Tag: cupcakes

Watermelon Cupcakes

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It’s safe to say I have a lot of obsessions things I’m really into – donuts, flamingos, buttercream frosting, watermelon, the Giant Squid, vintage anything, shoes, matching my boys to each other and also to me, hair dye, thrift stores. I know what I like. And apparently, it’s a bunch of weird and varied things, and I realize that now as I’m typing it out.

Welp, today, we are going to talk watermelons. They are such a fun fruit. I love their colors. I love their sweetness. I love how I can eat a whole melon for a meal and feel super full. I love how they smell. It might just be the raddest mainstream fruit.

You you what else is rad? Mixing watermelons and cupcakes together.

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Oh, yes, boy.

I’ve made watermelon cupcakes before. From a box. They were really yummy and tasted like Jolly Ranchers (which totally make you feel like you’re teeth are being ripped out, one by one, but also it’s totally worth it). But today, I wanted to try another version, one that used real watermelon in the recipe. I also used LorAnn watermelon oil (I found mine on Amazon) to pony up the watermelon flavor. Watermelon Jell-O might also work.

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These cupcakes came out incredibly tender, full of watermelon flavor, and adorable. They would be a perfect addition for a Memorial Day or Fourth of July party. Or for a simple Summer day.

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I used a white cake mix for this recipe because I happened to have one on hand (I keep a few stocked, when I see them on $1 sales at the grocery store), but your favorite standard homemade white cake mix recipe would work well here. If you have a few minutes to spare, sift your cake mix prior to adding the other ingredients. l almost always sift dry ingredients when baking, and especially with boxed mixes. I do this, because I find that if I don’t, the batter is terribly lumpy, and the lumps show up in the finished product. Sifting also makes for an incredibly tender crumb, once baked.

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Watermelon Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from: Mix and Match Mama
Makes: 24 standard cupcakes or 12 standard + 24 mini cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 box of white cake mix
1 1/4 C pureed watermelon, divided
1/2 C oil (vegetable or canola)
4 egg whites (or 12 T liquid egg whites)
1/2 dram LorAnn watermelon oil
*a few drops of pink or red food coloring is optional. if you choose not to use this, as I have, your cupcakes will turn out peachy colored.*
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line your cupcake tins and set aside.
Puree your watermelon. Set aside.
Sift your cake mix into a medium or large bowl. Add one cup of watermelon puree, oil (I used canola), egg whites, and LorAnn watermelon oil. Mix until just combined. If you are using food coloring, add it now. Be careful not to overmix.
Pour batter into your prepared cupcake tins and bake for 18 – 21 minutes. Mine took 18 and I rotated the pans halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
remaining watermelon puree (1/4 C)
1/2 dram LorAnn watermelon oil
Few drops of pink food coloring
Sprinkles, optional (I found watermelon colored and flavored sprinkles at Publix)
While the cupcakes are cooling, beat butter, remaining watermelon puree, LorAnn watermelon oil, and powdered sugar until combined. Add more watermelon puree or more sugar, if the icing is too thick or too thin, respectively (I actually needed quite a bit more powdered sugar). Beat in food coloring. Frost and decorate your cooled cupcakes.
Store in refrigerator.
Enjoy!
Kristin
Happy Memorial Day! Please remember to thank a Vet or current Military Serviceman or Woman. These incredible, brave souls are such a big reason we enjoy our freedom.

Snowman Cupcakes

What a sweet week it’s been! And it’s not over yet. I’ve got more baking to do. So far this week, I’ve made Christmas Crack Candy, Christmas Chocolate Cake, Christmas Tree Brownies, and lastly, for now, Snowman Cupcakes!

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I took the semi-homemade route, again, this time. So, these were pretty easy. Sort of. I’ll get to that. But if you plan to make them, they will be easy.

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Aren’t they darling? I was in charge of dessert for my Bigs’ class’ birthday party for Jesus today. I thought about going the Jesus/religious symbol route when it came to decorating, but I was nervous about the kids having to eat Baby Jesus. It could go all kinds of wrong. I’ve seen some cute Jesus decorations, but knowing me, I’d make a disaster out of it.

