Father’s Day AND Day of Birth Celebration! Strawberry and Chocolate Chip Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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I know it has been a longgggg time, but I have been a very busy lady! I have been nannying for a lovely family during the day, and getting my butt kicked by P90x/Insanity at night. I have still managed to continue baking, but I just haven’t had the time for new posts.

But alas, I HAD to post today. Today has been a wonderful day. I woke up to some great news: the woman that I work for delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl! That in itself is a reason to bake. On top of that, it is also Father’s Day! I have always been a daddy’s girl, and I decided to spend the day with him. We went to the driving range (my arms are ACHING), and on the way back we stopped at Wawa for some refreshing frozen iced teas.

Anyways, since I was in SUCH a good mood, I decided to bake some cupcakes. For those who do not know me well: I HATE baking cupcakes. Making the cupcake itself is a hassle; all of that pouring and mixing is a pain in the butt. And then on top of THAT you have to make frosting. Me and the piping bag are arch enemies. But since I had the time, I decided to give it a shot.

I wanted to make something that the family I work for would enjoy. I settled for a strawberry chocolate chip vanilla cupcake. The girls LOVE strawberries, and enjoy chocolate (what child doesn’t??). I topped them off with a vanilla buttercream frosting with some pink food coloring to celebrate the baby’s arrival.

Here’s the thing: I was feeling a little lazy. As stated above, my arms were aching from the driving range, and I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, away from my dad. So I did something unheard of: I used a BOX MIX for the cupcakes.

Before you exit out of this tab, give me a chance to explain! I didn’t prepare the cupcakes with the directions on the box. I did something much, MUCH better. I found a link a while back on good ol’ Pinterest that described a way to prepare cupcakes with a box mix that made them taste homemade. It caught my attention and I am glad that I saved the link, because you CAN NOT tell that these came from a box mix.

My dad said that these are “the most amazing cupcakes that he has ever had”.  They are moist, soft, and filled with flavor. Once the sweetness of the berries wears off, you start to taste the rich milk chocolate chips. The vanilla frosting is perfect. I am not a humongous fan of frosting. *Gasp* I know, it is pretty strange. But I find this frosting to have the perfect amount of sweetness; it satisfies your sweet tooth without making you diabetic.

For the Cupcakes:

Ingredients

  • Vanilla Cake Mix (you want a good quality one! Either Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted ( do not use margarine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 large strawberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave.
  3. In a large bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, and water to the butter.
  4. Mix on low for a minute, and then on high for a minute. You will already see a difference: the batter is thick and creamy, as opposed to thin and watery when prepared with the box’s instructions.
  5. Add the strawberries and chocolate chips, mix them in throughout the batter.
  6. Fill 24 cupcake wells with paper liners. Evenly distribute the batter. I find that using an ice cream scoop uses the perfect amount of batter, and also makes the cupcakes look nice and equal. It also is SO much quicker, and less messy!
  7. Put them in the oven for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For The Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Adapted Slightly From Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more milk if needed for spreading consistency.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing

Maybe if I keep my baked goods on top of my studies the Study God will give me all of the answers on my exam??

Some things are meant to be together. Eggs and bacon, toast and jam, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake are a few examples. But one matching rises above all of the rest (at least in my mind), that being peanut butter and chocolate. I am salivating just thinking about the love affair that occurs in my mouth every time I munch on these two simultaneously.

You may have noticed that this is my first cupcake post. Well, there’s a reason for that…I have yet another secret to reveal: I don’t enjoy making cupcakes. It isn’t that I don’t like EATING cupcakes, it is just the whole frosting thing. It’s time consuming (in my opinion) and me being a perfectionist makes it take a lot longer. Recently, however, I decided to invest in a piping bag that comes with several tips! I have found that piping is much quicker and easier (and it makes them look so gosh darn cute!).

Friday I am going home for Thanksgiving break! I am seriously so excited. Since my younger sister is allergic to peanuts, I decided that I wanted to get this recipe over and done with before I get home so she can eat all of my yummy treats!

I was skeptical to try out this recipe. For one, the dark chocolate cupcakes contain coffee. I HATE COFFEE. However, the cupcakes came out full of flavor and moist. What makes these cupcakes so awesome is the peanut  butter icing. It is light, fluffy, and it is the perfect compliment to these cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (Adapted from a recipe found here)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cold brewed coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vinegar. Mix until smooth, batter will be thin. Pour into prepared cups.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
After  these bad boys cool, it’s time to prepare the frosting.
Fluffy and Light Peanut Butter Frosting (Adapted from Allrecipes)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
  • 1 1/2  cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Place the butter, shortening, water and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, add milk. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

I decided to fill some of my cupcakes with the peanut butter (because I never had) and I topped them off with half of a reese’s pieces mini cup (totally optional!)