Recipe: Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry shortcakes are such a classic dessert. I guess it's something about the combination of ripe strawberries, whipped cream, and spongy cake that is quite irresistible and screams summertime and BBQs. Well it's not summertime (I'm currently looking at quite a bit of snow outside my window), but let's just pretend for a little bit? Please?

Do you know those sponge cake little bowls that they sell in grocery stores to make strawberry shortcakes in? There's always been something about them that I didn't like. They always tasted bland and slightly artificial. So I decided to make mini strawberry shortcakes my way, with a cupcake pan!

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 48 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and light yellow. Beat in each egg, one at a time until combined. Mix in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating between the the buttermilk and the dry. Add the dry in 1/3s and buttermilk in 1/2s. Mix until just combined.

Fill each liner half full with batter and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whipped Cream

Makes enough for 48 cupcakes

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 handfuls of strawberries, sliced long ways

Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking.

Add whipping cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

To make these into shortcakes, remove each cupcake from it's wrapper and cut with a serrated knife horizontally. Turn the cupcake so the rounded top is now the bottom. Place a healthy helping of whipped cream down on the bottom half, layer 3-4 strawberry slices on top, then a little dab of whipped cream on top of the strawberries (to hold the top on). Place the top on, then a bit more whipped cream and top with another strawberry.

You'll want to eat these mini cakes the same day they are made, or store in a airtight container in the fridge for an additional day.

Wouldn't these be perfect for a Valentine's Day dessert? I love how fancy and complicated they look, but are so easy to throw together. 

Decorate: Fruity Pebbles Cupcake Topping

For 2014, I wanted to start a new column here featuring different simple ways to decorate cupcakes. These ideas will work for cupcakes from scratch, fancying up boxed cupcakes, or even store bought. I think that even the simplest decorations can really make a splash at a party or even just as dessert after a family meal. I love decorating cupcakes and hopefully some of these easy peasy decorations will inspire you. But now on to these fun toppings...

To make these fun rainbow-colored cupcakes, apply a heavy amount of frosting onto each cupcake. You'll want a frosting that is thick and will hold the cereal well. Place the frosted cupcake in a small bowl and apply handfuls of cereal to the frosting. Place one hand against the side of the cupcake (where the lining ends) and roll your handful of cereal up onto the frosting, lightly press the cereal down. You want the entire frosting covered. Once done, top with a little washi tape wrapped around a toothpick or shorten bamboo skewer and cut into a flag. Cute!

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These would be great as a topping for some Funfetti Cupcakes and so cute for a child's birthday. Or maybe even a topping for some tie dyed cupcakes, which were all the rage like 2 years ago. Very simple, but also very, very fun.

Chai Tea Cupcake Recipe

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Chai tea lattes are my favorite coffee shop treat. Hot, creamy, spicey and perfect for cold mornings when I need a little pick-me-up. For other chai tea lovers out there, these are perfect for an after dinner treat (or maybe even a quick breakfast!)

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Chai Tea Cupcakes

Yield 12 cupcakes

  • 2 tsp loose chai tea or 2 chai tea bags
  • If using loose tea, you'll need a fine mesh strainer
  • 3/4c milk
  • 2c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 8 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Simmer milk and tea over low/medium heat for 5 minutes or until milk is a caramel color. If using loose tea, pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and combined. Add each egg, one at a time.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add this dry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between the dry and milk/tea mixtures. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Fill each cupcake liner with until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Vanilla Buttercream

Yields enough for 12 cupcakes

  • 8 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2c confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk, as needed
  • cinnamon sugar, optional 

Begin by beating butter until fluffy, then slowly add sugar. Once combined, add vanilla and tbsp milk. If the buttercream is still too thick, add more milk in small increments.

I frosted these cupcakes with a piping bag and a large circle piping tip. Top with a pinch of cinnamon sugar and enjoy.

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Break this recipe out the next time you are looking for something a little different to serve!

Bacon Maple Cupcakes

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I love breakfast. Especially weekend breakfast. In my opinion, weekend breakfast deserves to be celebrated with French toast or pancakes. I wanted to take some of my favorite breakfast flavors; spicy cinnamon, sweet maple syrup, and salty bacon; all into one bacon maple cupcake. These are pretty fun, and usually a hit with bacon lovers.

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Maple Cupcakes

Yields 36 cupcakes

  • 3/4c unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2c sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/3c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4c buttermilk
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add each egg, one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside. In a measuring cup, mix buttermilk, vanilla, and maple syrup. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between dry and wet mixtures. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Fill each cupcake liner with until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Maple Fluffy Glaze (with bacon)

Enough for 48 cupcakes

  • 2c powdered sugar
  • 1/2c of butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  • 2-3 slices of bacon

Start by beating butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and combine. Add syrup and then thin with milk as needed. I wanted this to be thinner than a buttercream, but not runny (hence "fluffy glaze"). I used a spoon to frost each cupcake, placing a dolop in the center of the cupcake and smooth out in a circular pattern. This is even easier with a offset spatula, if you have one.

Cook the bacon over the stove top until crispy and place on a paper towl to cool. Once cooled, sprinkle the bacon over the frosting. Ta-da! Breakfast in a cupcake!

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These cupcakes are great for parties when you are looking for something fun and different to make. Just as easy as standard cupcakes, but these are a show stopper.

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Yum!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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In celebration of Tim's birthday weekend last weekend, I made some Peanut Butter Chocolate cupcakes for a family birthday party. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic combination and usually, quite a crowd pleaser. Making cupcakes from scratch is really just as simple as making them from a box, but they taste a thousand times better. And this peanut butter frosting is a killer.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

Yields 24 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2c flour
  • 3/4c cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 1c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 and place liners in a cupcake pan.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, Combine. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between dry and buttermilk. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Fill each cupcake liner with until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Peanut Butter Buttercream

Yields enough for 24 cupcakes

  • 1 1/4c creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2c softened butter
  • 2c confectioners sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk, as needed 

Cream together peanut butter and butter until fluffy. Slowly add sugar and vanilla until combined and there are no more lumps. Add milk as needed to thin frosting until it's smooth enought to easily pipe through a piping bag. Be carefully not to thin too much.

You can either apply frosting with an offset spatula, or pipe onto cakes. I used a large star tip to pipe these.

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If you wanted to make these extra special, cut out the center of each cupcake and pipe the peanut butter buttercream into the center. Then, top with a chocolate buttercream! Easy peanut butter cup cupcakes!

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Happy celebrating!