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So, I decided on snowmen.

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I like the way they came out. I really enjoyed making these.

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And just like real snowmen, they each have their own little personalities*.

*decorating inconsistencies

These cheerful cupcakes were delicate and had a soft crumb, were rich in chocolate flavor (thanks boxed mix!), and covered in a delicious, fluffy, marshmallow-y frosting. The crushed peppermint added a refreshing, festive flavor. These were a hit!

Snowman Cupcakes

1 box of your favorite cake mix (or one batch of homemade) – I used chocolate

ingredients used to make cupcakes

silver cupcake wrappers (other Christmassy ones would be cute too)

1 batch of 7 Minute Frosting (recipe below)

candy canes, crushed (I crushed up 12, but didn’t need it all)

Wilton Icing Decorations, snowman variety

Follow the directions on your cake mix box and bake cupcakes, as directed. Let them cool completely. You can expedite this process by placing the cupcakes in the freezer or refrigerator.

While those are cooling, make your 7 Minute Frosting (recipe, directions, and a short story below). I iced the cupcakes using a swirled effect, to make them look peppermint-y. If you want to do that, you’ll need to paint a stripe of food coloring (I used Americolor Red gel) on the inside of your icing bag, before filling it with the frosting.

Once the cupcakes were iced with the swirled frosting, I sprinkled them with the crushed candy canes, and placed one of the Wilton Icing Decorations on top.

I ended up making the frosting twice.

7 Minute Frosting – Recipe #1

Source: Paula Deen, Food Network.com

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup (I used white corn syrup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
I have made this dozens of times before, and it’s always turned out beautifully, but ran into a problem this time. I used the white corn syrup, while I usually use the cream of tartar. I had both on hand, so I’m not sure why I chose the syrup. Anyways, it didn’t set up and the sugar didn’t fully melt. It was a grainy, soupy mess. And I know that my boiling water wasn’t touching the bottom of the glass bowl on my double boiler. Ohhhh wellllll.
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I tried a different recipe for the second batch. I actually used a recipe I hadn’t used before and it worked out perfectly.
Fluffy White Frosting – Recipe #2
Source: allrecipes.com
1 C white sugar
1/3 C water
1/4 t cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1 t vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.

 

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes.
I’m sure that either one you choose will work out fine. I’d stick with the cream of tartar though. That one always works for me. #nowiknow #lessonlearned #themoreyouknow
Since I only needed a dozen cupcakes, I had a little fun with my leftover batter.
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I baked a mini chocolate bundt cake. Then, I filled the hole with the red swirled marshmallow frosting (the good batch), sprinkled crushed peppermints on top, took a few pictures of it, then ate it, off of my “Cookies for Santa” plate. It was good. I had to test my product before it left my kitchen. Bakers and Chefs, you know this. It’s an important part of the process. I did this for you.
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I happen to know that Santa loves his (or her) cookies, but would not turn down this sweet little bundt cake, if you left it out for him (or her).
Blessings!
Kristin

Party time excellent!

To only have one birthday party to go to in a weekend is for the birds! On Sunday, following our big ol’ carnival, we attended another birthday party (we skipped church this week). This one was for a sweet little friend turning one. It was a Sesame Street themed party, so I put the boys in their Elmo shirts and me in my Cookie Monster shirt and we headed on our way. My husband had to leave us to go on a business trip, so it was just me and the boys. The party was adorable. It was at a kids’ gym. The kids had so much fun running around together.

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The cupcakes were both delicious and beautifully decorated.

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There were some for each Sesame Street character.

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The boys played hard and then napped hard once we got home, thankfully. I was very tired myself.

After dinner, we played in the yard until bedtime. We played with Bigs’ birthday gifts – a bug kit, bug catching nets, gardening tools, water squirters. It was great. It really feels like summer has arrived!

