“U” probably won’t be as difficult as some other letters remaining: V and X primarily. (If anyone out there knows of any dessert, candy bar, or any other dish that starts with either of these letters, please leave me a comment!)
My original thought was U-No bar, but then I discovered that they don’t taste very good. A reader suggested Upside Down Cake, but a very popular cupcake shop (Trophy) does these so I didn’t want to go with that either. After extreme googling, I discovered the Union Square, a cocktail created by a famous bartender using New Amsterdam Gin. I thought maybe it didn’t really exist, but then I found another reference. So if it exists twice on the internet, it’s real, right?
If there is a (stolen) photo, then it must be real!
The ingredients for the cocktail:
- 2 oz New Amsterdam Gin
- 2 strawberries
- sprig of basil
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz agave nectar
- 1/2 strawberry for garnish
The strawberries are muddled with the basil until thoroughly crushed. Then the other ingredients are added and the whole mess is shaken and poured over ice. If anyone out there likes gin, let me know how this tastes.
I started off with Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe and added a little lemon and used agave nectar for part of the sugar. I was going to substitute it all, but after tasting the agave (not tasty), I used 1/2 sugar and 1/2 agave. I swear I had lemons in my cart at the grocery store, but somehow they didn’t make it into the kitchen with me, so I used RealLemon juice.
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup strawberry puree (from frozen strawberries)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 3/8 cup milk (I actually used Horizon vanilla flavored milk as that’s what I had on hand)
- 1 tablespoon-ish lemon juice
- 2 egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- 1 & 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- dash of salt
Cream the butter and add the sugar, mixing until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a third container, combine milk, strawberry puree and agave. Add egg whites and whole egg one at a time to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients, then the milk mixture, then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined after each addition. I added the lemon juice to taste at the end. (So far I haven’t died from eating raw cake batter.)
Scoop into lined mini muffin tins and bake for 14 minutes (ish) at 350 degrees. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and the rest of the way on wire racks.
To make the icing, I essentially used the same icing as I used for the Tiramisu cupcake, except I infused the cream with basil. I figured basil is a leaf. Tea is a leaf. I could impart basil flavor without having a leafy icing by making a basil/cream tea. I heated to a simmer 1/2 cup of cream with a few basil leaves added. I let it sit while I made the cupcakes, then fished out the leaves. While the cupcakes cooled, I allowed it to cool in the frig. Once it was chilled, I added it to a container of mascarpone (8 ounces) and roughly 1/2 cup powdered sugar. After I whipped it together, I added a tiny squirt of lime juice to taste. I piped it onto the cupcakes using the tip with a huge hole and garnished 1 of them with a basil leaf. (Unfortunately, my bunch of basil didn’t contain very many small leaves.)
Union Square cupcake
I think this turned out to be a very nice cupcake. All of the flavors are very subtle…just a little hint of strawberry, basil and citrus. The icing is very creamy and not too sweet. It’s definitely not a Kiddie Cupcake, even though it’s tiny. I think this would probably be very nice for afternoon tea.