I’m Jianne Carlo and I’ll be your host for this HOT— yeah, I’m being snarky—contest. If you have any questions, drop me an email (, or leave a comment below. Let’s hit the contest ground running!

Summer’s hot and the kitchen’s hotter, so the Nice Girls are looking for great recipes to cool us (and YOU!) down this summer. Our contest runs from AUGUST 4TH – 17TH. We’re posting daily featured recipes on the blog from each of our Nice Girls, but we want you to participate.


Post your own cool-down recipes in the comment section of the featured post. The recipe can be for a drink, an appetizer, an entrée, or a yummy dessert. Each recipe you post enters you to win our GRAND PRIZE OF A $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD at the end of our contest. More recipes = more entries.


At the end of our contest, FOUR lucky readers will be chosen by the Nice Girls for second place prizes, one in each food category. So make your recipes delightful, readers, because we get to vote on the ones we like best. The recipe in each category with the most votes wins a $15.00 AMAZON GIFT CARD prize!

Now for today’s Featured Recipe: Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes from Nice Girl Lara Archer

delectableThese lovely cupcakes are perfect for sharing with a summer sweetheart—they’re all natural (the color comes from the berries themselves), and safe for the gluten-sensitive (I learned to make these from the wonderful Gluten Free on a Shoestring). Plus, you can always find something fun to do with a little extra frosting (wink).

For the strawberry syrup
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the cupcakes
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (Cup4Cup is a great brand)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg (60 g, out of shell) plus 1 egg white (30 g) at room temperature, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (2.7 fluid ounces) homemade strawberry syrup, at room temperature
1/3 cup (2.7 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature

Strawberry Frosting
14 tablespoons (196 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 to 4 cups (400 to 460 g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) strawberry syrup, at room temperature
Milk by the half-teaspoonful at room temperature, as necessary


  • First, make the strawberry syrup. In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the strawberries, sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons water, and mix to combine. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally and adding the remaining tablespoon of water if necessary to prevent the mixture from burning, until the strawberries are softened and the liquid has reduced by about 1/4. Remove from the heat and place the contents of the saucepan in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pass the strawberry syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Set the syrup aside to cool.
  • Make the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, egg white, vanilla, strawberry syrup and milk, mixing to combine after each addition until just combined. Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full with the batter, and shake into an even layer.Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean (about 19 minutes). Remove from the oven and and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling.In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add 3 1/2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and the salt, and beat on low speed until the sugar is absorbed by the butter. Add the strawberry syrup and beat to combine. The frosting should be light and fluffy, and should hold its shape easily when scooped with a spoon. Add more confectioners’ sugar and/or milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Finish the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes generously with the frosting, and top with a small dollop of the remaining strawberry syrup.


Readers, don’t forget to post your favorite recipes in the comments section, now through AUGUST 17TH, for a chance to win our Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon gift card or one of Four $15.00 AMAZON GIFT CARD Prizes! Winners will be announced August 21st!


Lara Archer

The Nice Girls Writing Naughty




  1. Pie #2 =)

    Fresh Strawberry Pie

    prep time 30 min
    total time 4 hr 0 min
    ingredients 7
    servings 8

    1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

    3 pints (6 cups) fresh strawberries
    1 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/2 cup water
    4 to 5 drops red food color, if desired

    1 cup sweetened whipped cream


    Step 1
    Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 15 minutes.

    Step 2
    Meanwhile, in small bowl, crush enough strawberries to make 1 cup. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; stir in crushed strawberries and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. If desired, stir in food color. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    Step 3
    Place remaining strawberries, whole or sliced, in cooled baked shell. Pour cooked strawberry mixture evenly over berries. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours, before serving.

    Step 4
    Just before serving, top pie with sweetened whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

    BLeigh1130 at yahoo dot com

  2. Sounds good! I will have to tell my friend about this one because her son has to eat gluten free stuff.

    Since this has my favorite thing in it, Strawberries,… I shall keep with that theme cuz to me Strawberries scream summertime lol. I have 2 to post today. =)

    Creamy No-Bake Strawberry Pie

    prep time 20 min
    total time 2 hr 20 min
    ingredients 7
    servings 8

    Filling and Topping
    1/3 cup water
    1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    4oz (half of 8-oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
    3 containers (6 oz each) Greek Fat Free strawberry yogurt
    1 1/2 cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
    1 1/2cups sliced fresh strawberries

    1 graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz)

    Step 1
    In 1-quart saucepan, place water; sprinkle with gelatin; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly.

    Step 2
    In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add yogurt and gelatin mixture; beat on low speed until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

    Step 3
    Before serving, garnish pie with additional whipped topping and sliced strawberries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s