With Earth Day coming up. . .
. . . it seemed like the perfect excuse to make something sweet. . .
. . . something full of love. . .
. . . and appreciation. . .
. . . for all the beautiful things. . . .
. . . on this beautiful planet.
Earth Day Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes
- This recipe for glorious chocolate cake from the lovely Ina Garten*
- 1 pint strawberries washed with the tops trimmed
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 12 oz cream cheese at room temperature.
- 1 fresh beet (or red food coloring)
- card stock paper
- 1 bamboo skewer
*When preparing your chocolate cake batter, if you don't often have buttermilk on hand (like me) you can add a tbsp. of lemon juice to your cup of milk and let it sit for 5 or 6 minutes to whip up a substitute.
Once you have your batter ready, pour it into parchment lined ramekins or cupcake tins so that it comes to about 1/2" below the rim. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
While your cupcakes are cooling whip up a small batch of cheater fondant by mixing 1.5 cups of powdered sugar with 1 tbsp. milk and 1 tbsp. butter. You'll most likely have to kneed it a bit to get it to really come together. To turn it pink simply add a bit of beet juice or even just rub a freshly cut beet on the fondant dough and kneed in the color. Roll this out on a sheet of parchment covered in powdered sugar (put some on the roller too) and cut your hearts out with a knife or (if you have one) a tiny heart cookie cutter.
To make the frosting, whip the cream cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar together. Spoon the frosting into a large plastic food storage bag. Twist the excess bag and trim off the tip to prepare for piping your frosting (you can also simply spread it with a knife if you prefer).
When the cupcakes are cool, use a spoon to scoop out a hole in the center just large enough to fit a fresh strawberry (do this on the same day you plan to eat them). Pipe a bit of frosting in first and then drop the strawberry inside). Pipe a low swirl on top and add a fondant heart to top it off. Set these aside in the refrigerator.
Using a pen, pencil, or typewriter, write down all of your favorite things in nature and cut them into small tags. If you'd like to add a "Happy Earth Day" banner to one, poke a hole in each side of the tag and use a bit of thread to tie it to 2 pieces of bamboo skewer cut to the appropriate height.
Add your tags and banners to the cupcakes and enjoy!
P.s. Stay tuned for more Earth Day fun later in the week :)
*Last time in Recipes: Savory Turnovers