Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
Does it still feel like summer where you are? Last week our weather felt like fall; this week, not so much. The fact that strawberries are still cheaper than grapes says something about the season, I think.
These cupcakes are pushing for those last few days of bare feet and freckled shoulders! They’re totally wearing white after Labor Day and they’re looking good doing it. No big deal.
Strawberry coconut love starts with a cake mix and gets all dressed up for dinner. Take these little beauties to your friends and look like you know what you’re doing! But don’t over-mix them, or you’ll end up scraping burned cake off the bottom of your oven at 11 am on a Tuesday. Trust me. I know.
These cupcakes are really tender and can be difficult to remove from the pan. One of my favorite bakery tricks is this: after the cupcakes have cooled in the pan, place the entire pan in your freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. If you have enough space in your freezer, do both pans at once! As soon as the cupcakes are a bit frozen (they don’t have to be rock solid, but it’s easier if they are), they’ll be much easier to remove from the pans. As soon as they thaw, you’ll never know the difference.
Makes 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 box white cake mix (without pudding!)
1 (3 ounce) box strawberry gelatin
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup diced strawberries
1 tablespoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two muffin tins with cupcake papers and spray lightly with cooking spray.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine cake mix, gelatin, flour, and baking soda and mix well. Add strawberries, extract, oil, eggs, and water, and mix on low speed until just moistened, about 30 seconds. Mix on medium for 2 minutes.
Spoon batter into pans, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer pans to wire racks and cool completely.
For the frosting:
1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1 (32 ounce) bag powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
sweetened flaked coconut and sliced strawberries for topping
With an electric or stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until completely smooth and blended. Add about half the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. At this point it’s up to you — if you’d like a stiffer frosting, add a bit more sugar.
Frost cupcakes with your weapon of choice — I like to pipe frosting because it’s just easier for me, but you can definitely spread it with a butter knife on this one, because it’ll be covered in coconut. Pour coconut into a shallow bowl and, one at a time, turn each cupcake upside down and gently turn the top into the coconut. Top with a strawberry slice. Do this assembly-line style (frosting, coconut, strawberry) on each cupcake so that the coconut and strawberries will stick.