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Gender Reveal (Surprise!) Cupcakes

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Gender reveal cupcakes!!!These cupcakes hold a secret—- is it a boy, or is it a girl?  The latest trend of having a gender reveal party is SO much fun when the gender is revealed with a yummy dessert!  Plus, I’ve included free printable cupcake toppers to go along with your party theme!

Gender reveal Cupcakes

A few weeks ago, Easybaked featured  a Polka Dot Cake using a Cake pop maker.  It was so much fun that I couldn’t help but think of other ways to use the idea.  These cupcakes are just wonderful– when you bite in the color is seamless- you can’t even tell that the cake pop was baked ahead.  Want to know how to do this?

Here we go:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 white cake mix (for about 18 cupcakes) or 1 white/ one chocolate for a combo and about 36 cupcakes
  • The oil, eggs and water required by your boxed mix(es)
  • Gel food coloring
  • Frosting (I used my buttercream recipe ~double it if you add the second cake mix)

This little chart should help you see how many cupcakes are made with just the white mix and how many are made when you use both a white and chocolate mix (I’m bad with math…I need visuals!!):

Gender reveal cupcakes

DIRECTIONS:

  • Plug in/heat up your cake pop maker
  • Make white cake mix according to box.
  • Take about 3/4 cup (1 1/4 cup for the double batch!) of batter and place it into a smaller bowl.
  • Color the batter using color gel (I like Wilton brand of Gel food coloring because they always come out bright.  Try Aqua or Pink.)
  • Follow the directions on your cake pop maker to use the colored batter to make cake balls.  Helpful hints:  work fast and use a small cookie scoop to evenly spoon batter into cups, and check them- I burnt my 1st batch following the directions!  You should have enough batter to have a practice round and adjust.

Color batter with gelsScoop batter into cake pop maker

  • While cake balls cool, spoon small amounts of your remaining white cake mix into 12-18 cupcake liners in a cupcake tin. (start with 12 and see how much batter you have left for the rest).
  • Spread the batter out along the bottom so you have a thin layer in each liner.
  • Set a cooled cake ball in the center of each liner and carefully scoop batter over the top (I found a medium cookie scoop to make this job MUCH easier!)

    Set cake ball into center of cupcake...Scoop batter over top of cake ball.

  • After your 12 are filled, continue on until you have used up all of your cake batter.
  • Bake at 350F degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • (If you are making the double batch, make your chocolate cake mix while the white cupcakes bake.  Set these up with the cake balls hidden inside the batter and bake for the same amount of time.)
  • Remove from tins immediately and cool on the counter.  Frost and decorate as desired.

Gender reveal cupcakes- two tone frostingPiping two tone icing colors!

Do you see how I piped the two-tone icing colors?  I’m sure there must be a better method than this…I am so not a cake decorator.  It turned out ok- but it was a little fussy to keep equal pressure on both colors at the same time.

The toppers are easy and inexpensive to make.  Simply click here to get a free pdf file of the owl toppers.  Print them on a heavy card stock paper, cut them out and use double sided tape to stick them back to back around a toothpick (one boy owl and one girl, back to back).

It's a boy!!!

It’s a boy!!!

My thoughts:  I love how the final cupcake is….just a cupcake.  It isn’t anything fancy or cream-filled…just a cupcake with a surprise.  These would be fun cupcakes for any party- you could even incorporate them in a game—whoever gets the (__color___) cupcake gets a prize!  I hope these make their way into a party of yours soon!  Enjoy!!! ~r

It's a girl!!!

It’s a girl!!!

Want some other shower ideas from easybaked?  Click on the image to be taken to the recipe.

Gender Reveal CupcakeRaspberry Confetti KissesGender reveal cookiesKool-Aid Truffles!!

Rainbow Cake Roll

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Rainbow Cake Roll

Fun rainbow-colored cake swirled with rich buttercream- a perfect St. Patrick’s Day treat!

I had so much fun making this cake  this cake was torture.

I love cake rolls like crazy, but I could not find a recipe that tasted good AND didn’t crack terribly when rolled up.  I tried 4 recipes and finally settled on plain old cake mix again– it still cracked, but tasted soooo yummy and it was definitely the easiest.

I hesitated to post this, as it is essentially a recipe experiment *fail*, but then I thought it would be a good chance to ask all of YOU if you have a fail-safe vanilla cake roll recipe…?  I love the technique and the colors- I just need a good recipe.

