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Stawberry Cupcakes!

On June 9th I had made strawberry cupcakes for my Husband, Dennis. I had never really had strawberry cake before let alone strawberry cupcakes.



I had decided to make cupcakes instead of a full cake because 1.) It's easier to eat and 2.) Easier to carry around if you were to share at work or something.

For our wedding gift we had received an awesome cupcake traveling case which holds up to 2 dozen cupcakes :) Very handy.

These little guys are fun to make around Valentine’s Day because of their pink-colored-ness. You can decorate them with hearts and loves all you want. But you can make them any time really. I've come to enjoy the strawberry flavored cupcakes better than vanilla or chocolate, probably because those are so popular everywhere.

Anyway! Okay so you're looking at the box of cake mix and there are instructions on the back. Heat temp. for the oven... mixing times and ingredients. If you've never really made a cake before... these can kind of be daunting and confusing. So I'm giving you simple guidance and tips for whenever you feel the urge or bake a cake/cupcakes!

At the bottom of the box you see Pan size and even Bundt and cupcake bake times. Depending on your oven, I would watch the cake(s) about 5 min before your time ends. I know my oven bakes a little warmer so I usually take out the cake(s) 5-6 min earlier than the box indicates so it doesn't burn/over cook. Over cooked cupcakes/cake will be dry and crumbly. If they end up that way, you know next time to take them out earlier :) You live and learn for next time!


Alright! So get your blender out and hook all its attachments. You're ready to go. Cakes and cupcakes use blenders to get the clumps of dry ingredients and wet ingredients together quickly and no lumps are left. It also whips it together so it's light and fluffy, which makes the finished cake/cupcakes fluffy too. With making brownies, you're able to mix by hand, being lumpy is OK. So a blender it is. 

One thing to remember when you’re at the store, buying your cake mix. Don't forget your cupcake baking paper cup liners! I always forget to get those and end up having to use my back-up birthday balloon cupcake liners lol. I bought a bunch of white ones just for any time use. These little guys can be found at pretty much any store. If you're looking for a specific color/size any party store has a substantial collection of colors, sizes and even fun plastic holders with feet for the kids.


You might even be able to find a cupcake carrying case at party stores. I've seen them there before. If not they have crafty shaped pans for cakes too if you're making a cake. I love party stores!











Also while you're at the store, don't forget your eggs and oil! I always have a small bottle of vegetable oil hanging around but make sure it's up to date and not old :) Eggs too. If you're unsure of how old your eggs are, test them in a bowl of water. If the float, they're bad. If they sink, they're good :) Anything in between… you might as just well get new eggs. They sell half egg cartons at any store. This cake recipe calls for 3 eggs so the pack of 6 work great. Unless you'll be using eggs in the future, go ahead and get a full dozen.









When I get all my ingredients out and ready to go, I also get everything else I'll need as well. I happen to have 2 cupcake pans clean and ready to go. If you have only one, that's totally fine, you just have to wait a little while longer to fill the next batch up after the pan has cooled. Light and dark pans have a small heat difference. I keep the same temperature, just keep checking your cupcakes for done-ness frequently with both types of pans.




Fill your cupcake pan(s) with your little paper cupcake liners if you're making cupcakes. Otherwise you bring out your Crisco or even butter works. Pam butter flavored spray works nicely too. This prevents the cakes from sticking to the pan and makes it much easier to release them from the pan and cool before icing. If you're using Crisco, I would use a butter knife or a small spatula to spread it around. It can be kind of thick and very oily if you use your fingers. Thought, you can always wash your hands again :)

Having everything ready before you start mixing and baking makes for an easier and less stressful cooking experience.

One more thing to remember is to preheat your oven! The back of the box lets you know the proper temperature for your pan. Know your oven and adjust accordingly.











So now you have your pans filled with paper liners and all your ingredients out and ready for use. One more thing to remember to have while mixing is your spatula. This is used to scrape the side of the bowl when mixing to get any dry ingredients off the sides and into the blending mix. You also want to remember to scrape the bottom of the bowl too. Your blender can't mix anything that close to the bowl so you have to help it a little.

I've also noticed that spatulas do get old. Especially if you've had it for a long time, make sure it isn't slimy and cracking. It should be firm and clean! If it's old and cracking, you run the risk of it breaking and crumbling into your mix. Not very tasty!



