I got the idea to make these from those 4th of July cakes you see on the cover of magazines at the grocery store check out, you know, the ones that look like an American flag with cool whip, blueberries and strawberries? But it thought I could improve upon the idea by using slightly different ingredients – generic store bought cake and cool whip are ok, but why not make it really tasty?
So I started out with french vanilla cake mix and made some lovely golden brown cakes.
Then I hollowed out a little spot in the middle of each cake, using an apple corer, to fill with the scrumptious strawberry filling we made.
Just a simple mix of strawberries, sugar, water and cornstarch brought to a simmer until it thickened to the consistency we liked, then mashed with a potato masher to get the desired texture. I could have just eaten that by itself, it was so good!
When the strawberry filling was cool, we popped it into a piping bag and started filling the cupcakes. Now, this was a bit messier than I anticipated, KT had to do damage control, standing with a spoon at the ready to scrape off any overspill or to catch any filling trying to escape my piping bag in between cupcakes. But with teamwork, the end result was ultimately what we’d hoped for.
Next we made the frosting. This was from a recipe my mom got from my grandmother ages ago, and its actually a base for a fruit salad that’s similar to ambrosia, but I thought the texture and flavor would be nice for a strawberry shortcake. We started out by making homemade whipped cream – heavy cream with some powdered sugar and vanilla, whipped in a cold metal bowl until it was….well, whipped cream!
Then we melted marshmallow over a double boiler and folded that melted marshmallow into the whipped cream.
I know it sounds weird, but it is so delicious, I promise you. It gives the whipped cream a different kind of sweetness than you’d get by just adding sugar, and it makes the texture of the cream a bit denser. However, it is still whipped cream and it will melt, so we got it good and chilled before piping it on, and found that these cupcakes should be refrigerated until serving time so that the frosting stays pretty – no one wants to eat a melty cupcake.
After piping we sprinkled with some red, white, and blue nonpareils, fanned a strawberry half and a few blueberries on top and voila – strawberry shortcake cupcakes!
Of course to do these for any occasion, you can just leave out the blueberries and patriotic sprinkles. And because the strawberry filling was so yummy, next time I think I’d like to try serving these unwrapped on a plate in a little pool of the strawberry filling. Nom!