15 April 2013

Hello Springtime!! Strawberry Cupcakes

I'm hoping that Spring is officially here.  I thought it was a couple of weeks ago; the daffodils bloomed, the temperature got above the forties, and I finally got to go to work without a sweater or coat.  Then the cold came back with some sort of fury -- it was cold, rainy, dreary, and just plain wintry.  This weekend gave me hope.  The weather was downright beautiful.  I took the boys fishing. My three year old caught his first fish.  The fish was so very, very tiny, but he was very, very proud.  

These are the cupcakes I make every year when Spring finally arrives.  They are essentially strawberry shortcake in handheld form.  There's the very, very, very strawberry cupcakes.  You don't have to have perfect strawberries for these cupcakes.  You can usually find decent ones at the store all year long now.  If anything, get the package that might be just a little past its prime.  You're gonna pulverize the heck out of them, so they don't need to be beautiful.  
Don't diss my frosting.  It's delicious.  It's basically a stabilized whipped cream, since it doesn't deflate in minutes.  It's just a stabilized whipped cream that totally not real whipped cream, but it is so delicious.  No one can ever guess what's in it and no one ever stops eating it once they find out what's in it (even my food snob friends) because it's just that good.

Chop up a pound of strawberries very roughly and throw them in the mixer bowl.

Pour in the package of gelatin (yes, gelatin) and beat it on medium until the strawberries are pretty well destroyed.  They'll still be really chunky and that's okay.

Throw in the rest of the ingredients and beat it all up.  Scoop the batter into your cupcake tins.  I like to use my ice cream scoop.  When it's not quite full, then it's about the perfect batter scoop size.

The batter is the loveliest shade of pink.  I love that you can see the chunks of berries in there, too.

Mix the pudding mix (yes, pudding mix) and a cup of milk until it's quite thick, but still smooth and well blended.

Fold the pudding mixture and whipped topping together and pop that into the fridge while your cupcakes are baking and cooling.

Strawberry Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

for the cupcakes:
1 lb strawberries, roughly chopped
1 pkg strawberry flavor gelatin
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

for the frosting:
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup milk
2 small or 1 large container whipped topping

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease or line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners; set aside.

Combine the strawberries and gelatin in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until the strawberries are broken up and the mixture is relatively soupy.  Add the other ingredients and mix until well combined.  Fill each muffin cup 2/3rds full of batter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cupcakes are springy to the touch.  Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack until completely cool.

In the meantime, make the frosting: whisk together the pudding mix and milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool and set while the cupcakes cool.

Once the cake is cooled, pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes.  Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

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