I need to start with a confession today. Sprinkles make me happy. Ok? I said it. It’s true. And I’m not ashamed. I have a rather large assortment of sprinkles. Hoarding them may be an issue for me. Well, I guess it’s not technically hoarding because I do use sprinkles frequently. I just keep buying more because I’m afraid I might run out one day. What a sad day that would be! Sprinkles are so colorful and fun. I am a lover of color and of fun, so they are a perfect match for me. Ok, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about my obsession with these tiny little ‘sprinkles’ of happiness…
Did you have Funfetti cake mix cakes growing up? I have to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had a cake made with it. Gasp. I’ve seen the boxes at the grocery store plenty of times. The box looks like fun. So, when I saw this recipe for homemade Funfetti cupcakes I knew I couldn’t go wrong.
And what better pairing for sprinkle-enhanced cupcakes than a luscious, dark chocolate frosting? Fun and decadent…You are very welcome.
I do not generally like recipes that include vegetable shortening, but it works very well in this recipe.
cake adapted from Sweetapolita
1 c whole milk, room temperature – I used 1.5% milk with great success
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp Lorann Princess Cake Flavor or almond extract
3 c cake flour
1½ c sugar
1 Tbls + 1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
6 Tbls butter, softened, and cut into cubes
6 Tbls vegetable shortening – I used Crisco
½ c sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two muffin pans with baking liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, whole egg, ¼ c of milk, vanilla, and Princess Cake Flavor or almond extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together cake flour, sugar, and baking powder together on low speed for 30 seconds. Add butter and shortening, and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add remaining ¾ c milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1½ minutes. Mix in the egg/milk mixture until well combined. To make Funfetti cupcakes, fold in sprinkles until just combined.
Spoon mix into cupcake liners ⅔ full. Bake 15-18 minutes, being careful not to overbake.
Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting
½ c butter, softened
½ c cocoa powder – I used Hershey’s Special Dark
4 c powdered sugar
¼ c milk, or enough to reach desired consistency
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on med-high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add cocoa powder and 1 c powdered sugar. Mix on med speed 1 minute. Add a few Tbls milk and remaining 3 c powdered sugar. Mix until well combined. Add more milk, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Mix on med-high speed 3 minutes.
Today I’m not sharing a recipe. Today I’m sharing something so much more important. Today is World Water Day. Today I’m sharing with you the opportunity to not just give to a charity, but to teach people how to be self-sustaining. Today, I’m sharing with you The Adventure Project.
Of all water wells that have been drilled in India in the last 20 years, 1/3 are now broken. Sad. Not having clean water, super sad. Dying from unclean water, absolutely tragic!
The Adventure Project is all about helping people. It’s not just about helping people to get clean water, though. It’s about training people to be able to get clean water for themselves. It’s about helping people to become self-sustaining. It’s about helping people earn a living. It’s about helping people help others.
The goal of The Adventure Project is to train well mechanics. It takes only $550 to train one well mechanic. In the process of training that one mechanic, 50 wells can be maintained and cared for. This, in turn, will get clean water to 5,000 people. That is amazing!!! For $550, a well mechanic will receive training, tools and spare parts, and a one year stipend to help launch a new business. For $550 we can get clean water to 5,000 people and keep 50 wells up and running. Wow!
I love the thought of helping someone to get something they need, like clean water. I know I totally take my clean water for granted every.single.day… But what I really love about The Adventure Project is that not only does it help provide clean water, but it trains people to help themselves. It changes lives.
So, how about helping me help The Adventure Project to help train well mechanics in rural India to help themselves get clean water to 5,000 other people? Today, all donations will be matched, up to $25,000. Can you spare $5, $10, or more? Maybe that Starbucks coffee you are drinking right now (with clean water, I might add) can be your last one for a few days, and you can put that money into helping train well mechanics? Can we raise $550 today and train one well mechanic? I’m up for the challenge. Are you? I’m up for changing lives. Are you? Go here to donate.
Today is Pi Day (3.14), yea! My daughter’s school celebrates Pi Day every year by doing all sorts of fun activities revolving around circles. At the end of the day, they have a “Circle Feast” that includes only circle foods. Cake pops weren’t on the list of foods to bring, but my daughter asked if I would make them anyway. Well sure, sweetie, I can make cake pops. PI-rate cake pops… Arrggg…
To make Pirate cake pops, begin by making a cake and icing. Mix the two together to make the cake pop mixture. I use a Tbls scoop to get uniform amounts of cake for each cake pop. Let those get firm in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Roll each cake pop into a round ball. Dip a lollipop stick into chocolate, and insert into bottom of cake pop. Let those get firm for about 15 minutes. Dip in white chocolate or white almond bark. After that is firm, dip the top portion into red candy melts. Add dots of white chocolate dots. Use an edible marker to make the face. Voila, PI-rate cake pops.
We will be celebrating Pi Day at home tomorrow by having Cheeseburger Pie for dinner and mini apple pies for dessert. So, hop to it and plan a pie feast for dinner tonight.
Are you in need of a favorite, 100% guarantee, always turns out, amazing chocolate cupcake (or cake) recipe? Then search no longer, you have arrived. I have made this chocolate cake recipe more times than I can count over the last year, and it always turns out perfectly. I don’t know why I’m amazed every. single. time. I take them out of the oven, but I am. I almost always do a little happy dance while pulling them out of the oven. Go ahead, you can laugh at me, but great baking brings me great joy!
