Sometimes the simplest things can really hit the spot. Take these cupcakes, for example. I don’t always feel like making a batch of cupcakes from scratch, but I still want the great flavor.
The secret to making a box mix cupcake taste fabulous is the way you dress it up. I don’t mean how it looks (though that does help in my opinion), but what you add to it to punch up the intensity. This cupcake couldn’t be simpler…
I used a box of Pillsbury Devils Food cake for this batch. I like it because it already adds in some pudding, which gives the cake a nice texture and a little something extra. And, Pillsbury is always a great price at our grocery store. Speaking of the grocery store and cupcakes…I have to just get something off my chest. It’s a genius marketing plan, no doubt, but CUPCAKE BOX MIXES? They make 12 cupcakes. For twice the amount of money as a CAKE MIX, which makes 24. Now, I’m no math wizard, but 12 cupcakes for $1.99 versus 24 cupcakes for 99 cents seems kind of idiotic. I can see only single dads buying the cupcake mix…you know, when it’s THEIR turn to be the Homeroom Daddy and bring snacks for the class. Heck, he’ll probably go so far as to buy 2 of them since he needs 24. Marketing. Genius.
So, bake the cupcakes according to the method stated on the box. It’s pretty cut and dry. But if you want to make them look a little nicer than your everyday cupcakes – line them twice. Cheapy white liner on the inside, cute liner on the outside. Makes the paper appear brighter, more vivid. If you are trying to use a patterened liner without double lining it – you’ve wasted your money – you won’t see much of a pattern. Just a little FYI.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make a batch of Chocolate Ganache. Just use 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and bring to just a simmer, then remove from the heat. To that, add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I prefer a semi-sweet here, but you could easily use Milk Chocolate or Bittersweet…it’s up to you. Kids are going to prefer the Milk Chocolate…I’ll bet you anything. Anyway, pour the hot cream over the chips until it smelted, then stir it up and set it aside.
You can also whip up a little more of the cream while you wait for the chocolate to cool off, this time adding powdered sugar and vanilla to make a nice whipped cream.
Now it’s time for the berries. Chop up a few fresh strawberries and toss them in a bit of sugar so that they are nice and sweet. it will make a difference to have them with the extra calories. hey – if you’re going to eat a cupcake? Eat a stinkin’ cupcake. Go run it off later or burn it off by osmosis sitting on your couch watching the Olympics (which I do.)
Now you are ready to assemble.
Cut out a hole in your cupcake using a sharp knife. Don’t go all the way to the bottom, just a little crater will do. Save that top! You’ll want to shove it back in later. Take a spoonful of your ganache, dump it in there, then add a few strawberry bits, then a shot of the whipped cream. You can add another bit of ganache here if you want (remember, you can always watch the Olympics later) then replace the top. If the top is too big, just
bite off the extra cake cut it down until it fits. No big deal.
Now, top this work of art with a good dose of Buttercream. Easy Peasy recipe? 2 sticks of Room Temp Unsalted Butter, 1 Stick Salted. Beat it until smooth, then add half a box of instant Vanilla Pudding. Beat again until smooth, then add about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and beat it again, about 4 minutes or so. Now add in powdered sugar – 1 cup should do the trick. Beat it again for 5 minutes. If it isn’t sweet enough for you, just add a little more sugar and beat it again, but it should be good to go at that point! I pipe mine on using a giant star tip, which makes it a little dressier (and actually easier, in my opinion. And then if you are feeling fancy? Drizzle more of the ganache over the top, add a couple of those berries and you’ve got a true thing of beauty.
I imagine if Daddy Cupcakes took these babies in, he’d rule the school. Rule it.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Oh, and don’t forget the Le Creuset giveaway ends Sunday Night, so enter if you haven’t already!