Sometimes a seasonal recipe is so good that you have to find ways to re-purpose it for other times of the year. The Strawberry Short(cup)cakes I posted last spring are SO DEFINITELY one of those recipes.
You guys. I make a batch of these nearly every time we know we're having people over. There are never leftovers. 36 cupcakes vanish in a cloud of smoke. Every time.
Which means that they are perfect for a kid's birthday party. Alexis was lucky enough to be invited to a good friend's party, and I very quickly volunteered to make cupcakes. I am willing to do about anything for an excuse to make these things, and it's a bonus if I don't end up with all 36 at my house because I *will* eat them all. I promise.
A fun spring recipe quickly became a fantastic Halloween-themed birthday recipe with just a few additions.
I'm proud to say, I only ate four of them. Or five. Something like that.
The Halloween-ification was a two-step phase. First, I disguised the angel food cake that makes up the cupcakes with some gel food coloring. There was no real need to do it, but I wanted to do a better job of hiding the strawberry guts.
And then came the decorating. I used the usual whipped cream frosting, even though I know it does not have a great shelf life and doesn't hold up to heat. Some of the cupcakes ended up melty because of the shelf-life inferiority of the whipped cream frosting, but I DON'T CARE. That frosting is like crack. It can look like a blob of nothing if it wants to - I will still eat it.
As for the mouth and eyes, which is where the real magic happened, I used some gummy candies I found at the candy/cigar shop in the Strip District. But, I didn't love the gummy eyes, so I ended up making some better eyes out of candy melts, which chocolate, and milk chocolate chips.
The white chocolate was white chocolate chips which I put into a food storage bag and microwaved for 30 seconds or so. Then I cut a corner off of the bag and "piped" a glob of white onto each of my candy melts. Once I stuck a chocolate chip on top of the still warm white chocolate, the white chocolate moved out of the way and made a pretty decent circle without any real assistance.
I liked those eyes much better.
And MAN do I love these cupcakes. The strawberry filling is perfection.
And now I need to eat another Strawberry Short(cup)cake. Pronto.
1 box Angel Food Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1. Prepare according to the directions on the box. Allow to cool before adding the filling or icing.
1 quart fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons white cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1. Divide the diced strawberries into two mostly equal piles. Place half aside and place the other half into a medium saucepan.
2. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add to the saucepan.
3. Add 1 cup sugar to the saucepan and stir everything up. (If your strawberries are super sweet, feel free to reduce the quantity of sugar in the sauce.)
4. Heat on medium heat until the strawberries are soft. Use a immersion blender or potato masher to mash the larger pieces of strawberry. It's OK if there are some chunks of strawberry in the end, but you don't want it to be super lumpy.
5. Allow the strawberry sauce to cool. Add the remaining (raw) chopped strawberries to it and mix.
Whip Cream Icing
1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy cream
1. Throw your creamed cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract into a large mixing bowl.
2. Use an electric mixer on low speed to mix everything up. Once the sugar is well dissolved, begin adding the heavy cream a little at a time. Increase to medium speed. Keep mixing and adding heavy cream until you have "peaks" of icing.
1. Cut a small "X" into the top of each of your cupcakes (it should be about 1/2" across). Push back the edges until you have a small hole in the center.
2. Fill that little hole with approximately one teaspoon of strawberry sauce. Feel free to jab it in there. The cupcakes can handle a little bit of abuse.
3. A pastry bag works really well for spreading the whip cream icing over the top of each cupcake, but you could use a rubber spatula in a pinch. It won't be as pretty, but it'll still taste really fantastic.