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Valentine's Poke Cupcakes

Contest Photo by: mehndimegs
Madison, WI
Category: Cupcakes


Get your Valentine to notice you with these light, strawberry shortcake-like cupcakes! A light cake is tinged pink and flavored with strawberries, infused with strawberry gelatin, filled with a strawberry gelatin and real strawberries, and topped with a light and airy whipped topping. Decorate them any way you wish to impress your loved ones (or the ones you hope to love!)


Strawberry Gelatin Filling
1 tub strawberries in sugar (in the frozen section), thawed
1 small box strawberry gelatin (like Jell-O)
1 cup boiling water, divided
1 8 oz. tub strawberries in sugar (in the frozen section), thawed

18 valentines themed-cupcake cups
1 box white cake mix
1/2 cup sour cream
3 egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Reserved strawberry juice from frozen strawberries
1 tsp vanilla

1 small box strawberry gelatin
1 cup water

Frosting & Decoration
1 tub whipped topping
red, pink, and white sprinkles
1 piece of paper and scissors

How to Make

  • 1. Make the filling
    Strain the strawberries, reserving the liquid to use in the cake recipe; set aside. Prepare 1 box Gelatin according to the directions using 1 cup of boiling water, but do not add the cold water. Place the Gelatin in the refrigerator until it is just about set, about an hour. (While waiting, you can make the cupcakes.) Add in the strained strawberries to the cold, almost-set gelatin and mix with a whisk to incorporate the fruit. Place back into the fridge to set fully.

  • 2. Make the cupcakes
    Preheat the oven to the temperature prescribed by the cake mix box you are using. Prepare cupcake pans by lining them with (Valentines themed) cupcake liners and set aside. Place the cake mix, butter, and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until combined. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, strawberry juice, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the cake mix mixture slowly and beat for about one and a half minutes. Using an ice cream spoon, place one scoop of the batter into the prepared cupcake pans and place into the oven. Bake according to the directions on the cake mix box. Cupcakes are done when they spring back lightly when pressed quickly with a finger. Remove them from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

  • 3. Poke and infuse the cupcakes
    Once the cupcakes are cool, use an apple corer, a melon baller or a measuring spoon and remove the middle of the cupcake, leaving a well. DO NOT remove the center clear to the bottom; leave some cake on the bottom! Set the cake middles aside for a snack later on. Put the hallowed out cupcakes into a vessel that will fit into your refrigerator.

    Boil 1 cup of water. Put the strawberry gelatin powder into a 2-cup measuring cup. When the water boils, add it to the gelatin and whisk for about one minute.

    Working quickly, pour about 1 tablespoon of the liquid gelatin into each hallowed-out cupcake. Once you have done every cupcake and have more gelatin left over, go back and distribute evenly. Place the cupcakes into the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours.

  • 4. Fill and Decorate the cupcakes
    Once the filling and cupcakes are chilled completely, remove them from the fridge. Using a teaspoon, fill each of the cupcake wells with the strawberry fruit and gelatin mixture. You will have leftovers! Frost each of the cupcakes with a generous dollop of whipped topping.

    To decorate, use a piece of paper and scissors to make a heart-shaped, X, or O template. Place over a cupcake and fill in with the sprinkles. Remove the stencil. Repeat with each of the cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator.

  • Tips for Taking a Great Photo:
    • Avoid clutter. Keep the background simple -- your cupcake or sweet treat is the star!
    • Daytime, natural light is best. If your area is bright enough, try taking the photo without the flash.
    • Upload a horizontal photo. If you crop the image on your computer, make sure you keep a landscape 4:3 aspect ratio.
    • For best results, make your image 1200x900 (or "save for web").
    • With a digital camera, you can take as many photos as possible and choose the best one. Have fun!