First off, let me start by explaining my extremely long absence from blogging. It's been over a month since my last post, but I'm back! There were a few factors that led to my break. For the most part, they were all out of my control, nonetheless it's been way too long. The first problem was that my camera was stolen over Easter break (and really, what's a food blog without pictures?). So, even though I was still baking all the time I didn't post anything. The second was a random computer crash that deleted all of my food blog bookmarks. Two years worth of bookmarked recipes all gone. Bummer. And the third was that I literally haven't even had time to breathe I've been so busy recently. But, hey, that's life.
I still don't have a camera, but I've been able to borrow one to take pictures recently. Point of everything is, I'm going to get back on my regular posting schedule and sorry for the long break!
Now to the food. It's strawberry season and with the masses of fresh strawberries appearing at the stores and farmers' markets I figured I had to start the season off right. I've seen a million and one posts with strawberry shortcakes, tarts, scones, etc. This recipe is a little different, though, and I really liked it. The vanilla bean custard in the middle of these cupcakes is so good I could eat it plain. Luckily, it also complements the angel food cake and strawberries wonderfully so I held back on that impulse. Even though box cake mix makes these cupcakes not quite so homemade, you can't deny that boxed mixes are great. It also makes the recipe pretty simple. The only negative is that these cupcakes don't last very long at all (I'd say two days maximum). After that they're still good, but the custard soaks into the cupcakes and you have to eat them with a spoon. So make these, but eat them quick! This shouldn't be a problem.

Vanilla-Stuffed Strawberry Cupcakes
Recipe from Southern Living April 2010
Makes 2 dozen, Hands on Time: 30 minutes
Cupcakes will rise over baking cup edges. Use a paring knife to gently loosen from pan.

Vanilla Bean Custard (see below)
24 paper baking cups
1 (16 oz) package angel food cake mix*
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups halved fresh strawberries

*Southern Living says they used Duncan Hines and that worked best. I used Betty Crocker and I think the cupcakes themselves could've been better so I'd try Duncan Hines.

1. Prepare Vanilla Bean Custard.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place baking cups in 2 (12 cup) muffin pans. Do not grease. Prepare angel food cake batter according to package directions using a paddle attachment (I'm sure a hand mixer would work fine too). Stir in vanilla extract. Spoon batter into baking cups, filling completely full.
3. Bake at 325 degrees on middle oven rack 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
4. Gently run a knife around edges of cupcakes to loosen. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes).
5. Scoop out centers of cupcakes, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the bottom and sides. Spoon or pipe vanilla bean custard into centers of cupcakes. Top with strawberries. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish if desired.

Vanilla Bean Custard
Recipe from Southern Living

2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla exract

1/ Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a heavy 3-qt saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. Cover and chill for 3 hours.


Anonymous said... @ May 26, 2010 at 3:29 PM

One way to make them last longer is to not scoop and fill the middles of the whole batch, just what you'll need at the time. You can wrap the leftvovers and spoon in the custard for extras later. Like the two or so you'll reserve just for yourself for a little dessert snack during the week after dinner.

Sarah said... @ May 26, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Ah great advice! I am planning on making these again before strawberry season is over and I will definitely do that. Thanks!

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