There’s still time to make one or two more deliciously sweet Valentine treats! The kids love cupcakes and strawberries, so we made Strawberry Poke Valentine Cupcakes today. They both helped with the poking of the cupcakes (so funny, they thought) and in sprinkling the Valentine candy hearts on top of the frosted treats.
Strawberry Poke Valentine Cupcakes are easy to make. I started by making a classic white cake. I was out of cake flour, so I substituted 2 tablespoons of flour with cornstarch for each cup of all-purpose flour then sifted the flour five times (see Joy the Baker’s post on the Best Cake Flour Substitute). Because I was going to poke the cupcakes and fill the holes with strawberry Jell-O, I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup (normally I would use 2 cups of granulated sugar). I also used two baking cups. The first baking cup was used to line the cupcake pan. After I poked the cupcakes and filled them with hot Jell-O, I let them sit until completely cool, then I added the frosting and placed each cupcake in a second baking cup.
I saved two or three teaspoons of the warm strawberry Jell-O and added it to the frosting. The Jello-O gave it a mellow strawberry flavor and a nice pink tint that didn’t overshadow the white and red heart candies. My grand-daughter gave me a silent thumbs up while she eagerly licked the small bits of frosting left in the bowl.
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 3-ounce box strawberry Jell-O
- 42 Valentine themed baking cups
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or strawberry extract
- Valentine candy sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup regular size muffin pans with 24 of the Valentine themed baking cups.
- In a small bowl or cup, stir together milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.
- Set electric mixer to medium, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk. Beat on low speed until blended.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter. Fill baking cups about two-thirds full.
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks. Cool about 20 minutes.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over Jell-O. Mix until dissolved.
- Using a toothpick, poke each cupcake several times. Spoon one tablespoon of the jello mixture over each cupcake. Return to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
- In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth.
- Add vanilla. Add milk a little at a time until frosting is smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes.
- Dollop about one heaping tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake. Fluff frosting with back of spoon. Add about a pinch of Valentine themed sprinkles to top of each cupcake. Put each decorated cupcake in second baking cup.
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