Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pantry Raid! - Strawberry Cupcake Mix from Aldi

Strawberry Cupcake Mix - Aldi
Let's bake something! It'll be a nice change of pace from all the ready-to-eat snack foods I've been posting. (Plus I got some really cute cupcake wrappers that came with matching toothpick flags that I've been dying to use.) Also, I want an excuse to link a ton of Cake songs into a, here we go!
Normally I'm a baked goods snob and I prefer to make all my sweets from scratch, but this somehow found it's way into my pantry. I can't really remember when I bought this or why, but I'm guessing it was on clearance and cheap enough to make me forget my snobbishness. 

Looking at the box, the Baker's Corner logo is obviously a cheap imitation of the one for Betty Crocker, but the food imagery is top notch! We have yummy looking cupcakes on a fancy cake stand, with matching paper cups, patriotic sprinkles, and fresh fruit. It's A+ food staging. If the logo and text in the top left corner were a bit more polished this would easily pass as a name-brand box mix.
The instructions on the backside are just as well done. Not only are they visually pleasing, but they're easy to follow, and use standard ingredients, but unlike most box mixes, this one calls for fresh fruit. It's not a revolutionary addition, and I'm sure you could add chopped fruit to any boxed cake mix to kick things up a notch, but it's not something I would have immediately thought to do on my own. (In my defense, it's been a long week.)

Mixing up the batter was super easy. Once everything was combined I scooped spoonfuls into little paper cups and popped them into my oven at the recommended temperature for the recommended time. It doesn't get any easier than that! I checked on them when the timer went off but they were still not cooked all the way through. It took an extra 10-15 minutes for the cupcakes to fully bake in my oven, but that didn't bother me at all.

While they cooled, I started whipping up the icing packet. The icing came together just as easily, and the box included a piping bag! Very nice touch. Although it doesn't come with cupcake wrappers or sprinkles. (That would have been even better.)
I started scooping the icing into the piping bag...but there was so much of it! This box mix only make 12 cupcakes, but the icing is enough for 24! What can I do with all this leftover icing? I generously topped each of the cupcakes but there was enough left in the bowl to completely refill the piping bag. As I type, the piping bag full of frosting is sitting in my fridge. (Because I hate wasting anything.) I'll have to figure out something to do with it...any ideas?

Once iced, I topped my cupcakes with some rainbow sprinkles I had on-hand and a paper toothpick flag. How stinking cute is that?" Pinterest, eat your heart out.

I peeled back the wrapper and took a bite, the cake was light and fluffy in the middle and a little crispy on the bottom. It tastes like a standard vanilla cake mix, but when you hit a little piece of fresh strawberry it brings this box mix cupcake up to a strawberry-shortcake-like level. It's really refreshing!
In spite of being pink, the icing is not strawberry flavored. At least, not that I can tell. You mix up a packet of powder with a block of cream cheese and a stick of butter. As the ingredients mix together it turned a bright pink color, but it tastes like a plain ol' cream-cheese icing to me. Cream cheese icing isn't one of my favorites, but I will say this tastes incredibly rich and buttercream-like for something that came with a box mix. It's infinitely better than the stuff that comes in a plastic tub.

All-in-all, for a boxed mix? This was really yummy and it was a hit with my family and friends. My boyfriend loved them so much he asked me to make these for him again! Unfortunately, this was a seasonal Aldi item, so who knows if it'll ever return. If it does, i'll definitely re-purchase, but if not? I might try adding fresh strawberries to normal vanilla cake mix from Aldi to see if it'll have the same results.

If you manage to see this in stores, especially if it's on clearance, I highly recommend picking up a box, or two.
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