Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Makes 2 dozen

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 large egg whites, room temperature

2 dozen fresh small strawberries or 1 dozen medium strawberries, cut into wedges

1 cup whipped cream

1/2 cup strawberry jam

*special equipment: 1 mini muffin pan 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Prepare mini muffin pan by greasing with butter, lightly dust with flour and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until pale and creamy. Gradually add confectioners sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low.

Add flour mixture to butter in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture and starting and ending with the flour. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into flour mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites in two batches, being careful not to deflate the whites. 

Transfer to a pastry bag or with a small spoon add batter into prepared tins, filling cups to about 1/2 inch from the tops. Finish with a fresh strawberry on top of each cupcake mold. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean, 13-16 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting each cake into two layers. Fill each cupcake bottom with 1 teaspoon strawberry jam and 1 teaspoon whipped cream. Top with top and dust lightly with confectioners sugar.