We finally settled on the Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting. Sounds heavenly, huh? So, we got to work mashing strawberries and pouring ingredients into the mixer. I must note that wearing a plaid strawberry top is essential when making strawberry cupcakes. :)
Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
28 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2-inch size)
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup crushed fresh strawberries (5 - 6 large strawberries)
3 large eggs
For the filling
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temp
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 28 cupcake cups with paper liners and set the pans aside.
2. Make the cupcake batter: Place the cake mix, strawberry gelatin, and flour in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the milk, oil, strawberries, and 3 eggs and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well blended. Set the batter aside.
3. Make the filling: Place the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and 1 egg in a medium size bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is creamy, 1 minute.
4. Spoon or scoop a heaping 1/4 cup of cupcake batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds of the way full. (You will get between 26 - 28 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any) Spoon a generous tablespoon of the cheesecake filling over each cupcake.
5. Place the pans on the center rack of the oven. If both pans do not fit on one oven rack, it's fine to let a pan sit on the counter while the first batch of cupcakes bake. Bake the cupcakes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 20 - 25 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and plan on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes longer before frosting.
6. Meanwhile, make the Lemony Buttercream Frosting
7. Spoon a tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake and spread it out with a short metal spatula or spoon. Lemony Buttercream Frosting
1 medium size lemon
4 tablespoons (1 1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
Milk or water, if needed
1. Rinse and pat the lemon dry with paper towels, then grate enough zest to measure 1 teaspoon. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice to yield 2 - 3 tablespoons.
2. Place the butter in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners sugar and the lemon juice and zest a bit at a time, beating with the mixer on low speed until the confectioners sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, 1 minute longer. If the frosting seems too stiff add a little milk or water to thin it.