Happy 4th of July everyone!
If you’re grilling out today (and with JP’s rib recipe, how could you not?) the only thing you’re probably missing is an awesome dessert — like one of those desserts that has everyone at the party go “Woah! What is that?” Well, don’t you worry, because in honor of the 4th, I’ve got a special twist on two traditional favorites to share with you today.
My new favorite baking book this summer has got to be “Bake it in a Cupcake” by Megan Seling. She comes up with these awesome combinations to take an ordinary cupcake above and beyond by giving it an awesome inside — fruits, candy, mini-cakes, pies, you name it. When I saw the chocolate cupcake with a cherry pie filling, I put it on my to-do list right away (because Mr. Bison adores cherries).
The only problem for me is that I’ve got the kind of kitchen that doesn’t get along with long recipes and wants to destroy all good summer projects — like, it’s a million degrees in there on a nice day. So, because of this dilemma, I’ve been looking for ways to make semi-complex recipes into quick and easy recipes that will get me in and out of hell’s kitchen with a great dessert and a sweat-free brow.
For this recipe, I decided to experiment with making store bought cake mix and frosting taste like homemade. I went through a LOT of other blogs looking for a good balance and I was happy with the results!
Slightly adapted from Bake it in a Cake
For the mini cherry pies:
1 batch of pie crust dough (I used a quicky Jiffy mix, but you can also buy pre-made or use your own favorite recipe for pie crust)
1/2 cup cherry pie filling
Preheat the oven to 375 and grease your mini muffin tins. You’ll wanna roll out your pie crust dough (just like if you were making a regular pie) until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick.
Now, based on the size of my mini muffin tins, a little shot glass was almost the ideal size for the pie crust!
I cut out 36 small circles and then began assembling my mini pies — a piece of pie crust on the bottom, a decent amount of cherry pie filling, and a piece of pie crust on top.
And I’ve gotta give props to Giant Eagle for having a pre-made pie filling that DID NOT contain high fructose corn syrup! Pleasantly surprised to find that.
My mini muffin tins were so shallow that it made it difficult to seal the pie pieces together — which is not a huge deal! These mini pies are going inside a cupcake, so they by no means have to look pretty. But, if you don’t like the awkward piece of dough on top, I also made a few that were open-pie (without the top) and they turned out just as delicious!
Anyway, bake these babies for about 13-15 minutes. When they’re done, let them cool for a bit before you’re ready to put them in the cupcakes.
For the cupcakes:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 stick of butter, melted
2/3 cup of almond milk
You’ll notice my ingredients differ slightly from what’s on the box. The extra egg and use of double butter instead of oil really helps the batter to whip up nicely so that you have an almost fluffy batter as opposed to a heavy, wet batter. The almond milk is also a perfect substitute for water (plus it tastes great and is good for you so…!).
Once you’ve mixed your batter, go ahead and place your muffin liners into the tin. I used a small ice cream scoop and put about a heaping tablespoon of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner. You’ll want to take your mini cherry pie and set it down in the center (you can push it down ever so slightly — you don’t want it to be at the bottom of the cupcake, but just low enough that the batter comes up along the sides a bit).
You’ll then cover the mini cherry pie with another dollop of batter. This will look dangerously close to 3/4 full, but don’t worry!
Turn your oven down to 350 and bake for 22-25 minutes.
For the frosting:
1 can of vanilla frosting
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Now, again, this is a quick and easy way to whip up store bought frosting into something that tastes homemade. You know I love my buttercreams, but hell’s kitchen does not, so… this is my summer alternative! You’ll throw all of your ingredients into your mixer and blend them together for about 20-30 seconds — you’ll start to see the difference right away but be careful not to over mix! Once the cupcakes have cooled completely (and remember the outsides might feel cool, but you’ve got a nice warm cherry pie in the center), frost away and enjoy!