When it comes to making cupcakes, no ingredient is out of the question, except vegetables (well, except carrots and zucchinis; they’re exempt from the rule). I’ve made a few out of the ordinary cupcakes including my oatmeal cream pie cupcakes and cupcakes with my Circus Animal frosting.
I purchased a box of Pop Tarts for the sole purpose of using them in a dessert. Secretly, I knew it would be SO hard not to eat them all before they made it into these cupcakes. I remember eating Pop Tarts for breakfast growing up; I preferred them heated in the toaster oven myself.
Just thinking about it now has my mouth watering. So naturally I snuck a few bites of the strawberry Pop Tarts before I tossed them into the mixer.
For the cupcake, I decided to stick with a traditional vanilla cupcake mix, to which I added a hint of vanilla extract and some sour cream. I love to use sour cream in my cake mixes because it helps give them that extra moist texture.
People always ask what my secret is to keeping the cupcakes soft. The answer is always to use sour cream. I can’t take credit for this though; I learned this through making various recipes from the book, The Cake Mix Doctor.
I’ve also filled these cupcakes with a little bit of strawberry jam for the perfect Pop Tart effect. It adds a little bit of sweetness to the vanilla cupcake and is a nice little surprise for when you bite into it.
These cupcakes are really all about the frosting because the frosting is loaded with Pop Tarts. Booyah! The frosting is a bit sweet, but once it’s added to the cupcake, the combination is unreal. In the frosting you’ll find a hint of strawberry jam as well to amplify the Pop Tart effect. To decorate them, top them with another piece of Pop Tart and some sprinkles. Sprinkles make everything better.
Everyone I told about these strawberry pop tart cupcakes got a confused look on their face, but once they tried them, they were instantly going in for a second bite.
Pop Tart Cupcakes Recipe
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 box vanilla cake mix
- ingredients listed on the box, eggs, oil, water
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 2/3 cup strawberry jam
For the Frosting:
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups
- 6-7 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, or milk
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 8 strawberry pop tarts, divided, 4 sleeves
For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine a box of vanilla cake mix with the ingredients as listed on the box. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 cup light sour and beat until all ingredients are well combined.
Line two 12-cavity muffins pans with liners. Divide the cupcake batter evenly between each liner.
Bake the cupcakes at 350°F for 15-18 minutes. Check the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your cupcakes are done.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Once cooled, hollow out the center of each cupcake with the cupcake corer or a knife about halfway down through the cupcake.
Use a knife or spoon to fill the center of each cupcake with 1-2 teaspoons of the strawberry jam.
For the Frosting:
Soften butter in the microwave for 10 seconds then flip the butter over to the opposite side. Microwave again for 5 seconds.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter for 3-4 minutes until the butter is fluffy and well whipped.
Slowly add the powdered sugar 2 cups at a time. I suggest reducing the mixer speed so the powdered sugar does not fly everywhere. Once incorporated, increase the mixing speed to medium-high and beat for 30 seconds.
As you are adding the powdered sugar, the frosting will become thick and crumbly. Alternate adding the heavy whipping cream, strawberry jam and vanilla extract in between the cups of powdered sugar. Toss in the pinch of salt last.
Once all of the ingredients have been added, beat at a high speed for 60 seconds so the frosting becomes is nice and light.
Chop 4 of the pop tarts into small pieces, about the size of a quarter. Toss the pop tarts into the mixer and beat into the frosting for 30 to 60 seconds until well incorporated.
Use a large cookie scoop (about 3 tablespoons size) and scoop the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes. Tap the cupcake on the counter a couple of times to adhere the frosting to the top of the cupcake.
Cut remaining 4 pop tarts into triangles to place on top of the cupcakes before serving.
Keep the cupcakes covered in an airtight container until serving.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Le Creuset Revolution Spatula
USA Pans 12-cup Muffin Pan
Breville Hand Mixer