For now, we will go with the cake mix version~

Things to keep in mind if you want to try this recipe:

1. Use my buttercream recipe.  When it is refrigerated it gets nice and hard, cementing your happy little cracked roll together and holding it together even at room temperature.

2. Set aside several hours and take your time.

3. Use color gels.  You will not get the vibrant colors with liquid color.

Honestly, people loved this cake.  Once it is cut you can barely tell it cracked.  I made this one for my friend Dawn’s birthday and it was such a fun and cheery cake.  She only likes white cake with vanilla frosting…this is a great way to spice up that combination with color!

Here we go:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 boxed white cake mix (with oil, water and eggs according to box)
  • Gel icing colors (I use Wilton Brand gels)
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) butter
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3. t. clear vanilla flavoring
  • Cool Whip Topping and sprinkles for garnish.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • Make boxed cake mix, but add just a little less oil and water.  My Pillsbury mix called for 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of oil.  I used 3/4 c. water and 1/4 c. oil instead.  I used the same # of eggs (3)
  • Scoop about 3/4 c. of mix into 6 or 7 small bowls and color as desired.

Pretty cake batter!!!

  • Cover the bottom of a standard jellyroll pan (mine is about 12″ by 17″, and about 1″ deep) with waxed paper- allowing the paper to extend just a bit over each end.
  • Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Spoon each color of batter into a small ziptop bag and gently pipe colors into pan in stripes.  Just settle in and take your time here.  This is a labor of love.  Use paper towel to wipe up drips and remember that you are piping a THIN layer of cake– you don’t want to make it so thick you run out before you get to the end of the pan.  Patience is the key…believe me, I’ve done this 4 times now with different cake recipes and it just takes time.

Pour batter into small ziptopPipe in stripes!Piped cake rolls!

(It also involves a lot of dishes…pretty, colorful, messy dishes.)

Rainbow dishes!

  • Bake your cake at 350F degrees for 12-15 minutes– check often- you can’t roll a crunchy over-baked cake!
  • Remove from oven and place a clean towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar over the roll.  Tip the pan over onto the towel and peel away the wax paper.
  • Gently roll cake up in towel from one short end to the other.

Peel wax paper off of rainbow cakeRoll cake in towel, starting at short end.

  • Refrigerate for one hour.
  • While cake is cooling, make buttercream icing.
  • Put softened butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  • When cake is cooled, gently unroll (here is where the cracking happens…be gentle and patient)
  • VERY carefully, spread buttercream over entire surface of the cake and re-roll.  I had cracks that went the entire length of the cake and still just gently rolled it together, letting the buttercream hold it together.

Buttercream on top!

  • Gently place on a plate and refrigerate until buttercream hardens.
  • Once cake roll has hardened it can be easily moved and cut.  Top it with whipped cream and sprinkles– that helps to hide some of the cracks 😉
Not perfect, but so much fun!

Not perfect, but so much fun!


My thoughts:  I feel a little guilty publishing this on a site called EASYbaked, but I couldn’t resist.  I would make it again- it just makes me smile.  I hope a few of you brave souls will attempt this and enjoy it as much as I did!  Please– if you have a good vanilla cake roll recipe I’d love to hear about it.  You can link to your recipe if it is on a blog, or post the recipe in the comments or in-box message me on the Easybaked Facebook page.  I’m excited to find a way to make this cake “perfect” 🙂

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Other happy rainbow desserts you might like for St. Patricks Day:

Fruit Loop Pie!Skittles cake!Tie-Dye Cake with Blue Raspberry Frosting!Polka Dot Cake!!!

Polka Dot Cake!!!

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Polka Dot Cake!!!It just makes you smile, doesn’t it?  I don’t think I can adequately express how happy this cake makes me.

I made this cake for my friend Nikki’s birthday and it made her happy too…

Happy Birthday!!!                      Surprise!!!!

I simply can’t take credit for the idea behind this cake,  that credit goes to an adorable blog called “Once Upon a Pedestal”.  I can’t even take credit for finding the idea… that goes to my wonderful Pinterest addicted friend Laura.  I can tell you this: it is NOT hard to make.  It does take some time, but it is very easy to put together, and the “wow” factor?  Incredible!

Polka Dot Cake!!!!!!

