As a chocolate advocate, my idea of a sweet treat is far from anything fruity or pink. But after devouring more than a few of these light cakes filled with fresh strawberry sauce and topped with a tangy strawberry–cream cheese frosting, I can say this dainty dessert is fit for little girls and boys, grown women, and burly dudes alike.
Game plan: You will need to use paper cupcake liners, or the jam will stick to the inside of the muffin wells no matter how thoroughly you butter them!
If your oven is too small to fit 2 (12-well) muffin pans side by side, you can arrange the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Bake as directed, rotating the pans between the racks halfway through the cooking time. You also may need to bake the cupcakes 1 or 2 minutes longer.
1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (12-well) muffin pans with paper cupcake liners; set aside.
2Place the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
3Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light in color and airy, about 3 minutes.
4Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, add the egg whites 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Next add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5On low speed, slowly add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined (the mixture will look curdled). Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds.
6Fill each muffin well about three-quarters full. Using a spoon, create a small indentation in the batter by slightly spreading it from the middle out toward the edges. Measure 1 heaping teaspoon of the strawberry sauce and place the back of the teaspoon inside the indentation. Rotate the spoon, letting the sauce slide into the indentation. Repeat in each well.
7Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Set the pans on wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely on the wire racks before frosting.