it through cheesecloth, and used it in my standard vanilla bean buttercream recipe. And balsamic basil candy? Just reduce a little maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and dried basil in a pan until it bubbles, and turn it out onto parchment to cool, before breaking up and sprinkling on top.
We might be a little premature in saying that summer has in fact arrived prior to June 21. After all, the days still have to get even longer and the sunsets need to turn a little more gold until I can proclaim it the fairest of the seasons. But my god, if these days are any indication of what we have to come. I. Can't. Wait.