The 1st question everyone asks is “How did you get the polka dots INSIDE the cake?” They are cake balls.  To make this recipe, you will need one piece of special equipment: a cake pop/ doughnut hole maker.  I feel like I walked by those like 100 times over the holidays in various stores and every time I thought, “I wonder why you would ever buy one of those?”  Now I know!  Here’s the one I got: Bella Sensio Cake Pop Maker

Cake pop maker

There are several brands and varieties- I’m sure they all work great- I would look for one that does 12 at once, just as a time saver!  The good news?  Once you make this cake, your friends will all want to borrow your cake pop maker and you won’t have to store it anywhere!

Are you ready to see how this is done?  Here we go: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 boxed white cake mixes (plus the oil, water and eggs to make them according to the package)
  • You favorite frosting (I used my buttercream recipe, doubled, which you can get by clicking here)
  • Sprinkles or candy to decorate the cake.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Plug in/turn on your cake pop maker to warm it up.
  • Make one of the cakes according to package directions.
  • Divide batter evenly into smaller bowls based on the number of colors you want to use (I did 4)
  • Color the batter using color gels (I love the Wilton brand in particular because it gives such a vivid color)
  • Following the directions for your particular cake pop maker, make cake balls using each of the colors.

(with mine I sprayed it with Pam, used a small (2 tsp) cookie scoop, rapidly scooped batter in and immediately closed the lid.  My directions said 4-5 minutes and they all were burnt to a crisp– about 2 minutes worked perfectly for me.  I just set them out on a plate to cool then…be prepared to experiment a little with this– you will have some extra pops at the end, so its ok if you mess some up!)

Polka Dot Cake Pops

  • While cake balls are cooling, preheat oven to 350F, and make the second cake mix according to package.
  • Spray 3 – 6″ round pans with non-stick spray and set a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each one (to keep your layers pretty!)
  • Spread a thin layer of batter in the bottom of each pan, place cake balls on top in any pattern you choose and divide remaining batter over the top of the balls so they are completely covered.

Assembling a Polka Dot Cake

Ready to bake!

 

 

 

  • Bake layers at 350F degrees for about 30 minutes.  You can use the toothpick test (I recommend it!) but be careful to hit cake and not cake balls….you can kind of tell where they are- they bump up just a bit.
  • When cooked all the way through, tip over on a cake rack to cool completely.
  • Trim, if needed, to flatten layers and use frosting to stack all three layers and cover the entire cake with frosting.
  • Decorate as desired.


Polka Dot Cake!!!!!My thoughts:  I’m not a cake decorator, and my buttercream is a whipped frosting that is OH so yummy, but not very good for a smooth cake surface….it still makes me smile…bumps and all.  You can decorate your cake however you like.  I used Wilton Jumbo Confetti Sprinkles on this one.  I really hope you give this cake a try– if you have any questions about the process just ask!!  — or check out “Once Upon a Pedestal”, as her pictures were very helpful.  She also uses a different type of cake pop pan than I did.  I hope this recipe idea made you smile on this cold winter morning– enjoy!!!!!  ~r

Polka Dot Cake!!!!

Polka Dot Cake Tips

Other Easybaked cake recipes you might enjoy: (click on the photo to see the recipe)

Chocolate Mousse CakeOld fashioned Red velvet cakeStrawberry-Lemonade CakeTie-Dye Cake with Blue Raspberry Frosting!

Fall Acorn Cupcakes

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A rich vegan cupcake recipe topped with vanilla buttercream and a cute little candy acorn.

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24 cupcakes)

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cups oil
  • 2 c. water

For acorns:

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add dry cupcake ingredients together and mix to remove lumps.
  • Add liquids and mix until smooth
  • Divide equally into cupcake liners in muffin tins.
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely and frost with your favorite buttercream recipe (click here for mine) tinted with fall food coloring.
  • Make acorns by melting candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between.  Dip unwrapped hershey kiss in chocolate and attach to bottom of cookie.  Dip butterscotch/peanut butter chip in chocolate and attach to top of cookie.  (Click HERE for more details on making these)
  • When hardened, gently place one acorn on the top of each cupcake.


