Independence Day Cupcakes
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 (1 ounce) package instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
2 cups skim milk
1 (7 ounce) container light whipped cream
12 thinly sliced strawberries
or as needed
24 fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
With a pastry cutter, chop the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly, then beat in the egg whites, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of milk to make a smooth batter. Spoon batter into the paper-lined cupcake cups, filling them about 2/3 full.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 26 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
In a bowl, beat together the pudding mix and 2 cups of skim milk until the pudding is thickened, about 2 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes to finish thickening. Spoon the pudding into a pastry bag with a medium tip.
To fill and decorate cupcakes, use a thin paring knife to cut a small hole, about 1/2 inch in diameter, into the top of a cupcake. Insert the knife about 3/4 of the way down into the cupcake, and remove the core. Use the pastry bag to fill the hole with pudding, piping in enough pudding to fill the hole flush with the top of the cupcake. Frost the tops of the filled cupcakes with light whipped cream, spreading it into a smooth layer.
Place a blueberry in the center of each cupcake. Around the blueberry, arrange 5 slices of strawberry, pointed ends outward, to make a star shape. Store in refrigerator.
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