The boys and I went strawberry picking this past weekend. It’s one of the main springtime events that Alex, my middle child, looks forward to. I’ll be honest, I look forward to it as well. There is nothing more tantalizing then a freshly picked strawberry hitting your mouth for the first time each spring. Last year the berries were gargantuan and plenty. This year it seems the secret is out. The crowds were en mass on Saturday and the fields were a bit picked over. Despite the conditions, we won’t be deterred. There is still plenty of picking to be had and Alex is demanding a second go at the task. He and I plan to return in the upcoming weeks once the subsequent round of berries have had a chance to ripen.
Most of our picked berries were eaten straight out of the bowl as fast as we could wash and hull them. The few that I managed to pilfer away from my children’s hungry paws were taken with the explicit promise that I would turn them into an after dinner treat worthy of blog sharing. What do you think, does it satisfy the sweet tooth? My family certainly thought so. My husband, who doesn’t normally eat much cream, consumed not one but two of these strawberry filled treats last night.
I had originally planned for the the toffee to be optional. I only added it to my batch because I had an open bag that needed to be dealt with. That and the fact that “coffee” and “toffee” rhyme which makes for a somewhat catchy blog title (yes, it’s the simple things that make me smile). You can still leave them out and the cake will be delicious, but I will say that the added crunch was a welcome addition, at least for this dessert craving momma.
Begin with a stick of butter and some sugar. Cream them together like you mean it and then drop in a couple eggs and some vanilla. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll let your butter come to room temperature before creaming. I claim laziness and lack of time. They’ll still turn out fine if you don’t, they just mix up a bit better if you do.
Add in a half cup of leftover morning coffee, some sweetened condensed milk and stir one last time. Next up, grab a few dry ingredients and place them in a separate bowl.
Combine well and then sift into your wet mixed up mess until incorporated.
… and simply because my mood screamed toffee. Never mess with a woman’s sweet cravings.
Your batter is ready and now it’s time to bake. I prefer cupcake liners because they’re cleaner and prettier, but you can grease and flour a muffin tin as well if you prefer. Whatever method you choose, only fill the cupcake hole 3/4 full and no higher. this will give you nice flat top for your filling. Any higher and you’ll have a muffin top instead of a mini cake.
Slide the pan into the oven and wait for the smell of chocolate goodness to permeate the house. Once finished, pull them out and allow time to cool. Once cooled, reach for your favorite sharp knife and carve out a crater in the center of each cupcake. This is where you’re fabulous filling will be housed in short order.
To compile said filling, simply grab up a blender and mix together a cup full of fresh strawberries halved and hulled…
… along with a half a container of mascarpone, a little vanilla and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Set that to the side and, in a mixer, spin up a quick batch of homemade whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and bring on the cupcakes.
Spoon a healthy dollop into each holed out cake and top with either fresh chopped berries or toffee bits. And just in case you’re wondering what to do with the cupcake cut outs and the extra filling, I’ve heard from the 7 and under crowd that personalized trifles are a winning ticket.
So I’m curious, what are your favorite ways to eat strawberries aside from fresh off the stem?
Coffee Toffee Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Whipped Topping
Yield: Makes about 18 Cupcakes
Total Time: 45 min
For the Cupcakes:
1 Stick Unsalted Butter (8 Tbsp or 1/2 Cup)
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup Coffee
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
4 Oz. Toffee Bits + a handful more for sprinkling over the tops (Optional)
For the Filling:
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries, hulled and halved
4 Oz. Mascarpone Cheese
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 Cup Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup White Sugar
Cream together the butter and the two sugars.
Add in the eggs and the vanilla and mix together.
Pour in the milk and the coffee and combine once more.
In a separate bowl add in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking salt and salt.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until incorporated.
If desired, stir in the toffee bits.
Pour batter into prepared muffin tins filling no more than 3/4 full.
Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Once cooled, grab a knife and slice out the top center of your cupcakes.
To make the filling, blend together the fresh strawberries, mascarpone, lemon juice and 1 tsp of the vanilla.
Put together a quick batch of whipped cream by whipping in a bowl the heavy cream, sugar and remaining vanilla.
Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Spoon a healthy amount of the filling into the cut out center of each cupcake.
Garnish with chopped strawberries or toffee bits if desired.
Use the cut out centers and the remaining filling to create a few individual trifles if desired. Simply layer cupcake centers, filling, fresh strawberries/toffee bits and repeat.