My thoughts:  Ever since I posted these cute little acorns last fall I’ve wanted to put them on cupcakes!!  This was that day.  The vegan cupcake recipe is SO yummy.  The buttercream frosting isn’t vegan, but you can drizzle your cupcakes with a bit of powdered sugar glaze to keep them a treat for your vegan friends.  You can use the cupcake recipe to make a yummy bundt cake too– and that is PERFECT with a light sugar glaze on top.  I use this cake/cupcake recipe all the time- it is very moist and flavorful.  Enjoy!!!~r

Other recipes you might enjoy (click on the image to be taken to the recipe):

Tie-Dye Cake with Blue Raspberry Frosting

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Swirls of colors plus a blue raspberry frosting make everyone smile when they see this cake!

This recipe is dedicated to my nephew Marshal, who informed me a few weeks ago that today, October 10, 2012 is an important day:  it marks the 2 year anniversary of the release of  “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” TV show.

Confused?  I was!  Apparently this show, targeted toward young girls, has gained a cult following among teenage boys– they call themselves “Bronies”…I guess Bro+ponies= Bronies.  Um…yeah. Learned all of that on Wikipedia… SO Marshal was telling me that he and his friends wanted to make a rainbow cake (for the pony “Rainbow Dash”, of course) to celebrate the day.  The thought of making 6 layers of cake in different colors sounded exhausting, so instead I made 6 colors and just dumped them on top of each other in the same pan.  I love how it turned out!

Here’s how it was made:

INGREDIENTS: (printer friendly recipe)

  • One boxed white cake mix, plus eggs, water and oil to make it according to the box.
  • Icing colors in Purple, Blue, Green, Red, Orange and Yellow.
  • One stick (4 oz.) salted butter at room temp.
  • One stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons raspberry flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Make cake mix according to box (or make your own favorite white cake recipe!)
  • Grease 2- 9 inch cake pans and place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each.
  • Evenly divide batter into 6 bowls (about 1 cup of batter in each)
  • Add icing color gels to color each bowl of batter.
  • Pour 1/2 of the purple batter in the center of one pan.
  • Pour 1/2 of the blue batter into the center of the purple batter (adding the blue will push the purple toward the edges).
  • Continue to pour 1/2 of each color batter into the center using green, yellow, orange and red in that order.
  • In second pan do the same but in the reverse order, starting with the red 1st.
  • Bake at 350 according to package (mine took about 25 minutes)
  • Remove from oven and cool.  Tip over onto a wire cake rack to finish cooling.
  • Make frosting by adding butters, powdered sugar, raspberry flavor and a little blue icing gel color together and beating on high until light and fluffy.
  • Level off the tops of each cake layer and place one layer, cut side up on a serving plate.  Frost the top of this layer.
  • Place the second layer, cut side down on top and frost entire cake.
  • Sprinkle with rainbow sugar or decorate as desired.

ENJOY!!!

My thoughts:  Although this cake was created with Marshal’s celebration in mind, it would be such a fun and colorful addition to any party!!!  Lets hear it for tie-dye rainbow cake!!!!!  Thanks for the idea Marshal!!!

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes topped with ganache and vanilla buttercream– so rich and smooth because they are flour-less (lets hear it for my gluten-free friends!!)!!!  YUM!

Ingredients: (makes about 40 mini cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Ganache:

  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

Frosting:

  • 1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 t. clear vanilla flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate with butter in 30 second increments, stirring between until smooth and creamy.
  • Whisk cocoa powder into melted chocolate.
  • Add egg YOLKS and whisk until smooth.  Set aside.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until foamy.
  • Add sugar gradually to egg whites while beating on high until medium peaks form.
  • Add 1/3 of egg whites to chocolate and mix well- until completely combined and smooth.
  • Add remainder of egg whites and fold in gently until completely incorporated.
  • Spoon batter into mini-cupcake liners in tins and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely. (Cupcakes will rise high in oven and as they cool they will sink and even become a little concave— perfect spot for our yummy ganache to sit!!)
  • To make the ganache, heat chips and whipping cream in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted and smooth.
  • Gently spoon or pipe ganache into the concave top of each cupcake until all ganache is used up.
  • Allow ganache to cool and harden (place in fridge to speed this process up)
  • Make frosting by combining remaining room temperature butters with powdered sugar and vanilla and beating on high until light and fluffy.
  • Pipe frosting on tops of each cupcake, covering the ganache.
  • Decorate as desired.

