This morning when I got Madeline dressed, I gave her a choice between a pink t-shirt emblazoned with lots of mini cupcakes and an orange t-shirt with a big brown monkey on it. Knowing how much she loves both, I thought she might be torn, but she went straight for the cupcake shirt without hesitation. That’s my girl!
As I was dressing her, I told her that we haven’t made cupcakes in awhile. Not since the Fourth of July ones. And I haven’t written about cupcakes since May. I know. I didn’t quite believe it myself. Madeline and I decided then and there, right on the changing table at 7:45 am this morning, that we’re going to make cupcakes this week.
In the meantime, I can tell you about these Pretty in Pink Strawberry Cupcakes we made recently from Anne Byrn’s Cupcakes! cookbook. I’m still working my way through that one, and with strawberries in season, it was the perfect time to make these. They were so good, they actually hit our kitchen twice in two weeks. Once was to celebrate The Girlfriend‘s sixth birthday. I know! Six! Already! What six-year-old year old girl doesn’t want a pink cupcake with a princess crown on it, right?
The recipe might look long, but I promise you, it’s easy and looks longer than it is. Anne just tends to explain things in a little more detail, that’s all. Ten minutes and it’s in the oven. The addition of the fresh strawberries make for really moist cupcakes, and it’s a perfect way to celebrate the seasonal fruit. I didn’t use her frosting recipe, instead going with my own tried-and-true buttercream frosting recipe. Either way you go, you can’t go wrong. Dig in!
Pretty in Pink Strawberry Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of Anne Byrn
1 package (18-1/4 oz) cake mix, plain white or yellow
1 package (3 oz) strawberry gelatin
1 cup finely chopped, fresh strawberries, with juice, from 1-1/2 cups whole berries
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, reduced-fat, at room temperature
4 tablespoon(s) (1/2 stick) butter, unsalted, at room temperature
3 cup(s) (up to 3 1/2 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup(s) (fresh) strawberries, mashed and drained (3/4 cup hulled berries)
sprinkles, pink and white, for garnish (optional)
24 slice(s) strawberry, for garnish (optional)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Combine the cake mix, gelatin, strawberries and juice, milk, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down sides again if needed. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it 3/4 full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove empty liners, if any.). Place pans side by side in the oven. Bake until cupcakes are lightly golden and spring back when pressed gently with a finger, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, place pans on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to wire racks to cool for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare frosting: Blend cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl with electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add 3 cups confectioners’ sugar and the mashed strawberries. Mix on low speed until incorporated, 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and blend until frosting is fluffy, 30 to 45 seconds longer, adding up to 1/2 cup more sugar if needed to get a spreadable consistency.
Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with back of spoon. Refrigerate, uncovered, until frosting sets, 20 minutes. Decorate with sprinkles and strawberry slices, if desired.