Happy Election Day! When I thought about what to cook on election day I kept thinking about hot wings and nachos. Unfortunately I seem to associate super bowl food with election food. Maybe it’s apt; I think it will be a battle! In any event I decided to settle for cupcakes.
There were probably several points in this recipe where I should have turned back and abandoned ship, but I had a dream of red, white and blue patriotic cupcakes in honor of election day. I wanted white cake, white icing, and a splash of colorful strawberries and blueberries.
While searching for a white cake recipe in my cookbooks, I was surprised to find that I actually owned a book completely about cupcakes called Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. I knew that using this book would go against one of Edwin’s core values (thou shalt not use box cake mix), but because I was in a pinch for time and I enjoy thwarting Edwin, I went for it.
Flipping through the first few chapters I found some neat suggestions including 5 ways to fill a cupcake. One of the suggestions is to place a large berry on top of the batter before baking – fitting nicely with my theme of berries and white cake. I also wanted to trim at least a little fat from this recipe, so I decided to top off the cakes with a dollop of fat free cool whip instead of buttercream frosting – something like mini strawberry and blueberry shortcakes. Unfortunately for me the grocery store had other ideas, and they weren’t carrying very impressive blueberries. But blackberries are just as good, if not better, right?
In addition to box cake mix (sorry, Edwin), the batter called for other ingredients such as milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and white chocolate chips. The white chocolate chips sounded amazing to me as an addition to the batter, but they gave me trouble. I had to work quickly and make sure not to let the melted white chocolate sit, because after only a minute the smooth mixture hardened into large chunks.
Adding a berry to the top of the batter before baking was also problematic. I tried it a few different ways, sometimes hiding a thin slice of strawberry or a blackberry inside the batter and sometimes leaving it on top. The cupcakes with strawberry slices had to cook for an even longer time than the blackberry cakes – approximately 22 minutes. The cook time for all of the cupcakes was a little tricky, and on my very first batch a few of the cakes just completely sunk in the middle.
Ghost Baker’s Tips to Avoid Trouble at the Polls:
Work quickly to avoid having your white chocolate harden and ruin your batter. Make sure it’s fully incorporated into the batter. If you’d like to add a berry filling, stick to either small blueberries or blackberries or just a half berry. Set it gently on top of the leveled batter right before it goes in the oven. Adjust your cook time as needed, but make sure the area around the berry slightly springs back when you touch it lightly after taking it out of the oven. Make sure there are no pockets of uncooked batter.
Red, White and Cupcakes with Berry Filling
adapted from White on White Cupcakes in Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor
24 Paper Liners for cupcake pans
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 package white cake mix, extra moist
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries or blackberries (approximately)
1 container of cool whip for frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 and line°F and line your cupcake pans. Set aside.
Place the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 50 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir with a rubber spatula until the chips are smooth. Set aside.
Mix cake mix, milk, oil, egg, egg whites, vanilla, and melted white chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a stand mixer or electric mixer on low for 1 minute, then medium for 2 more minutes.
Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 measuring cup, scoop batter into your lined cups, filling it approximately two thirds of the way. Level your mix with a spoon. Lay a small berry or half a berry in the center of each cake; do not push down.
Bake approximately 22 minutes, checking after 20 minutes to make sure your cakes don’t burn. They should be light golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. The batter surrounding the berry should not be runny.
Cool for 15 minutes, then top with a dollop of cool whip and decorate with berries as desired.