My thoughts: Usually, I use a cake mix for my cupcakes and focus on the fillings and frostings for that “wow” factor.  The wow factor in these is definitely the cupcakes themselves….wow.  I tried cupcakes made with a flour-less recipe this past weekend in Chicago at Molly’s cupcakes.  (AMAZING!)  I just had to try making them for myself and the reason I made them mini is because they are SO rich and heavy.  A full-size cupcake would be too much.  These cupcakes are definitely worth the extra effort!  The tiny hearts on top I just made on wax paper using Wilton’s candy melts. Click here for some photos of how to pipe designs in chocolate.  Enjoy!!!  -r

Candy Surprise Cake!

Imagine the moment you cut into a cake and pull that first piece out.  Now imagine a waterfall of candy pouring out of the center of the cake.  Every child’s dream come true!  This recipe was inspired by a conversation at work; my friend Mary was telling us how she liked to surprise her kids with candy-filled cakes on their birthdays.  She used a variety of candies and one time actually filled the cake with runny orange frosting and called it a volcano!  I loved the idea and decided to bake my cake in a bowl to make it tall enough to fill (Mary used layers).  What a fun idea for the upcoming Halloween season- the possibilities are as endless as the candy on the shelves!  Here’s how it was made:

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed cake mix (any flavor you’d like- I used confetti)
  • Water, eggs and oil to make mix according to box
  • Candy to fill center of cake (I used Skittles and it took about 1 1/2 cups of candy)
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t. clear vanilla flavor
  • Sprinkles to decorate with if desired.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Prepare cake according to package and pour into a greased and floured 2 quart glass bowl (I used my 2 Quart Batter Bowl from Pampered Chef)
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes- or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Run a knife around edges to loosen, and gently tip out onto a wire cake rack to cool completely.
  • Once cool, trim flat edge even and set on serving plate with dome side up.
  • Cut a round opening in the top of the cake, gently pulling the cake out.  Keep the top layer, but spoon out the core, leaving about an inch of cake at the bottom.

  • Gently pour candy into the center of the cake and place the top back on (like a pumpkin!)
  • Make frosting by beating softened butters, powdered sugar and vanilla on high until light and fluffy. 
  • Frost cake and decorate as desired.

  • Cut a slice and watch the smiles start!

My thoughts:  This is SO much fun to cut into and serve- it made everyone laugh when the skittles started pouring out!  It serves up messy (be prepared to scoop skittles out for each serving).   The Skittles started to get soft inside the moist cake eventually- they still tasted great- but if you want them fresh just serve this within a few hours of making it.  You’ll want to think this through for other candy types as well.  I’m guessing most would be best served right away.  Believe me— it is worth the surprise factor!!!!  Enjoy!!!! -r

9-24-12 My friend Angie from the Czech Republic just sent this picture of her cupcakes using this recipe:

SO fun!  Great job Angie!!  If you want to try a cupcake version of this cake, save some time with a Cupcake Corer to remove the centers!


Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

These rich cupcakes, topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, have a gooey cinnamon roll filling that will leave you wanting cupcakes for breakfast every morning!  These are an absolutely perfect treat for a breakfast party or a brunch!

(makes 24 cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed yellow cake mix (with oil, water and eggs to make according to package)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. ground cinnamon
  • 6 T.  packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar (divided)
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 sticks of salted butter, room temp
  • 2 T. clear vanilla flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make your filling first so it can cool while your cupcakes bake.
  • Place whipping cream, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Set aside to cool (you can place this into the refrigerator if you want to speed the cooling process along.)
  • Make 24 cupcakes according to the directions on whatever box mix you choose  to use. (I like Duncan Hines)
  • Use a small paring knife to cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake.

  • Finish the filling by adding 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the (cooled!) cinnamon/brown sugar/cream mixture.
  • Beat on medium speed until well combined and creamy.
  • Place filling in a zip-top bag, clip a corner and pipe filling into each of the cone-shaped holes on the top of each cupcake.  You should have some filling left at the end- set this aside to drizzle on the top after frosting.
  • Make your buttercream frosting by placing all 4 sticks of  (softened) butter, 3 cups of powdered sugar and the vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beating on high until very light and fluffy.
  • Clip a corner of a zip top bag, place a decorating tip in the corner, fill the bag with frosting, zip it shut and pipe frosting over cupcakes, covering up the filling (check out this video if you need help piping frosting).
  • Drizzle the remaining filling over the top of each cupcake and sprinkle each with just a little cinnamon.

These cupcakes are best served shortly after they are made (like cinnamon rolls are!)  If you need to make them in advance, keep them refrigerated (because of the cream filling).  Be sure to let the cupcakes come to room temperature before you serve them or your buttercream will be hard.

