flavor of the week: strawberry cheesecake cupcake

When I got married last September, I was so fortunate that my best friend was going to stand up with me and make amazing cupcakes for my guests.  Naturally I’m talking about sfb’s amazing contributor Tara.  Together, we came up with a flavor plan for the wedding cupcakes.  The final contenders were a chocolate-chocolate, banana cake with caramel icing, carrot cake with cream cheese icing (husband’s favorite) and what ended up being the piece de resistance strawberry cheesecake cupcakes.  Yeah, you heard me.

 

Strawberry.  Cheesecake.  Cupcakes.

 

What does this entail? The cake is a vanilla cake with the addition of strawberry puree baked inside.  The cupcake is then cored and a tiny cheesecake, like you would see at Christmastime or on a Pittsburgh cookie table, is placed inside.  Yes, a tiny cheesecake inside the cupcake.

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A view of the secret cheesecake inside
The icing is a delicious cream cheese/butter hybrid mixed with freeze dried strawberries.  These were an absolute hit at the wedding and Tara and I are so pleased to be sharing the recipe with you today.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
(makes 2 dozen)


You can prepare the mini cheesecakes in advance.  It’s best to make them first so that they have plenty of time to fully cool down before inserting them into the cupcake.

Mini Cheesecakes

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cups and 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
3 Tbsp melted butter
2  8 oz packages of cream cheese softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Line mini muffin pan with paper cups.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp sugar, and butter; press into bottoms of paper-lined mini muffin cups.  Toast in oven for 4 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar with mixer until blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.  Spoon over crusts.

Mini Cheesecake Tip: The best way to fill the muffin cups is to put the cream cheese mixture into a large squeeze bottle.  You can cut the nozzle wider if bottle nozzle is too small.  It saves so much time when we make these around the holidays.

Bake 15 to 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.


Strawberry Cupcakes

2/3 cups strawberry puree (about 10 large strawberries)
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup strawberry Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

Line a 24-count pan with cupcake liners.

Slice strawberries and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse until strawberries are a chunky puree.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar. The mixture will be gritty. Stir in egg, Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until combined.

Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Fold in the strawberry puree. The batter will be thick.

Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before coring (more on that below).


Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup of butter, softened
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
1.0 oz freeze dried strawberry slices, processed into a fine powder in a food processor (Try Target brand Simply Balanced™ or Karen’s Naturals.  Check your local health food store).
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups of confectioners sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until it is softened, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and beat together for 3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and mix. Add strawberry powder and mix. Slowly add 4 cups of powder sugar and mix. Add more sugar if needed to get desired consistency. Continue mixing until frosting is creamy.


Assembly

Hollow out the cooled cupcakes with a cupcake corer.  This is the cupcake corer that we use, but you could also use a melon baller to hollow out the cupcakes to make room for the mini cheesecake.

Remove wrapper from cheesecake and place inside the cupcake.

Frost cupcakes and garnish with strawberries or the garnish of your choice.

Since there is a cream cheese component to these cupcakes, be sure to store them in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!
~Tara and Allison

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What are you waiting for?  Go make them!

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