The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
I have always loved making and serving cakes in the summer months that center around a particular fruit. Strawberry cake, blueberry cake or even apricot cake, are all big hits around my house during the summer months. There is something about serving some type of fruit flavored dessert in the summer months that is just as comforting to me as a chocolate rich dessert in the winter months. The cupcake recipe I am sharing here today came with an initial failure. I first started experimenting with these cupcakes by using too many frozen strawberries! The cupcakes were good but after sitting for several hours, the extra juice in the frozen berries, made somewhat of a lake around the finished cupcakes! Not good and not pretty. So, moving forward with the recipe, what I decided to do, was cut back on the frozen berries, that contain a lot of extra water that normal berries do not and add in strawberry jam to the frosting, to bring the overall strawberry flavor to a peak without having the extra berries and their juice.
This recipe is for cupcakes, but you can easily turn this into a 13×9-inch cake or even two 8 or 9-inch cake layers. To make this cake into a 13×9-inch cake, simply use that size pan, follow the directions in mixing the batter, but bake for about 27 minutes. The same goes for the two 8 or 9-inch cake layers. The frosting recipe I am sharing is enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes, or a strawberry cake made in a 13×9-inch cake pan or two 8 or 9-inch cake layers. Another thing about this recipe is that if you do not like strawberries, you can substitute blueberries, cherries, peach or even raspberries! Just be sure to match your Jell-O to the fresh fruit you want to use. These cupcakes and the other cake varieties are best stored and served super chilled, almost frozen. Feel free to add a little red food coloring to really burst the color of this dessert!
A 3oz powdered box of Jell-O, measures a generous 1/3 cup, or about 6 tablespoons.
For the cake…
White cake mix
3 oz box instant powdered strawberry Jell-O
1 cup mashed strawberries
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk
4 large eggs
For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup mashed strawberries
¼ cup strawberry jam
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-cup cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl whisk together the white cake mix, instant powdered Jell-O, mashed strawberries, vegetable oil, whole milk and large eggs until smooth and combined.
Divide the batter evenly in the prepared cupcake tin.
Bake, in preheated oven, for 24 minutes, until brown and slightly set.
Remove and cool.
To make the frosting, whisk together the melted unsalted butter with the mashed strawberries, strawberry jam, powdered sugar and whole milk until smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add more whole milk. You are looking for a thick, melted ice cream texture for this frosting.
Frost each cooled cupcake evenly and top with slices of fresh strawberries.
Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of questions about some of the recipes you see on Facebook and if they really work. There are generally two things that you can do before trying a recipe, to at least get a feel for how the recipe will work out. First, read through the recipe and see if the measurements and cook times make sense. Second, look at the comments to the post. Most of the time there will be several people who have tried the recipe and post a comment, letting other members or readers of the recipe know how the product turned out.