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The next day, Monday, we went to swim lessons again. Almost done with those! The boys are doing so well. We’ve got a wonderful swim instructor, whom we feel lucky to have found. After swim, we went to my Friday playdate’s Cinco de Mayo swim party at a friend’s house. Third party in three days! Whaat! We each brought a dish to share. I made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip with pretzels. It was a healthy chickpea-based dessert dip. Yum! Here’s the recipe:

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/23/want-to-eat-an-entire-bowl-of-cookie-dough/

I didn’t get a picture because I had to make it quickly and get it to the party and also it wasn’t pretty. But it tasted good.

We had a ton of fun at the party! The boys practiced their swimming and did so well!

Smalls was not impressed with having to swim though. He’d rather have stayed on the sidelines. I hope he’ll get over that, as we spend more time in the pool and going to splash pads this summer.

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I did get lots of snuggles and kisses hanging out with him, though. 🙂

I couldn’t pull Bigs out of the pool though! He loved it! I am so glad!

The next night, I made a yummy dinner. I put a pork roast in the crockpot. When it was done, I made a quick BBQ sauce from scratch. I mixed ketchup, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, Worcester sauce, and brown sugar in a sauce pan and once bubbling, poured it over the shredded pork. I made mashed potatoes from scratch and served it all with fresh fruit (grapes, cantaloupe, blueberries). Yummers.

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Excuse the Christmas plate. I was pooped. It was a paper plate sort of night.

So. We’ve been so busy. But so busy with good, fun, summery things. I love this sort of busy.

Hope you’re having a happy sort of busy too!

Kristin

Reindeer Games

Do you know how hard it is to give your dog a bath while your 1 year old is in the bathroom with you? It’s so hard. Said 1 year old opens the toilet lid and throws stuff in (or places his arm, elbow deep, in the toilet hole and laughs hysterically), he pats the dog with her medicated (I have a very special dog with severe allergies that require both a shot and a medicated bath once a week) soap all over her. Did I mention that the dog’s a nervous sort that is prone to seizures if highly excited or overwhelmed? Anyways. I literally am “just sayin'”.

Christmas Pup

Duncan was here again this morning (surprise, surprise). He showed up in a cereal box, of all places.

Elf on a Shelf Day 13

And while eating their cereal out of the bowls “Duncan” set out for them, the boys played peek-a-boo.

Peekaboo

You can see Smalls’ (right side) eye through the little bear mouth hole (LOL!).

So. The cupcakes I made for Bigs’ class yesterday were…mostly a hit. Something went a leeetle bit awry with the frosting (which ALWAYS works because it is a foolproof recipe…which really says something about ME!) and the vanilla wafers didn’t really stick nicely to it. So some of them slid during the transportation process and some of the reindeer looked a little wonky (that’s the last reindeer, Wonky – you didn’t know that did you?? 😉 ). I’m not sure how many of the 3 and 4 year olds noticed though.

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They looked alright right after I made them though, for the record. 🙂

I also decorated another dozen for the parents, teacher and whoever else needed a cupcake (which in my world, is everyone).

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These were decidedly less attractive, sort of haphazardly thrown together. Whatever. I honestly never even met one cupcake I didn’t eat.

The Christmas program was absolutely adorable. I couldn’t contain my smiles upon seeing my Bigs stand up on that stage, nervously looking at all the faces looking back at him. My husband (and obvi Smalls) came for the show, too. We were so very proud of our oldest, and all his wonderful classmates too!

After my hubby got of of work, we surprised the boys with taking them to see the area’s biggest showing of Christmas lights!

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It was simply amazing.

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I couldn’t even contain my own self when it started (fake) snowing! Simply magical.

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There was a nativity scene, about which Bigs has learned so much in school and church. He calls it an “actiwiwy” scene (like how he says ‘activity’). He’s perfect.

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Looking at lights, especially in this quantity, sure makes it feel so special.

Have a wonderfully blessed Friday,

Kristin