Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Place baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans. (Do not grease.) Prepare angel food cake batter according to package directions using a paddle attachment. Stir in vanilla bean paste. Spoon batter into baking cups, filling completely full.
Bake at 325° on middle oven rack 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
Gently run a knife around edges of cupcakes to loosen. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes).
Scoop out centers of cupcakes, leaving a 1/2-inch border on bottom and sides. Spoon or pipe Vanilla Bean Custard into centers of cupcakes. Top with strawberries. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish, if desired.
*2 tsp. vanilla extract may be substituted.
Note: We tested with a number of brands of cake mix and preferred Duncan Hines Angel Food Premium Cake Mix.
The family really enjoyed this for Easter dessert! I made some modifications: I used an angel food cake pan instead. I added more Vanilla Bean Paste to the custard because the flavor was too faint for me with just 2 tsp. I love vanilla flavor so I added more until it tasted to my preference...probably another 2 tsp. I also flavored the angel food cake with 1 tsp of almond extract. I removed a tunnel of cake and added the filling, leaving about half an inch that I filled with halved strawberries. I made the cake and custard the night before and assembled it about 2 hours before we ate it.
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