Now we are ready to blend! Dump your cake mix in your bowl and start your blender on low. The lowest it can go or it'll throw the dry ingredients all over you and you'll have a mess lol. Slowly pour in your water, oil and carefully crack your eggs into the mix. If you're worried about getting loose shells in your mix, crack them before starting your blender in a bowl so you can fish out any shell remnants before adding it to the mix. For health reasons, don't leave your eggshells lying around anything that will be touching food or yourself. I use my dirtied measuring cups to hold them. Or just simply throw them away. I find it easier to place them in the cup for now so I'm not playing with the garbage can, getting my hands dirty. Cleanliness is very important when making food, especially when cooking for other people/co-workers.

The back of your box indicates to mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. That's to insure all wet and dry ingredients are together and blending well. After a good 30 seconds of blending and scraping the sides of your bowl, turn your blender on medium speed to really get those chunks of dry ingredients mixed with the oil, water and egg.




Blend at medium speed for 2 minutes while continuing to scrape your bowl bottom and sides. Also turn your bowl counter clockwise while your bowl is naturally turning clockwise from the beaters. This helps things get blended twice through. Nice and fluffy :) This particular cake mix does have strawberry pieces inside. You'll notice this when blending. Those chunks won't go away. You're looking for any dry clumps hiding.

After your 2 minutes is up or you feel your mix is thoroughly blended, you're done mixing!

Helpful hint:
When your turning off your blender, slowly turn the speed down to low while slowly raising your blender head up out of the mix. This gets you more of the mix off the beaters without having to stick your fingers in the mess getting it off them. Once your beaters are out of the mix, turn off the blender completely so the mix doesn't splatter all over.




Now you are ready to spoon your mix into your paper cupcake liners in your pans. If you are baking with just one pan, you'll have to wait, as I said before, to fill the next batch after your pan has cooled. It's pretty handy having 2 baking pans because you're able to equally measure your batter into the cups and make exactly 24 cups.

I just use a large table spoon to fill the paper cups. You could use a scoop of some sort. They do make spatulas that are scoop like. Mine are flat so I use a spoon.

When spooning your batter into the cups, I hold the bowl in my other arm over the pans to help prevent any dripage all over the pans, counters or myself. It can be kind of heavy so take your time. And if you spill on your pans, it’s ok! It comes off.

Now for me, it takes about 2 large table spoon fulls to fill the cups. You want them to be about 3/4 of the way full. Any fuller and they'll spill all over the place in the middle of baking and make a mess. Any less and it might compromise the cooking time and overcook. Make sure all your cups are at equal level.  When having 2 pans, this helps a lot. If you have extra batter after filling all your cups, you can go back and even out the ones with less batter.







See I made a bit of a mess but it'll clean up just fine :D. All filled and ready to go! By this time your oven should be well preheated and you're able to stick one of your pans in. Once in the oven, start your timer and sit back to relax! For cupcakes, the box says to bake for 18-21 minutes.

When you're waiting for your cupcakes/cake to bake, take out your cooling rack. If you don't have any cooling racks, you could use an unused pan upside down and use that as a cooling station. The purpose of cooling is so you can frost the cake or cupcakes when it's not so hot and the frosting doesn't melt off and liquefy. It gets quite messy! Make sure you leave yourself adequate time to mix, bake, cool and frost before you need your treat to be done.

If you're looking for cooling racks to buy, they pretty easy to find. Most grocery stores have a section where they sell pans, cooking utensils and things you might need. Though, those are a little more spendy than you would find at say, Wal-mart or even the Dollar store sells tiny little racks that work just as well!

DING your cupcakes/cake time is running out! At around 6-5 mintues left, I would open up your oven and check your cake for done-ness. For this process, get your oven mitt or hot pad and pull out your cupcakes and get a toothpick.

Find the biggest cupcake or the center of your cake and stick the toothpick all the way down and pull it out. If your toothpick has cake mix sticking to it, you're cake isn't done. Push your pan back into the oven and finish your last few minutes and try it again.









If you pull the toothpick out and it's clean, they're done and ready to be cooled.

