Ok – finally got around to watching The Bachelorette last night. I had a lot to do – I worked late, I had to go to the grocery store, bake cupcakes, go to the gym, and deal with 4 loads of clean laundry that have sat unfolded for about 5 days, taking over my entire living room. Fortunately, most of the episode required little to no attention because it was essentially just listening to Desiree cry obnoxiously, so I was able to do chores and just have it on in the background. Now, we knew Brooks was the frontrunner several weeks ago. Yet we still had to go through this charade of watching Des continue to date the two other men. It was so bizarre to see her go on dates with them and discuss their compatibility, only to hear her later in the episode say things like ‘if Brooks got on one knee tonight and proposed, I would say yes’. I guess she is on contract to like finish the entire season or something?
Anyways, they start the episode with a huge lead up to some crazy shocking event that’s going to occur, resulting in a crying Des who whines that she just wants to go home. I’ve noticed they always start the episodes with about 20 minutes of previews of the same episode, probably because they realize that if someone just started watching the show without the big buildup, they would change the channel after about 30 seconds of misery. This week, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Brooks was going to tell Des he wasn’t that into her, and leave the show. Which is exactly what happened. It was rather painful to watch, actually. Before he tells Des, you see him speaking to his family and saying things like ‘when I think about proposing to her after this is over, I don’t know, I just feel uncomfortable’. MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE YOU’VE KNOWN HER FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES BROOKS! What sane human WOULDN’T feel strange about proposing to someone they barely know, who has been dating other men during your entire relationship??? I don’t know why I bother….every time I watch this show I try to rationalize things but just end up wanting to claw my eyes out with frustration at the concept. I can’t even commit to changing my facebook relationship status after dating a guy for 6 weeks, let alone accepting/making a proposal. I thought this was the season finale but apparently Des’ love life is so thrilling that they needed to expand the finale into a 4 hour, 2 week long spectacle. I think this is unnecessary, seeing as we spent about 50% of this week’s episode just watching her cry while Brooks apologized over and over. ONE MORE WEEK PEOPLE – then we can move on with our lives (and look forward to The Bachelor!).
Now onto the recipe. I have a ton of amazing and supportive friends at my CrossFit gym. They celebrate with me when I achieve a PR, happily volunteer their time to help me learn a skill I have trouble with, and are there for me with incredible support when I struggle in a workout or competition. Today is the birthday of one of these very friends from my daily 7am class, so I knew I couldn’t let the occasion pass without cooking up a new special treat. He told me he prefers fruit-based desserts to chocolate, which is right up my alley. This recipe is a bit finicky but the final product is definitely worth it – they got a great reception from all the 7am crew this morning!I imagine you could substitute blueberries or raspberries for the strawberries – and I will be attempting a lemon version very soon.
1 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 cups finely ground almond meal
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup raw honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup strawberries, finely chopped
2 egg whites
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp strawberries, finely chopped
12-15 strawberries, halved
Preheat your oven to 325 and line a muffin tin with baking cups. Combine all the wet cupcake ingredients (but NOT the strawberries!) in a food processor and blend on low for about 20 seconds, until frothy. Add all the dry ingredients and continue to blend on low for another 20-30 seconds, until the mixture is very smooth and there are no lumps. DO NOT OVERBLEND! You will end up with incredibly dense cupcakes, instead of the moist fluffy goodness you want.
Gently fold the strawberries into your batter. Fill your muffin tins with the batter, about 3/4 of the way to the top. This recipe should give you exactly enough to fill a tin of 12 muffin cups. Bake for approx. 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and springy to touch. You can try the toothpick test here too, but I found that my toothpicks would still come out wet – the strawberries in the cupcakes make them very moist inside. Cool the cupcakes completely before icing – maybe go to the gym while you wait – that’s what I always do.
For your icing, heat your honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. While this is cooking, whisk your egg whites and lemon juice in a large, very clean bowl until frothy. Note: your meringue will not set if your bowl is at all dirty or greasy. Wiping down the bowl with a bit of vinegar on a paper towel should entire it’s totally clean.
Very slowly add the hot honey into the bowl, while continuing to beat the egg whites. Continue to whisk vigorously for another 8-10 minutes – until the meringue is completely opaque, cool to the touch, and holds it’s form. It is possible to over-whisk here so be careful. You can also use an electric mixer if you don’t feel like having the world’s most taxing forearm/bicep workout from mixing by hand – but I’m old school and never use one (also mine is broken).
Mash the chopped strawberries until they have a jam-like consistency. Gently fold them into the meringue. Use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes in whatever design you choose.
I can’t get enough of strawberries, so I also garnished my cupcakes with halved strawberries and I think it made all the difference. Garnish with as much/little fresh fruit as you like.
Source: adapted from a recipe from Against All Grain