Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dressed-Up Classroom Cupcakes ~ Princess Cupcakes

My little Grace has a birthday coming up...specifically Christmas Eve. So, since her school lets out on the 18th, we had to bump up the date to spring sugar onto her little classmates. When I agreed to bring in some cupcakes the Wednesday before the were released for the Christmas break, I didn't think about the fact that they would be having a party the following day. 
Oh, her poor teacher...sugar with 3-5 year-0lds two days in a row! Of course my little princess was thrilled that she was getting to have a "cupcake party" at school...and of course, Momma was completely drained this particular morning with cupcakes at the top of the "To Do List". I never knew that making simple cupcakes could be so energy & mind zapping. And I never thought I'd be sleep deprived because of writing a blog post! *ha-HA!*
There is something that I have come out of this with that is now firmly not spend three evenings writing and photo editing until 4:00am when your children get up at 7:15am-8:00am. The effects of sleep deprivation changes making simple, little cupcakes into a major task.
But, I took a deep breath, made a 6-cup pot of coffee, got breakfast going for the kiddles and jumped right into my task at hand. You may notice how quickly the mug tends to go down as I go along. Figured that Pooh would help me get through my morning all bright and sunny yellow...kinda worked. 
At first, I was going to make some of the cupcakes chocolate and some strawberry. But that was just too simple for me. I couldn't just make plain chocolate and strawberry cupcakes...I mean, kids need something with a little surprise in it. Something to make them go, "Oooo! Look!"
So, since I was needing as much help as possible to just get the task done...I leaned on Duncan Hines & Pillsbury this morning. As I made one cake batter in Duncan Hines' Dark Chocolate and the other in Pillsbury's Strawberry it came to me. 
I even shocked myself just because of the simple fact that the caffeine had not kicked-in yet. Okay, get the strawberry cake mix going..
Grace had the eggs covered...she insisted that she had to wear her pink Barbie jammies to help...

And just like that *snap*, we had beautiful cream strawberry goodness. 

One down, one to go....drink some more coffee.
Get the mixing bowl cleaned up. It's not free from working yet.
Next up, dark chocolate fudge cake mix.
Another few swigs of coffee....notice anything? 
It's going fast. In reflection, I'm actually pretty proud of myself for not downing the whole mug within the first 2 minutes.
Okay, enough reflection...2 minutes goes by and I now am looking at a bowl full of chocolaty batter.
Mmmmm...should I or shouldn't I take a little taste? Nah, I'll wait.
Okay, confession time. My sister-in-law Rachael gave me this brilliant idea to keep the mess down to a minimum. When dealing with cupcakes, pour the batter into ziplock bags and snip off a little bit of the corner...

Usually I have batter all over the pan from spooning it into the paper cups. Not anymore! Thanks Rach! 

Alright, so here's how I did it....pour a little bit of the main flavor (chocolate here) into the bottom of the paper cup...

Then pour just about a tablespoon's worth of the other cake batter (Grace's strawberry) right in the center. 

Then make a ring around the edge of the paper cup with the main batter, working toward the center to cover the other's surprise inside. Alright, drink a little more coffee....savor the taste....deep breath.....batch number 2! Notice how the coffee is dwindling?

With another jolt of caffeine, I grabbed my trusty baggie of strawberry batter (after a quick refill) and went to work! 

It came together amazingly fast this time...I had this baggie thing down pretty good now. (if only my hands weren't so sticky from the first run with the chocolate) 

And the coffee is now hitting just about the one tablespoon point in my happy, little mug. Good thing I still have another 4 cups ready and waiting for me in the coffee pot. 

Alrighty, my oven is piping in both trays go. (I don't have time to waist on doing things one at a time) Cook my beauties, cook into perfect, fluffy, little cakes of happiness. 

Timer goes off....checking doneness....toothpick is clean! Thank you for your obedience you yummy goodies you. 
Pop everyone out of the muffin tin, onto a cooling rack...and grab two just to see how everything turned out on the inside.
BEAUTIFUL! I must confess that I thought there would be a dot of the other batter right in the middle...but this was even better! And Grace went nuts when she saw the inside.

"These are princess cupcakes Momma! Is that magic? Can I have one?" Music to my ears. Grace is excited, so that means I have succeeded. It's not just me who thinks that these look fun & special. 
Give Grace a cupcake (she goes for the chocolate, of course) and one to Rose (who is my fruity little sweetie, so strawberry is perfect) and get ready for FROSTING.

Frosting, bought chocolate?

Not feeling it.

Simple white icing? Nope, not good enough.

Ah, I have it! A Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting...PERFECT. (see recipe)


Whip that frosting up really quickly...5 minutes is all I need. Grab another little sandwich baggie, fill it, snip it and grab cupcake #1.

Here we go. I started frosting from the outside rim. The look I was hoping for was something along the lines of a flower for the final result. So I started doing little circles as I frosted. Outer ring done. Nice.

Ring #2....almost there. Alright, I only need two little circles for the center.

YES! A beautiful bunch of rose cupcakes. But off-white is not really the good enough. Sprinkles, I needed sprinkles. None in the cupboard. Not good. Sugar! Sugar + Food Coloring = Super Fine Sprinkles! Pour a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar into a tea cup and head to the pantry for my food coloring.


Come on red, we're going for light pink sprinkles. As I'm mixing this sugar the thought comes to me, "The boys will hate having pink cupcakes. Oh well, it's not their birthday."


So the mixing continues until it all blended into a gorgeous girly pink.

Time to apply the magic...Sprinkle, sprinkle...careful, not too much. There we go. Very pretty...but still needs a little something to make it "pop".

And for a final touch, a dark chocolate covered raisin right in the center. Now that's a princess cupcake!

Needless to say that when I got them to the school the kids went nuts. So did the teachers.


Not too bad for a sleep deprived Momma.

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