Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strawberry Filled Easter Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Easter is such a wonderful time!  It's all about rebirth, new beginnings and celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Spring has sprung (well, usually, this year it's crazy cold) plus it's crawfish season.  So many fantastic things to revel in this time of year.  We have yet another reason to celebrate this week, my goddaughter's birthday.  She just turned three and we are combining a birthday party with our Easter get-together.  Since she is a three year old girl, she loves pink, anything and everything pink.  So, I am making strawberry-filled cupcakes with cream cheese icing that I will, of course, color pink.

Usually, when I need to bring cupcakes somewhere, I cover a box with aluminum foil to carry them.  (I know, not the cutest look in the world)  So, I asked my daughter to go out and find me something fun to transport cupcakes.  She came home with this:

How cute is this?  I cannot wait to show up with this at my goddaughter's party.  She will be in pink heaven.

Now, here's how to make the cupcakes:

A quick note on how to make a boxed cake mix taste like it's from scratch:  Add an extra egg (if the box says 3, use 4) and replace the water with milk (if it's a chocolate cake you can even use chocolate milk).

*Here's a hint to help you make moister, more delicious cupcakes - let your ingredients come to room temperature.  Measure out your milk and leave it out on the counter, along with the eggs, for about a half hour.  This isn't necessary, but really helps!


1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (I use canola oil)

2 pints strawberries
6 heaping TBS sugar
4 TBS water
2 TBS cornstarch

1 8oz block cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring

The first thing you need to do is prepare the strawberries for the filling.  Clean the strawberries and slice them.  Put them in a bowl and sprinkle the sugar on top.  Let them sit so the juices comes out and they break down a little, at least 20 minutes (this can be done the day before and kept covered in the fridge).

To make the cupcakes:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin tins with liners.  Place cake mix, eggs, milk and oil in a large bowl.  Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until just combined.  Then, mix on medium for a full 2 minutes.  Use a small ice cream scoop to fill cupcake liners (that's a great way to make them all even).  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine took 17 minutes.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, make the filling.  Place the prepared strawberries (including the juice) in a small pot.  Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until completely dissolved.

Pour the cornstarch mixture into the boiling strawberries.  Stir.  Bring back to a full rolling boil, then lower heat and simmer until thick (only takes a few minutes or so).

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, scoop out the middle of each cooled cupcake using a melon baller or small spoon.

Once the filling has cooled down, spoon it into each cupcake.

Finally, frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese icing.  Here's how you make it:

Place softened butter and cream cheese in mixer bowl.  Beat on high to cream them together and get them fluffy.

Add in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix slowly to incorporate then switch to high to whip until it's a spreadable consistency.
Tint the color you want by adding in drops of food coloring and mixing until you reach the desired color.  I went with pink.

Here's what the finished cupcakes look like:

And here is what the inside looks like (brace yourself for the deliciousness):

Oh my word!  It's like strawberry shortcake had a baby with a cheesecake.  They are beyond delicious.  There is not a word that is yummy enough to describe these.  You'll just have to make them and taste for yourself.

Happy Easter!

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