Happy Saturday to you all! I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but it looks like it’s getting ready to storm here in SC. But you won’t hear me complaining – we desperately need the rain!!
If any of you are wondering, our little baby boy is doing well! I’ve finally felt him moving around in my belly!! Unfortunately, whenever I have someone else place their hand on my stomach to feel him, he stops moving – guess he’s got a little performance anxiety ;-P
I am 25 weeks right now and have my Glucose test scheduled on Monday – yikes! Hope it turns out well!
Enough baby talk, let’s get to the cupcake recipe!!! This past Tuesday, hubby and I met with our small group Bible study. Typically, a couple of us bring little treats to snack on. Since it’s now summer and school is out, I have the time to actually explore recipes and try new ones out! I had recently pinned this recipe and was really excited to try it!
Although this is a GREAT recipe, I thought it needed a little something more. Even though the cupcake doesn’t have any actual cheesecake in it, I wanted to add a little extra “something” to amp up the cheesecake-like look/flavor. What better way than by adding a graham cracker crust?!
For the crust, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line your pans with cupcake liners (I had some leftover red and white polka dot ones – as you’ll see in the picture at the end). This recipe yielded 20 cupcakes for me, but I did use a little more batter than was probably necessary in each cupcake. If you need more than 20, you’ll definitely want to not use as much batter for each cupcake well.
To make the graham cracker crust, you’ll need one package of graham crackers (that’s nine graham cracker rectangles total), 6 tbsp of melted butter, and 1/3 cup sugar. In a large ziploc bag, crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin until they are very fine and there are no clumps. Then in a medium sized bowl, mix the crumbs, butter, and sugar all together until evenly combined. Take a tablespoon and scoop a nice heap of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner and press down (with your fingers or with the tablespoon). Bake for 5 – 7 minutes (I baked mine for 5 minutes). While they are cooling down, you can make the cake part!
Once your graham cracker crust is done baking, turn down the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together a box of white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines), 3 egg whites, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup mayo (I used Helman’s), and 1/2 of a 3.4 oz box of jello instant cheesecake pudding. As Toni expresses on the website mentioned above, “I don’t measure this exactly, I just pinch half of the bag and pour that half in, then save the other half for the icing.” And that is exactly what I did too!
I used my ice cream scoop (which I don’t actually use for ice cream, only cupcakes) and scooped almost a full “scoop” of batter into each cupcake liner. *Like I said before, if I hadn’t used as much batter for each liner, I would have had a full two dozen.
Bake for 16 – 18 minutes (I think I baked mine for 17 or 18 minutes – can’t remember exactly). Just make sure that if you insert a toothpick, it should come out clean! Allow them to cool completely.
You all know I am a huge fan of filled cupcakes, so I couldn’t pass up filling these cupcakes with something. And since these are cherry cheesecake cupcakes, it was only befitting to fill them with cherries (you’ll need a can of cherry pie filling for this step). But before you can fill your cupcakes, you’ll need to remove the middle first! If you have a cupcake corer (which is what I love and use), core the cupcake. If you don’t have a cupcake corer, you can use a knife and remove the center of each cupcake. Then with the cherry pie filling, fill ’em up! I filled my centers with 3 cherries each (and some of the gooey cherry sauce).
Now is the time for the yummy frosting (the best part, in my opinion)! You’ll need 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 block (8 oz) of cream cheese, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3 – 5 cups of powdered sugar, and the other half of the jello instant cheesecake pudding.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the vanilla, a cup of powdered sugar, and the jello instant cheesecake pudding – mix until smooth. Add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time until you reach your desired consistency and flavor. If I remember correctly, I think I used 3 or 4 cups of powdered sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk (or heavy whipping cream). If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.
Although the frosting is a little grainy (I blame the instant pudding), it tastes fantastic! And really, the “graininess” is not that noticeable (my husband was the only one to mention it). Pipe onto your cupcakes using whatever tip you like.
For the topping, crush (very finely) a few more graham crackers (you don’t need a lot here – only one or two rectangles at most) and sprinkle over the frosting. With the leftover cherry pie filling, spoon some of the cherry sauce on top and add a cherry…and that’s it!
Doesn’t it look scrumptious?! Believe me, it is!!! I took half of these to our Bible study, and the rest I took to a dinner party the next evening – they went fast! Everyone raved over them! 🙂 Another great thing about these cupcakes is that they are versatile! You can use any flavor for the filling/topping – strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, etc! How neat!!!
My husband loved these so much, he requested I make them again for our family’s July 4th celebration next weekend. I’ll keep everything the same, but I’ll use my blue and white polka dot liners instead!
Speaking of July 4th…anyone doing anything special? Hubby and I are going down to Savannah to visit my parents, sister, and her hubby. We’re going to play at the pool, have a cook-out, play games, etc. Looking forward to family time!