Cupcakes are good, but cupcakes filled with a fresh fruit like strawberries are fantastic. It's also an easy way to sneak a little nutrition into an indulgent treat for your kids. Filling the cupcakes with strawberries is much easier than you might think -- after the cupcakes have been baked. You can even bring your kids into the kitchen with you to help fill the cupcake.
1. The Strawberries
Start with the freshest, juiciest strawberries you can find. Ripe, juicy strawberries generally have a strong strawberry scent and are brightly red. You can use the strawberries in one of two ways. You can either make a chunky strawberry puree filling, or you can simply chop up the strawberries to put in the center of the cupcakes. To make a chunky strawberry puree, hull and slice up dice up about three-fourths of the strawberries you have. Place them in a blender or a food process to puree. Chop up the remaining strawberries into tiny chunks and add them to the puree.
2. Cupcake Prep
Make any type of cupcake flavor you would like to make, preferably choosing a flavor that will complement the strawberries. Ideas include vanilla, yellow cake, lemon, coconut and chocolate. You can make your cupcakes from scratch or with boxed cake mix. Prepare the batter according to your recipe and line your cupcake batter with cupcake liners. Pour the batter three-fourths of the way up in each cup, as the cupcakes will expand and rise in the oven. Bake according to your recipe and allow the cupcakes to cool.
3. Filling the Cupcake
Once the cupcakes cool, core out a hole in the center of the cupcakes, using a serrated knife or a small apple corer. Be careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the cupcake. Transfer with a small spoon the fresh-cut strawberries or the fresh strawberry puree into the center of the cupcakes. Save the cored-out cake to crumble up and mix with frosting, which you can then roll into balls for cake pops.
4. Frosting and More
Cover the hole in the cupcakes with the frosting. As with the cake, the frosting you use is up to you. You can buy or make a vanilla buttercream frosting or make a sweet cream cheese frosting. Another idea is to blend some of the pureed strawberries with buttercream or with whipped frosting. If you love the combination of strawberries and chocolate, make a chocolate ganache to cover the cupcake. Add garnishes on top of the frosting, such as a slice of fresh-cut strawberry, coconut flakes or sprinkles.
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