Sunday, April 27, 2014

Embracing The Box: Dark Chocolate Strawberry Filled Cupcakes

So, today I had every intention of featuring a blog post all about strawberry turnovers; flaky, delicate, and delicious. Well...that didn't happen. As with baking, sometimes things don't go accordingly and you have to figure out another direction; so I made cupcakes. Cupcakes make everything better.

From my failed turnovers, I was able to salvage a flavorful filling that I incorporated into boxed dark chocolate cake. Now, that being said; 'boxed' is not a dirty word in my kitchen - it's realistic. Sometimes you want something sweet and fluffy, but not the work from-scratch baking can involve. Embrace the box and the ease it brings to baking, and take it one step further to make it your own. In this case, my own is a dark chocolate cupcake filled with a bright strawberry filling and topped with a bit of homemade cream cheese frosting.

One note that I think is worth mentioning that my household is small, and in order to avoid covering every surface in my kitchen with cupcakes (there are certainly worse things), I only use half of a boxed cake mix when baking. That amount makes about 12 regular or 6 jumbo cupcakes. The half I don't use is put into a labeled zip-lock bag and I write the ingredients and baking information right on the bag.

Here's what you need for the cake:

1/2 a box of your favorite dark chocolate boxed cake mix (Betty Crocker is mine)
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp of slightly warmed milk
2 eggs

Here's what you need for the filling:

~2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped small
1/8 cup of sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp orange juice (I had an orange/mango, and that worked even better)

Here's what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 and prep your cupcake tins with paper liners.

Prep the cupcakes according to the box, subbing in the vegetable oil for butter. The butter will be double the amount as the vegetable oil, and you'll be adding an extra egg for a from-scratch texture and flavor. Bake for 25 min and allow to cool before filling. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare your strawberry filling.

Here's what you do for the filling:

combine all of the listed ingredients in a small pot and cook down over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the fridge.

Here's what you do to assemble the cupcakes:

Once the cupcakes and the filling have cooled, use an apple core or a small spoon if you don't have a corer, to create a crevice in the middle of the cupcake.

Spoon in a tablespoon, and a bit more, of the strawberry filling into the crevice. Then, top with the cream cheese frosting. if you've got a couple more strawberries leftover, you can use them as a garnish. Enjoy!

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