For cupcakes you can do this process with a few different cupcakes just to make sure they're all properly done. The toothpick holes won't be seen, don't worry :).













Now that your first batch is done cooking, put your other pan in the oven and repeat the process! If you only have one pan, take your cupcakes out of the pan to cool and let the pan cool for a little while before you put more paper cups and batter inside. You could wait about 5 minutes, which should be a good amount of time for cooling.

Your cake or cupcakes should come out of the pan pretty easy if you used a good amount of Crisco or butter on the pan. If it isn't coming out as well, turn your pan over with your hand on the top of the cake. Tap the bottom of the pan for a bit till it comes loose. You don't want to wiggle it too much, it might come only half way out and break into pieces. If that happens, you might be able to salvage it with frosting to stick it together when it cools. Again, you live and learn for next time! Using a butter knife around the edge of the cake also helps it loosen without breaking.




Once all your cupcakes are done baking, place them all on your cooling rack for a little while till they're cool to the touch. If the inside is warm, that's fine. It's the outside you want cool so you can frost! Yum!

When I'm waiting for my cupcakes to cool, I usually get out my pan I'm going to be storing them in; either my cupcake carrier or I have a deep pan with a lid that I use. I get those out and make sure they're clean. This is good to have ready so when you're done frosting and decorating, you have somewhere to put them so they don't get squished or touched and stay fresh.

I also open up my frosting can and bring out my butter knife I'm going to spread it with. You could also use a small spatula if you wanted. Whatever is easiest for you.





Time to ice! About 8 months ago I was introduced to Strawberry flavored icing and fell in love with it! So since the cupcakes are strawberry, let’s make the icing the same delicious flavor too! You could also use vanilla or even cream cheese flavor would be nice. Whatever your preference, one can of icing will thoroughly cover all 24 of your cupcakes or a cake if that's what your making.

A good idea for a cake, a box usually makes 2 small round cakes. You would be placing a round cake on top of the other to make a 2 layer cake. In the inside you could use strawberry preserves or even fresh strawberries. That would be a great filling! If you don't have any of that, just a thick layer of frosting would do just fine.


When frosting, you can use a lot of frosting on one top, there's enough to go around. You just want to have enough to cover the top and be satisfying without too much of it like some store bought cupcakes. I use my butter knife to spread the frosting back and forth slowly turning the cupcake with the other hand. They don't have to be pretty! You're just going to eat them later lol.

Now that you're all iced up, you can try your hand at decoration! You can do the simple sprinkles of various colors or you can buy the tube of colored frosting and decorative tips that come with the tube. Those tips have different shapes that help you write things like "Happy Birthday" in skinny letters or they have the + shape that creates frilly lining you could use around the outside of the cake or cupcakes. This time I used sprinkles!



My first attempt at decoration didn't go too well lol The more you try, the better you'll get at it! I know you can buy books at craft stores or book stores that help teach you to make your cakes and cupcakes pretty!







Delicious and fluffy!



I'm not a milk drinker so my tiny tea cup is perfect size :)



Now that you're all decorated pretty, line your container and it should keep your cupcakes fresh for days!


I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we do. I love anything fruit so these are simply delectable! I also hope that the instructions and helpful hints were understandable and easy to follow! Any questions, concerns or comments, feel free to ask away and I will help out!

Comments

( 5 loves — Leave some love )
aqane
Jul. 6th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
I made those for my class once! They weren't as pretty as yours, but they were so delicious. By the way, your photos are very nice too--great dynamic angles. :3
june_eats
Jul. 6th, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
Oooh fun!

Thank you ^_^ I have fun taking pictures. I have to take them at angles in the kitchen because of the lighting. If I stand to the left or right in front of it, it casts a shadow and it's hard to get a good shot lol So everything's from the right side.

I'm a very visual person so when I see pictures and diagrams, I get a better feel for what I'm suppose to do :) I like to add that to my presentation.
candeldandel
Jul. 6th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
I hope you don't eat all those cause i need some after i'm not sick!!
june_eats
Jul. 6th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
You srsly think we'd keep them that long? Yuck. No they're long gone lol.

You should make some! I have the instructions and guidance right here for you!
__veritas__
Jul. 7th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
God now I want cupcakes. *_* They look so good!
( 5 loves — Leave some love )