My thoughts:  You know when restaurants indicate on a menu that a dish is one of their signature dishes and *hint hint* you should try it?  This is one of those recipes for this blog.  These are one of my very favorite creations thus far.  Now, I have to qualify that with this: I LOVE cinnamon rolls- especially big gooey ones, and I love frostings and fillings.  These cupcakes have gotten rave reviews with everyone I know.  The only negative comments I’ve heard have been from people who say there’s too much frosting/filling.  If you are the sort that scrapes frosting off things anyway, my recommendation is to cut the frosting recipe in half.  As for me…bring on the gooey sweet happiness!!!  I really REALLY hope you get a chance to try these –if you do, let me know what you think!  Enjoy!  -r

9-24-12 I’m adding to this post because my friend Megan just told me about a really cool time-saver—a cupcake corer!!! (honestly, what will they think of next….!)  I just ordered it and I’ll let you know what I think.  If you want to check it out yourself click here: Cupcake Corer.  So fun…!

Grasshopper Mint Cupcakes

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I just love anything that combines mint and chocolate.  I was thinking about those yummy chocolate covered “grasshopper” mint cookies the other day and decided right then and there that I’d try a cupcake recipe in those flavors.

One of my favorite trends in the world these days is the invention of the cupcake store.  We have several here in my hometown- one of which was actually invited to compete on the TV show “Cupcake Wars”.  I love to see the different ideas these little bakeries have for cupcake treats.

About a month ago my friend Megan came to visit.  She’s 1/2 of the team at Happily Ever After Cakes out in Pennsylvania and we met 2 years ago in Russia. Since we share a love for all things sweet AND she was flying into Chicago, we decided to try Sprinkles Cupcakes.  It was amazing- really the best cupcakes I’ve had from a bakery.  The cupcakes were simple– but the frostings….oh my.  I’m obsessed with making the salted caramel frosting they have.  It was the best frosting ever.  Here’s some pictures from our trip– so much yumminess in one little store.

The flavors we tried were: Red velvet, Salted caramel, Mocha and Coconut.  We loved them all- but especially the Salted caramel….!

On to our recipe this week— yummy mint grasshopper cupcakes!  (Makes 24)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed chocolate cake mix (with water, oil and eggs to make according to box)
  • Approximately 36 Andes Mints
  • 1 stick of salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 t. mint extract
  • green food coloring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make cake mix as directed on box.  Evenly divide it into 24 cupcake papers in muffin tins.
  • Place one Andes mint candy into the center of each unbaked cupcake.

  • Bake at 350 degrees as directed on box.
  • Cool completely.
  • Combine butters, powdered sugar, mint and food coloring in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until very light and fluffy.
  • Place frosting into a zip top bag fitted with a large star decorating tip in one corner.
  • Pipe frosting on each cooled cupcake.
  • Top each cupcake with 1/2 of an Andes Mint Candy.

My thoughts:  These turned out so yummy– just a note that some of the Andes mints sank all the way to the bottom of the cupcake– they still tasted really good in the cupcake– but they weren’t all as fun as the one in my picture (below).  Another note– this frosting recipe makes just enough to frost 24 cupcakes– if you like lots of frosting, double the recipe.  Enjoy!!!!  -r

Frostings, Fillings and Fun!

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One of the most frequent questions I’m asked about this blog is this:  How do you keep coming up with new  and original recipes?

The answer is this: I find elements (usually a filling, topping or frosting) that I love in one recipe and imagine ways to use it again in a totally new recipe.

Here’s an example:  My friend Dawn’s friend Lily gave her a recipe for caramel chip bars.  I changed a few elements in the recipe and made it my own.  The bars are reeeeaaaaalllly good.  The best part about them is the amazing caramel sauce that makes up the middle layer.  How have I used this caramel sauce since?

(click on a picture to see the whole recipe)

  

  

This post is dedicated to sharing my favorites in the frosting, topping and filling world– I hope you can use some of these elements to create your own yummy treats (and if you do, please share them here with the rest of us!!!)

FROSTINGS:

Buttercream Frosting:

By far, my favorite frosting recipe ever.  Light and whipped and a perfect blend of sweet and a touch of salty.  If you want it flavored use extract in place of the vanilla.  You can also add colors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  • This is enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes.  Double this recipe to frost more or to frost an entire layered cake.

