Let's be honest--cheesecakes take a lot of work to make, especially when compared to a batch of cupcakes. You've got the endless beating of the cream cheese before and after adding your sugar and eggs. You've got the repetitious scraping of the bowl. You've got the foil and the water bath and the hour of baking and the hour of cooling and the hours of refrigerating. For someone who appreciates a little instant gratification, a cheesecake is not an apt choice!
What's more, I don't necessarily like the way cheesecake tastes or feels in my mouth, but I do like the concept of strawberry cheesecake, especially if the strawberry portion overwhelms the cheesecake part. With that in mind, I made some cupcakes that would hopefully mimic everything I love about strawberry cheesecake and omit all that I dislike.
The cupcakes are a dense vanilla pound cake, the filling is a simple cream cheese frosting mixed with a bit of strawberry pie filling, and the frosting is a buttercream flavored with strawberry jam. There's plenty of strawberry flavor, just a wee taste of cream cheese, and all kinds of sweetness--just what I like. Some might argue that I've done just as much work on these as I would on a cheesecake, and to these people I say, "You're absolutely right." However, I like the end result much, much better.
Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
(makes about 18 cupcakes)
1-1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream cheese filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry pie filling
Strawberry buttercream frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside.
With a mixer in a large bowl, cream butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream.
Scoop the batter into each cupcake liner, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in tin for 15 minutes. Remove from tin onto a cooling rack.
To make the cream cheese filling, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the vanilla. Mix in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, then fold in the pie filling. To make the frosting, with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after both additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy. Add vanilla and jam, and beat until frosting is smooth.
To fill the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole (and immediately eat the cone)(after schmearing it with frosting, of course) and carefully squirt or spoon the cream cheese filling inside. Apply frosting generously to cupcakes and devour.