Monday, October 14, 2013

Sweet As Pie: Strawberry Cupcakes

I'm late.  These are more from Trisha.

Seven (!!) years ago, I was invited to my friend Maci's baby shower.  She knew she was having a girl and this was a proper Southern shower with plenty of pink and, although it was before the days of Pinterest, all the Pinterest-esque things you can imagine.

My life was changed that day, because served at this shower was a strawberry cake.

You see, I had never had a strawberry cake before -- never, ever in my life.

And I LOVE strawberries.

This was some grave egregious oversight, but it was made up immediately with that most amazing, sweet, light, delicious, beautiful cake.

From then on, I was on a quest to make a strawberry cake.

And so I did, a few times, and I eventually found a Paula Deen recipe that was just about perfect.

(I mean, really.  If you need something Southern and decadent, Paula's usually dead-on.)

But last month CAM and I were picking recipes for Sweet As Pie, and we'd seen Trisha's episode where she also makes strawberry (cupcakes, this time) cake for a shower, and we decided we'd try it.

Verdict: Sweet, but not overly so.  Light.  Moist.  Easy to make.
Cook it again:  Absolutely.
Cost Factor: less than $5.

Mick and WHM went on an errand to South Portland today, and CAM and I decided to make these cupcakes, at long last.  The hardest part about this recipe was finding frozen strawberries in syrup.  Who knew that they were so difficult to find?!  Apparently frozen without syrup is what's popular right now ... so the real reason for the delay in making this was laziness in scouting out five -- wait, six, if you count BJ's Club -- different stores until I found the strawberries.

This recipe is very similar to the one I used from Paula, which makes me wonder if it wasn't the kind of thing that was published ages ago in some magazine and then gradually adapted and tweaked by people until they felt it was their own.

It takes a regular box of white cake mix, and a small box of strawberry Jello.  You mix them with some water, oil, and eggs and half a cup of the thawed strawberries, and there's your cake mix.

I used the whisk attachment on my stand mixer, which worked well.  For some reason I almost always use the paddle -- which is totally wrong for a cake, unless the recipe says otherwise.


The batter was really liquid-y and I had all sorts of struggles getting the batter NEATLY into the cupcake pan.  But we worked it out.

They baked up in exactly the 20 minutes the recipe said, which is unusual around here.

These little cupcakes are so simple, so easy, and they are absolutely divine.  Just sweet enough, but not overly so.  Light, but not flaky.  Moist.  Flavorful without being overpowering, which is tricky to do with strawberries.


And best of all?  Easy enough to eat plain.

The recipe called for a glaze that we were supposed to pour over the cupcakes after we stuck holes in them.  That's fine and all, but I wasn't in the mood for sticky.  So I tweaked it to be more of a strawberry buttercream, but it looked gross.  It tasted "meh," but looked awful, so I pitched it.

So far all afternoon we've been devouring the cupcakes just straight up.  You don't even need milk!

I suppose I could pretty them up with some powdered sugar on top, but I'm not sure they will last that long.

This recipe was easy -- literally 40 minutes start to finish, and that's only because I was sloooooow in the kitchen getting ready -- and well worth it in the end.  I'm glad we tried this one, and happy to report it was a success.


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