German Chocolate Frosting:

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1c. sugar
  • 1c. evaporated milk
  • 1/2c. butter
  • 3 egg yolks (beaten)
  • 1 1/3c. flaked coconut
  • 1c. finely chopped pecans.
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and egg yolks.  Cook over low heat (stir constantly!) until this thickens considerably (took me about 8 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut.
  • Chill until thick enough to spread.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Kool-Aid Frosting:

Just plain fun.  Use different flavors to be as creative as you want!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2- 8oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
  • 1 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid
  • Food coloring  (to deepen color if desired)
  • 1- 7oz. container Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Topping

Directions:

  • Cream together cream cheese, Kool-Aid and food coloring (if desired) until smooth.
  • Beat marshmallow creme and powdered sugar in and then fold in Cool Whip until completely smooth.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Dream Whip  (4 come in one box)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 4 oz. (1/2 brick) of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar (divided)

Directions:

  • Cream together softened cream cheese and about half of the powdered sugar.  Set aside.
  • Add remaining ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir until all powder is combined.
  • Mix with an electric mixer (beaters are ok, but I like to use my whisk attachment if you have one) on high until very stiff peaks form.
  • Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating on high until stiff and thick.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Royal Icing:

Not my favorite frosting to work with, but perfect for a smooth and hard topping for cookies.  Beautiful but a lot of work…

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of powdered sugar
  • 3 T. meringue powder
  • 6 T. water
  • 1t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)
  • Food coloring

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients together and mix with a mixer for at least 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Color as desired.

FILLINGS:

Mint Filling

This is perfect for layering inside of brownies and cakes.  I’ve even made a peppermint patty tart using this filling as a layer inside.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 tbsp. (one cup) melted butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • food coloring (if desired)

Directions:

  • Add melted butter to sugar and extract.
  • Mix well, using water to bring it to a thick but spreadable consistency.
  • Add food coloring if desired.

Kool-Aid Filling

Perfect for making a cream pie or putting in little cookie cups- this filling’s potential is as endless as the flavors of Kool-Aid on the shelf!  Kids will LOVE this!

 

Ingredients:

  • 8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 (0.22 oz.) packet Kool Aid in any flavor
  • 2c. marshmallow fluff
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (refrigerator temp)

Directions:

  • Cream together Kool Aid and Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Add Marshmallow fluff and blend well.
  • Fold in 1c. of Cool Whip.

Chocolate Mousse:

A perfect creamy filling for a layer cake–YUM!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Dream Whip 
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3T. cocoa powder
  • 3T. powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Put Dream Whip, milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and blend together.
  • Using a mixer, beat until stiff peaks form (3-4 minutes)

Easy Cheesecake Filling:

I’ve used this no-bake cheesecake filling for years- I like to make it and fill a pre-made graham crust for a super easy dessert!

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Fold in Cool Whip and  1 c. chocolate chips.

TOPPINGS:

Chocolate glaze:

This glaze is nice because it hardens just enough to still cut- like a really hard fudge.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tsp. butter (do not substitute margarine here!)

Directions:

  •  Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth.
  • Pour over dessert and spread evenly.  Allow glaze to harden.

Ganache:

This is a big go-to topping for me- you’ll see it in many varieties in my recipes.  You can change the flavor by changing the type of chips you use.  I’ve made dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon and peanut butter ganache using this recipe— it makes a GREAT (easy to cut!) topping for cheesecakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 1 c. chips (any flavor)

Directions:

  • Warm whipping cream in a small saucepan until just bubbling around edges (stirring!)
  • Turn off heat, add chips and cover pan for 5 minutes.
  • Stir melted chips into hot whipping cream until smooth (add a little heat if the chips aren’t fully melted)
  • Pour over dessert (or into cookie cups etc.) and allow ganache to harden.

Melted Frosting Glaze:

Such a simple topping- yet so yummy!

 

Ingredients:

  • One can of pre-made frosting

Directions:

  • Spoon frosting into a microwave safe bowl.
  • Warm in microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir until smooth and runny.
  • Pour over dessert and allow glaze to harden.

Wilton’s Candy Melts:

The best thing to drizzle any dessert with.  These are little candy wafers in a variety of colors that you can melt and drizzle.  They harden into a solid layer though- so cutting them is more difficult.

I hope this collection of my favorites inspires you to create wonderful new treats!

Enjoy your weekend– and Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there!!  -r

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