Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling

Somebody around here had a birthday last week. Audra turned 1 on Friday. Amazing how quickly a year has gone by! I have been looking forward to making a girl birthday cake, since I made Conner his first birthday cake. Many months ago I came across some small cake pans, I ordered them knowing I would be using them to make her a cake at some point. It was very difficult to frost, but turned out cute and she was our most destructive 1-year-old eater.

But the rest of us needed a treat, so I combined a bunch of recipes and came up with these delicious cupcakes. I definitely think I will use more filling next time, but they were a hit. Oh, and I could have been much generous with the frosting - I was worried about running out. Turns out I had quite a bit left over! I kind of feel like I've been on an episode of "Cupcake Wars" (on the Food Network), so I think I'm done with cupcakes for awhile. Enjoy!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy.

Beat in the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts until mixture is smooth. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until almost combined. Add buttermilk and stir, again, until almost combined. Add the rest of the flour and stir until all ingredients are mixed in.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool before filling.

Strawberry Filling
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese, chilled (I used cream cheese)
1/2 cup thawed and drained frozen strawberries (I used fresh strawberries)
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a food processor combine the mascarpone cheese, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Process the mixture until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Push the tip gently into the bottom of a cupcake and squeeze in the strawberry mixture until the cupcake plumps. Continue with the remaining cupcakes.

The Best Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter (soft)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons of whipping cream

Cream butter and powdered sugar together. Then add vanilla and whipping cream!

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