Thursday, August 26, 2010

Strawberry Stuffed Lime-Coconut Cupcakes (★ ★ ★ ★ ☆)

As I've grown older, I've come to realize that being the oldest child sometimes comes with perks...but most of the time it just means more responsibility. Not that it's always a bad thing--Oh, how I love to be in charge. But sometimes I find I bite off more than I can chew. Like that time I thought it would be a good idea to make beef stew and a homemade apple pie for dinner one night after, we didn't eat till 10:00pm.
The Story:

Anyway, my sister was getting married and I was the maid of honor. My aunts we're already throwing her a bridal shower, but since we had so much family she couldn't really invite any of her friends. So I took it upon myself as her sister and honorly maid to throw her another "friends" shower. Now this was all good in theory, however, we had just gotten back from a week an a half road trip to Canada and I somehow found myself in charge of the other "family" shower as well. Needless, to say it was just one of those weeks.

I had planned to make it simple, but I'm a perfectionist. Which means that even the most seemingly "simple" task or arrangement will look effortless to the untrained eye, but we perfectionists know that careful thought, planning, and organized execution goes into each and every step. I set up a quick invite on Facebook and planned an outdoor movie night: Projector-check. Screen-check. Popcorn machine-check. Only thing left? Cupcakes!!

I wanted something light and refreshing, but completely different and unique. I came upon this recipe for Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes that fit the bill. I was captivated. Strawberry Lime Stuffed Cupcakes

The Method:
I had seen some other strawberry stuffed cupcakes during my initial "research," but none seemed as good as these. One recipe actually baked the strawberry in the middle instead of placing a fresh one in, which seemed like a good idea...but the 'after' picture wasn't at all appealing so I decided to stick with the "fresh" method. See here.  However, in my internet-blog travels, I found that several recipes included coconut. Well, I had a bunch of coconut left over from my Red Velvet cupcake endeavor so I thought, "why not?" I don't like shredded coconut unless it's toasted...cause, frankly, it tastes like hair. So I bought some coconut flavoring to go into the cupcakes.


For Cake:
1 White Cake Box Mix (prepared according to instructions)
2 Tbsp Coconut Flavor (add more or less to taste)
  • Mix all together and pour into cupcake liners. Makes 24. (I kept adding more coconut flavor but it still didn't seem to show very strongly...even in the cooked cupcakes)
For frosting:
1 tub of cream cheese frosting (2 tubs, depending on how much you like to put on)
1 lime (juiced, add more or less to taste)
  • I just squeezed a half of a lime into the frosting at a time. I think I ended up using about one limes worth of juice. (Honestly this was the best was DE-lic-i-OUS! The lime helps to lighten the frosting even more...which could prove to be a dangerous thing if you have leftovers and a clean spoon nearby).
The Strawberry:
24 Strawberries (washed and completely dry. in this case the smaller the better)
  • Take a sharp knife (one that will easily cut the cupcake without smashing it) and cut a small cone shaped piece out of the top of eachBulleted List of the cupcakes. Then gently place...okay, lets be honest...shove a clean, de-stemmed strawberry into the middle of the cupcake. (Make sure the strawberries are not still wet from being don't want to accidentially make cupcake mush during this process). This "strawberry-ing" part is actually pretty easy. Just an fyi, you might have to cut the strawberries a little bit if they are too big and are protruding from the cupcake tops.
The Decorations:
  • Lime Rind
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Strawberry pieces (cut up)
I think I actually went a little overboard with this one. I think the strawberry on top was a little too much. The coconut and lime rinds were the perfect "delicate" decorations. I felt like the strawberry piece (as small as it was) kind of took away some of the mystery of the cupcake...and it kind of blew the surprise of the middle. Obviously, you can do as you want, but next time I'm going to learn from my own mistakes and let the concealed middle work it's magic.

The Results:
The cupcakes were amazing. Honestly, they were beautiful. The cupcakes turned out nicely...not even one deflated. The strawberries fit in the middle and the frosting tasted delicious. The only thing I wish I would have done differently was I would have liked to make the cupcakes from scratch. I hate the white cake box mix. It's too airy. I want to find the best basic vanilla cupcake recipe to replace this habit. But until then, this way is easy and they always look nice even if they aren't the best tasting.
Besides that, though, these cupcakes were perfect. I loved the way they looked and how unique they were. The strawberry in the middle really cinches the deal. This recipe makes some of the prettiest cupcakes I've ever seen

...and THAT's saying something.

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