The bakery's cupcake is on the left - mine's on the right - you can prolly tell that.
Why is my cupcake pink?
Well, they were sold out of the "Strawberry Cheesecake cupcake" I usually buy, so I bought a plain one. But, the strawberry one is the cake I strove to recreate.
This challenge took two days and four test batches...lots of notes.
First had to get some strawberry flavor into the cake. I decided to use a boxed cake - even Alton Brown has admitted to using them - but I replaced the water with orange, strawberry, banana fruit juice. That seemed to work well, the batter tasted good. I tossed in some food coloring to give a hint to the eater that there would be a fruit flavor (and to match the original cupcake.)
First batch - Was mush...and I learned that the cream cheese filling needed some extra time to cook. Plan for the next batch? I could leave them in the oven longer, or...I could simply let carry-over heat do the job by leaving the cakes in the pan. I believe that would be an example of conduction - the transfer and distribution of heat energy from atom to atom within a substance. For example, a spoon in a cup of hot soup becomes warmer because the heat from the soup is conducted along the spoon. In this case, the pan and the outer shell of the cupcake transferring heat to the inside gooey filling ;)
Second batch - Cream cheese filling cooked through. Yes!
But, there was a different issue. No!
The filling sank to the bottom of the cupcake. Grr.
So, the density of the filling was higher than that of the cake. You know, I would have paid more attention in science class if they included classes on cupcakes! Plan for next batch? Well, I can mess with the filling's recipe or try to increase the firmness of the cake.
Third batch - I cooked the cakes for 5 minutes before piping the filling into each cup. Improvement. But, filling still sunk. Geesh. There's a delicate balance here - getting the filling to remain on the top/middle and still cook through.
Fourth batch - Cooked the cakes for 10 minutes, piped filling in leaving a good amount on top. (In previous batches the pink had almost completely surrounded the filling. But, I decided that part of the reason the filling wasn't cooking well was due to the moisture not having a chance to escape. It was volcano-ing out during cooking and creating a blow-hole. I figured, I could just create an escape hatch right off the bat.) I also extended the cooking time until the cream cheese filling turned a light brown on top. Then pulled them out of the oven, and again, left them in the pan, allowing them to continue cooking.
Aha! I think we have a winner!
My cupcakes are still slightly smaller, so for the plan for the next batch?
I will fill the cup about 3/4 full with cake. (And, I want to try chocolate cake with cream cheese filliing.) Other than that, I think it's a pretty good recreation of the bakery original. And, it's cheaper... and I have full control over what goes inside.
The best part? Well, I now have breakfast for a month. Good thing cupcakes freeze well. I love it when plan comes together. :)