Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with No Additives or Dyes

Freshly Baked Strawberry Cupcakes

Happy Spring.

I saw this recipe in Relish and it appealed to me because it contains no artificial flavorings or dyes. The cupcakes are not too sweet as they acquire their taste from pureed fresh strawberries.

The pretty pastel pink icing gets color from strawberry jam.

Frosted Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Recipe from



1 1/2 cups small fresh strawberries or large ones cut into halves
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry jam

Strawberry Cupcake Batter


1.    Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2.    Place strawberries in a food processor; process until puréed. You should have 2/3 cup purée.
3.    Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together milk, vanilla, lime juice and 2/3 cup strawberry purée.
4.    Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until well combined and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
5.    Reduce speed to low and slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula until just blended.
6.    Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.
7.    To prepare frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together using an electric mixer. Beat in powdered sugar and jam. Frost tops of cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Debi adds:

I froze some of these to remove the temptation to eat all twelve by myself. The frozen ones tasted just fine after returning to room temperature. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mysterious Entry into Tallahassee's Speakeasy Bar: Alchemy

Restaurant/Bar Review
A Bee's Knees: Drink in Alchemy Speakeasy Bar
A speakeasy bar in Tallahassee, Florida? You bet, but only if you can find it and know the secret word.

First make an online reservation ( and receive a special return message. Arrive at the Midtown Filling Station and pass a storefront of blacked out windows. Then, locate the correct doorman and say the code word. Ours was "Fitzgerald."

You'll be led down a clandestine alleyway to a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper stands before an unmarked door. He explains that Alchemy follows traditional speakeasy etiquette: proper attire, no men in hats, and gentlemen must go through the bartender to ask for an introduction to a lady.

Following the rules is the only way to be admitted into Midtown Tallahassee's Alchemy: a revival speakeasy bar paying homage to those who found a way to circumvent outlawed liquor during Prohibition. A speakeasy is actually defined as,"an establishment that was used for selling and drinking alcoholic beverages during Prohibition (1920-1933, longer in some states), when the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was illegal." The term comes from a patron's manner of ordering alcohol without raising suspicion - a bartender would tell a patron to be quiet and "speak easy".

Once you enter the dimly light room with dark wood paneling, you can relax in comfortable booths with U-shaped leather seating. Knowledgeable bearded alchemists (resembling those famous Smith Brothers on the cigar box) will attend your table and answer questions.

Alchemy was the medieval science aiming to convert base metals into gold. In Tallahassee, alchemists are the bartenders who transform simple, quality substances into superb spirituous concoctions. They handcraft each drink using fresh ingredients, hand squeezed fruit juice and top shelf liquors.

I had a Bee's Knees - a drink made from gin, lemon juice, a smidge of orange juice and local honey.  It wasn't too sweet but certainly didn't have a sour sting. I enjoyed the libation so much, I sipped down two!

When in Tallahassee, Alchemy is a great place for people watching, relaxing with friends after dinner, or a weekend date. Sometimes they offer live music, but on the Saturday night I visited, I heard recorded tunes. Only wish they had kept with the 1920's theme. 

By the way, to exit the bar you go through the moveable bookcase that opens into the courtyard.
1122 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
(850) 727-8803

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.