I know, I know, ANOTHER cupcake post? For some reason I have been tasked with baking a lot of cupcakes for various events and parties lately and since this blog chronicles our life, I take every advantage possible to share what we’re doing if I think you might enjoy it too.
Blogger life, amirite?
Seriously, if it’s cute and it’s happening, I’m blogging it. I have so many of my non-blogging friends who will hear me talk about something I’ve made, or see something I’ve done and ask “Is this going on your blog?” and I just have to laugh and say “Yes!”. My life creates the content around here and I guess this week it’s all about cupcakes.
I’ve talked about how I’m not the greatest baker, and how I love to use my cupcake hack to make a box of cake mix into something extra special, so I am finally going to share my how to on exactly how I make box mix taste a bit more like homemade. It’s soooooo insanely simple you’ll ask yourself “Why didn’t I think of that before?” and it’s just sort of something I’ve been doing for years because when I am making dozens upon dozens of cupcakes, baking from scratch scares the beejeezus out of me.
I could never be on one of those cupcake competition shows and every time I pull a batch from the oven, test it and have a goopy toothpick come back, I am reminded of that fact. I will leave the really fancy cupcake baking to the professionals and continue to teach the everyday “Wannabe Pinterest Mom” how to do it cheaper, easier and faster.
My friend Amanda is about to pop with her first son and she’s been all sorts of crazy on a Cowbow Theme kick for her nursery. So when it came time to help with the baby shower, she asked if I wouldn’t mind making some cupcakes. We both started searching Pinterest and I think she must have a lot of faith in my ability because the ideas she was sending my way made me shake in my cowgirl boots.
I want to be one of those moms who can roll out fondant like a champ, and frost every cupcake with perfection, but the reality of it is only THE BEST OF THE BEST make it on to the blog, and a lot of rejects show up at the party anyway. I opted to try and make some DIY Cowboy Hats out of Tootsie Rolls (since I had them on hand) and top them on chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream.
Now, remember, it’s the middle of the summer, so a traditional buttercream wouldn’t cut it out in the hot sun, HELLO melted mess! I used a Crisco based frosting with a bit of butter in it for taste and it was not only was super yummy, but the sun didn’t even phase them!
Berta: 1, Sun: 0!
So how exactly does this Cupcake Hack work?
To make these super simple cupcakes I took a box of Devil’s Food Cake cake mix and did the following substitutions:
- Replace water with milk
- Replace oil with melted butter
- Add one small box of Chocolate Fudge flavored pudding
- Add one additional egg
- Add a pinch of salt
The above works for EVERY kind of cake, just pick a complementary pudding flavor to go with it. The only exception is when I make Red Velvet I use buttermilk instead of regular mix and usually grab a milk chocolate pudding and then add a bit extra red food coloring to make up the color difference. I bet white cake with pistachio pudding would be pretty yummy.
Then I bake like normal, and frost with my super easy frosting recipe below. I always use a variation of this frosting recipe when making cupcakes because it not only holds up SUPER WELL, it’s super easy to make and everyone loves it. If you have food allergies, check out how this can be made dairy free, soy free or vegan.
- 1 Stick of Butter Flavored Crisco Shortening
- ¼ stick of butter, softened
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla flavor
- 1 tsp salt
- Cream shortening and butter together until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla, milk and salt.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar a cup at a time, until all in incorporated, scraping sides occasionally.
- Add cocoa powder in 2 batches until fully mixed together.
- Whip for a couple minutes until very light and fluffy.
- Put into a piping bag and frost using a 2D tip.
- Garnish with sprinkles or decorations.
- If too thick, add more milk. If too thin add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
- This will make enough for 24 cupcakes. Feel free to double and triple as needed.
To make the cowboy hats, I flattened a Tootsie Roll Midgee between my thumb and forefinger and created a flat circle. Then I cut another midgee in half, rolled it into a ball and pressed down while sort of squeezing the sides together to create the look of a cowboy hat. I placed the ball onto the circle and curled the edges up and around to create the brim.
I also added gold “Sheriff Badges” using the same technique from this post. Red heart candies adorned the remaining cupcakes.
To frost I used a Wilton 2D Tip and swirled from the outside, in.