I made these for my small group last night, and while they are admittedly quite girly, I think the fellas will like this treat. It's basically the flavors of strawberry shortcake in a sweet, little cupcake that looks all frilly and fancy with the cream in the middle. And don't be wary of the box cake mix; Giada's recipe uses those pre-measured ingredients as a base to create something far from a box. With two teaspoons of both almond and vanilla extract, the flavor of the cake is fabulous, plus using only egg whites lends a more angel food cake-y texture. All the girls agreed that made in miniature size, these would be the perfect sweet bite for a bridal or baby shower. Just be sure to save some for the boys who make both kinds of showers possible.
Strawberry Cream Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries*, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting
- Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract for 2 minutes or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack.
- Using a fork, coarsely mash 3/4 of the berries in a medium bowl (I let them sit and macerate a bit at room temperature). Using the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and 1/3 cup powdered sugar until firm peaks form (tip: put both the bowl and the whisk into the freezer to chill before making the whipped cream). Fold the mashed berries into the whipped cream.
- Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the strawberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and serve with the remaining berries.
* Giada's original recipe calls for fresh raspberries (2 6-ounce containers), but Trader Joe's was out of 'em, so I opted for the strawberry route. Feel free to take the route that most appeals to your berry sensibility.