Ninja, I blend together 5 strawberries, a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a cup of coconut milk. Starting my day the healthy way gives me the energy and nutrients I need to make it through my day without getting that mid morning fatigue. For lunch, I throw together a spinach salad with strawberries, grilled chicken and a light lemon poppy vinaigrette dressing. Eating that many strawberries, means a quart lasts me no longer that two days. Fresh from the grocery store, I just brought home 4 pounds of strawberries! It's only appropriate that this week's recipe would feature this popular red fruit.
I recently discovered a bag of candy sticks that I forgot I had so I thought it was the perfect time to try another attempt at cake pops! When creating a flavor combination, I wanted to pick something light and airy that would compliment the strawberry. A lemon cake was my first thought (plus I had a box mix in stock!). For the pops, I combined the lemon cake with a strawberry frosting, dipped in white chocolate and decorated with colored sanding sugar. I know I've said this before, but dipping things in chocolate is not my forte! From the melting, to the dipping and drying, I just can't get it right! I've actually been thinking about signing up for a class called The Art of Chocolate at our local candy store. Hopefully with some professional instruction, I can master the technique. Despite the chocolate challenge, I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the way the pops turned out. While they are not perfect, the imperfections are easily hidden by colorful decorations.
For the cupcakes, I simply reserved a portion of the lemon cake batter that I made for the pops and divided it evenly among three jumbo cupcake liners. Initially the cupcakes were not in my baking plan, but I found these liners in my supply closet and thought they were perfect for the flavor combination. Topped with a fresh strawberry buttercream frosting, I came up with the idea to use sliced strawberries to create a flower design on each cupcake. A cake ball decorated with yellow sanding sugar was used to create the center of the flower. I was so excited with the end result, they turned out so pretty! Once summer rolls around, I'm thinking of re-creating this idea in a strawberry shortcake version...maybe for 4th of July?!
Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes and Cake Pops
For the Cake Pops
1 box Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix
1 Can Pillsbury Strawberry Frosting
24 Candy Sticks
1 bag Baker's White Chocolate Baking Chips
Sanding Sugar or other decorations as desired
-Mix and bake the cake as directed on the back of the box
-Let the cake cool for approximately 20 minutes
-While the cake is still slightly warm, crumble into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl (try using a hand mixer to crumble the cake!)
-Add the container of strawberry frosting and mix until well combined
-Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper
-Insert a candy stick into each cake ball
-Place in the freezer until firm
-Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave
-Dip each cake pop into the chocolate mixture and coat entirely
-Decorate as desired and place into the freezer until chocolate has harden
For the Cupcakes
-Reserve a portion of the lemon cake mix, enough to fill three jumbo cupcake liners
-Bake according to directions
-To make the frosting, mix 1/2 cup shortening, 1/2 stick butter (softened), 2 cups confectioner's sugar, 2 tbsp milk, 3 large strawberries diced (make sure the strawberries are diced small enough to fit through the tip of the piping bag)
-Using a piping bag, top each cupcake with a generous amount of buttercream frosting
-Slice 4 large strawberries length wise and top each cupcake with 5 slices, forming a flower design
-Place a cake ball in the center of each design
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