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When I had the bake shop I loved doing food shows and dessert bars. There’s something about a table full of mini and bite-sized desserts that I find so appealing. All lined up on a dessert or buffet table, mini desserts not only look decadent but allow guests to sample a little bit of everything. I don’t make wedding cakes for friends anymore, but I still get the odd request to help with a dessert table for their special functions. Even in my own family, when we have gatherings or brunches together with the whole gang, I’m likely to show up with a few smaller mini sized creations.
Since my bakery initially started out as a cupcakery, I often used cupcakes in jars for trifles, parfaits and shortcakes. I would layer cupcakes with icings, flavoured whipped creams and toppings in small jars and line them up in perfect rows for sampling. Mini jar desserts take away any serving requirements too, because all you need to do is attach a little spoon.
Now that spring is here and summer is approaching, I’m loving mini desserts that are made with sweetened cream and market fresh berries. Fresh strawberries and light as air cream are a welcome combination for these days that are getting brighter and longer! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some fresh and bright flavours after a long winter season. The shortcake portion isn’t really a shortcake at all, but a super easy vanilla cupcake recipe, using a mix. The mix has been all doctored up with extra flour, vanilla bean seeds and greek yogurt to make a ridiculously moist cake bursting with vanilla flavour. The best part is that these vanilla cupcakes freeze exceptionally, so that a mini dessert is right at your fingertips!
For a long time now I’ve been saving small jars of every kind. Much to my husbands dismay, we’ve got a closet full of them! When I use up little containers of jam or honey, I always save the jar to use another time. Different sizes and shapes can make for a very pretty dessert table display. And this might sound crazy, especially coming from a baker, but anytime I’m in a specialty shop and see a box of macarons, I scoop them up because I think they are a delicious addition to any dessert. They can make a simple dessert of whipped cream and cupcakes look so elegant.
I’m pretty sure that this season I’ll be making a lot more mini-sized desserts for us all this spring. They are the perfect addition to any table!
Read on for my Mini Strawberry Shortcake Jars Recipe!
Mini Strawberry Shortcake Jars Recipe
*the cupcake recipe will yield 30 cupcakes, but you can make as many servings as you wish and freeze the rest of the cupcakes!
For the vanilla cupcakes:
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1⅓ cup water
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp oil
- Homemade Whipped Cream (Find our simple whipped cream recipe here)
- Fresh strawberries
- Chopped pistachios
- Vanilla macarons for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 30 muffin cups with paper liners (or use two muffin trays and refill as needed).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed for a minute to combine.
- Next, Add the vanilla paste, water, yogurt, eggs and oil and mix well to combine.
- Divide the batter amongst the muffin liners. I always use a scoop or a ¼ cup measuring cup to ensure that all of the cupcakes are the same size.
- Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the muffin tins and cool on a wire rack.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, prepare the whipped cream. See our How To Make Whipped Cream post here.
- Remove the liner from a cupcake and place it in the bottom of a small jar. Swirl whipped cream on top and garnish with fresh strawberries, chopped pistachios and a macaron if available. Serve immediately or chill until needed.
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