Do you have a flavor combination that piques your curiosity, yet you’re not brave enough to make it?
I certainly do.
It’s the blending of strawberries and balsamic vinegar or strawberries and basil. Sure it’s acceptable in salads. However, in desserts?
To be honest, I didn’t know anything about it until last year. I saw a cupcake recipe on Pinterest.
What I needed was an introduction to appease my mind and palate.
As luck would have it, I didn’t need to go far – Something Sweet by Serina in Riverside, California. Their Flavor of the Month was Strawberry Basil Balsamic Cupcake. It’s a strawberry cake with strawberry filling, topped with strawberry basil buttercream and a drizzle of basil balsamic reduction.
I hadn’t been there since my first visit, last fall. But I couldn’t think of a better reason to return.
The block of Main Street was quiet after lunchtime, so was the Something Sweet by Serina shop. An associate was happy to answer my questions and explain the intricacies of their creation during my visit.
The cream is steeped with sweet basil leaves, strained, and then used for their buttercream frosting. Basil is also added to the balsamic reduction.
Captivated by the details, I paid the $4.25 without hesitation. My gut said this cupcake was going to be worth it.
That night, the smell of balsamic vinegar greeted me as I removed the cupcake from its container. Potent and obvious, it made me pause.
However, once the cupcake was exposed to more air, the scent dissipated. Now, I could approach and take a mouthful.
The strawberry cake was flavorful and incredibly moist. It didn’t need enhancements like filling or frosting. The buttercream was silky smooth. Its subtle basil essence was in the finish.
The balsamic vinegar was an effective way to offset the sugared strawberry filling. It kept the frosting and overall cupcake from being too sweet.
No doubt had the strawberries been seasoned with basil or coated in balsamic vinegar, the experience would’ve been different. Nonetheless, I was pleased with my initiation and consumed every crumb.
Something Sweet by Serina has soothed my doubts and expanded my comfort zone. Next time I see such a recipe, I may have some baking to do.