Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Super Cupcakes

A few months ago when my young son developed his own sign for wanting things my husband and I were thrilled. Gabe took one hand and pointed out something that he wanted and then he took his little hand and pointed into his opposing palm repeatedly. He would look up with his big beautiful brown eyes as if saying "Please, Mommy." This method has been a wonderful tool to both Gabriel and us and I believe it actually saves us all from a lot of whining and crying.
Today I made each of us our own little cupcake treat but I allowed Gabe to start eating before either of us started. I figured that putting the filling on the side would slow him down as he dipped before each bite. Just as I sat down to enjoy my dessert I looked over to see those little hands working hard to sign and point at my cupcake. I just had to laugh as I relinquished nearly half of my sweet treat over. Needless to say, this was a winner with the little one.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes
adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

1 box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
1 1/3 cups water
3 large eggs whites
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces fresh strawberries, crushed
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 an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl 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 completely on a cooling rack.
Using a fork, coarsely mash strawberries in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. 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.

These are delicious with either strawberries or raspberries...I did find that the strawberries are much juicier which makes the cream a little droopy. I suppose leaving them a bit chunkier would help but I actually preferred the berries crushed.

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