I thought that today I'd go with something that has completely stress-free substitutions. Not all of us are bakers, and even among those of us who are, there are some days when you just want to go with something that takes a little less effort. For this recipe, prepare two dozen vanilla cupcakes. You can do this with your own recipe, of course, or just buy a box of cake mix at the supermarket and whip those up. If you do want to do things from scratch and don't already have a favorite, I'll include one below, but rest assured, these are equally delicious whether they're completely homemade or whether you cheated a little. Likewise, strawberry jam or even a fresh strawberry can be substituted for the gelée, and rather than whipping up a frosting? Just buy a tub of whipped topping! You can easily mix and match as well - these cupcakes are very forgiving and super delicious. I thought that I wouldn't have a source, but luckily when searching for a photo, I stumbled across the site where I originally found the recipe for the filling and frosting! It can be found here
. Unfortunately, the vanilla cupcake source has long since been lost to me. Without further rambling - I mean, ado - here are today's treats!
Day 4 : Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour (bleached all-purpose flour will work fine, but the cupcakes will not be quite as light)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup canola oil (vegetable or extra light olive oil also work)
1 cup buttermilk (see here
for an easy substitution]
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set flour mix aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs with the whisk attachment on medium speed (15-20 seconds).
4. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed (30 seconds).
5. Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed (1 minute).
6. Reduce mixer speed to medium/low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mix and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. The batter should be thin.
7. Pour batter into lined muffin pan. Fill to about 1/2 full.
8. Bake for 12 -14 minutes at 350°F. Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove and cool fully.
Strawberry Gelée: Ingredients
1 cup strawberry puree
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup diced, fresh strawberries
1. Heat puree and sugar in a small saucepan just until it begins to bubble, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.
2. Put water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Add fruit puree mixture to the bowl and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
4. Stir in diced strawberries and chill until set.
Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting: Ingredients
1/4 cup softened butter
1 8-ounce container mascarpone, at room temperature
1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, pureed
2 tbsp strawberry jam
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1. Cream butter, mascarpone and cream cheese together in an electric mixer until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the strawberries and jam. Mix until combined.
3. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until the frosting has the sweetness and consistency you desire. If your frosting is not stiff enough to pipe, add more powdered sugar.
4. Chill until ready to use.
1. Because of the nature of the gelée, filling these cupcakes is most easily done through the removal of a cone-shaped section of the cupcake, as described yesterday. Slice into the cupcake at roughly a 45* angle, carve out a circular cone and cut off the tip to leave yourself with a lid of sorts.
2. Spoon the gelée into the resulting hole and replace the lid.
3. Ice the cupcakes, either by piping on or slathering them with a generous coat of your nummy frosting, and garnish with leftover strawberries.
4. If you're using jam and/or whipped topping, there's nothing that needs to be done differently here. These are super easy to assemble and take a heck of a lot less time than making a layer cake - just carve, fill, replace (if you're using a strawberry, you likely wouldn't even need to replace the lid), ice and enjoy!