Strawberry Red Velvet Cupcakes
My hubby and I love to travel. We both start feeling a bit itchy if we haven't been anywhere in a while. Since we're gone so often, we have a dedicated cat sitter for our little Kuro (black) and Hana (flower). Just a boy down the street who's not quite old enough to get a part-time job yet. It's a win-win situation, or so I like to think. He gets to make fairly easy money, and we never have to put our precious fur babies in a kennel, or worry about them at all because he does a great job.
On longer trips he would also take good care of my plants (before I killed them...), handle the mail, and once went above and beyond when I was gone for an extended period of time and didn't realize I'd left a carton of milk in the fridge. This creative boy sent me the longest text, worthy of a short story contest, telling me of how he entered the house being met with an incredible stench, and went through a comical struggle with this beyond expired milk carton, haha. So let's just say he's gone above and beyond the call of duty.
This week we take off to good ol' Hawaii, so we've booked our dependable cat-sitter again, and I wonder if it might be the last time. His father is currently serving a six-month deployment, and not long after he returns their whole family will be moving. I often pass baked treats on to my beloved cat-sitter when I go to drop off the house keys, or will bring treats back from wherever we visited. So this time, since it may be the last, and because it's nearing Valentine's Day, I prepped a slightly larger treat. A quick run to Walmart and I came back with: M&M's® Strawberry, DOVE® Valentine's Day tin, and some ridiculously cute American Greetings® cards. Gift-giving is so fun.
The cupcakes came out soooo yum. I made vibrant red velvet cake with chopped M&M's® Strawberry, then topped it with a strawberry cream cheese frosting made with chunks of dried strawberries. Despite my best efforts to give them away (girl was out of town!), they ended up staying in the house and I've subsequently eaten four today...whoops.
But they're quite good and quite easy, so let me know if you give them a try. And check out more Valentine's Day recipes HERE.
Do you guys have anyone you like to gift at Valentine's Day besides your significant other?
Strawberry Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 11 cupcakes
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 Tbsp red gel food coloring
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1-1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
- 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/3 cup M&M's® Strawberry, chopped
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
- 1/2 cup butter, room temp.
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp clear vanilla
- 2 Tbsp strawberry jam
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries, crushed
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Then mix in the cocoa powder, followed by the food coloring.
Mix in half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Then mix in half of the buttermilk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. again mixing until just combined. Stir the vinegar into the remaining buttermilk, and add that to the batter. Fold in the chopped M&M's®.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
For the frosting:
Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla. While continuing to beat, slowly add the powdered sugar until combined. Mix in the jam and dried strawberries. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with M&M's®.
Cake recipe adapted from here.