Strawberry Shortcakes - Made with Vanilla Cupcakes

Strawberry Goodness:

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cupcakes are cooked and cooled.

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.  In a large stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl to thoroughly combine all the ingredients together.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the cream mixture, along with the milk, and mix until a smooth batter is formed.  Use a large ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners. Bake for 14-18 minutes until golden brown and the cupcakes spring back to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Take the time to whip up some fresh whipped cream.  That canned spray stuff just doesn't taste very good!  Pour some heavy cream in a bowl and beat until soft peaks form.  Sweeten with powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  Whip until combined and fluffy.

When the cupcakes have cooled, it's time to build your strawberry shortcake tower.  Use a serrated knife to cut the top off a cupcake.  Set the top aside.  Use the knife to cut a circular well out of the center of the cupcake.  This will create a place for all those strawberries and juice to hang out.  Eat the cupcake circle you remove to make sure it tastes good!  Fill the cupcake with strawberry juice and strawberries.  Top with fresh whipped cream.  Replace the cupcake top.  Add more whip cream and strawberries.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!
2 cups flour2 tsp baking powder