This time, I chose to top a perfect chocolate cupcake with an equally amazing Vanilla Latte Frosting. Here’s the thing, I don’t like coffee. I am not one of those people that need caffeine to function in the morning. Crazy, right? I sometimes wish I liked the stuff because so much of it smells so good. What’s a girl to do? If it ain’t yo thang, it just ain’t yo thang. This frosting, however, is a-maz-ing! It’s not your typical over-the-top, sweet buttercream frosting. This is an ultra-smooth, just-sweet-enough, silky Swiss Meringue Buttercream, with a hint of cinnamon and coffee.
A Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) does take a bit longer to make. But for me the end result is more than worth the effort, especially for a special treat. You can expect to stand over a double boiler whisking egg whites for a little while as they attain a safe temperature. You can also expect to stand over a mixer slowly adding bits of butter while wondering if the curdled mess in your bowl is ever going to turn in to something edible. But I promise that your patience will be rewarded.
The chocolate cupcake recipe below yeilds 36 cupcakes or 3-8″ layer cakes. I know that is a lot of cupcakes for most people. I need to work on tweaking the recipe to make fewer. In the meantime, make the whole amount and share the love with your neighbors ♥ And I always double the frosting recipe because SMBC freezes beautifully. So the next time I have a hankering for something super special, the frosting will already be done.
adapted from Annie’s Eats
¾ c unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, I use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
¾ c hot water
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp coarse salt
1½ c butter
2 c sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp vanilla
1 c sour cream, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 360. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter and sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Mix eggs into butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and then cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full. Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Vanilla Latte Frosting
adapted from Sweetapolita
6 (180 g) egg whites
1 c (200 g) granulated sugar
1½ c butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbls instant espresso powder, dissolved into 1 tsp boiling water
Pinch or two of cinnamon, to taste
Pinch of salt
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by bringing about a ½” of water to boil in a saucepan and placing the mixer bowl into the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Add egg whites and sugar to the mixer bowl, whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F. This will take much less time if you start with room temperature egg whites.
Remove mixer bowl from heat and place onto stand mixer. With whisk attachment, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool – making sure the bottom of the mixer bowl is neutral, not warm, before you begin adding the butter. This will most likely take at least 10 minutes. Switch to paddle attachment and begin mixing on medium speed. Add softened, but cool, butter one piece at a time. Make sure each piece is well incorporated before adding the next piece. Continue until all butter is added and frosting has a silky, smooth texture. If it curdles, keep mixing and it will become smooth, you may have to give it several minutes after adding all of the butter. Add vanilla, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
*You will definitely have better results with this recipe if you weigh the ingredients, especially the egg whites and sugar.
**As stated previously, I doubled this recipe and froze the leftover to use another time.
I had a lot of cupcakes in my kitchen this weekend, 9 dozen to be exact. And would you believe that I’ve only eaten 2, ok and half of another? I can hardly believe it myself. The only reason I ate those was to taste the flavors and new recipes I’d tried. And let me tell you, all three flavors of cupcakes I made were delicious.
If we’re being honest here, I am not a huge red velvet fan. I am from the South, but the first time I ever tried anything red velvet was sometime in the last 3 years. My children love it, though. I gave my daughter and her best friend a cupcake lesson several months ago, and the chosen flavor was red velvet. The recipe we used was ok…meaning not great. The kids liked it just fine. One child even wanted it for his school birthday treat, but I think it was more because his sister could make them for him rather than being an awesome cupcake. Said recipe used no butter and lots of oil. And I totally thought they tasted, well, greasy. I’ve been searching for another recipe to try. Enter this tasty morsel.
This recipe uses butter and no oil. I also used less red food coloring than the original recipe called for to cut back a bit on any funky taste that it can sometimes add. The resulting cupcake is more chocolaty than other red velvets I’ve had, moist, and not at all greasy.
The star of the show for me, though, is this frosting. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I’m going to try to find words to describe this frosting, but I know they won’t do it justice. This frosting is smooth, not too sweet, creamy, and the perfect compliment to these cupcakes. I’ve never made a frosting using Mascarpone and wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. There is a hint of tang from cream cheese. And even though it is a whipped frosting using whipped cream, the texture of the frosting isn’t “whippy” as my friend Beth would say. You really must try it.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from Sweetapolita, originally from Baking 911.com
2 c all purpose flour
½ c cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk, I used buttermilk powder according to package directions
2 tsp red food coloring, preferably gel
1 c butter
1½ c sugar
1 Tbls vanilla
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl if necessary.
Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and food coloring and mix well.
Add in ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ buttermilk, ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ buttermilk, remaining ⅓ dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition.
Scoop into cupcake pan lined with paper liners and bake at 360 for 15-18 minutes.
Makes about 36 cupcakes
Whipped Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from joyofbaking.com
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 c powdered sugar
1½ c heavy whipping cream, cold (35-40% butterfat)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cream cheese and mascarpone cheese using paddle attachment until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Using whisk attachment, slowly add whipping cream. Speed mixer to medium and continue mixing until frosting is thick enough to spread.