Chunky Monkey Cupcakes and My First Cake

Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing and a look back at my very first cake.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Cupcakes to Cake

You guys know I am all about the cupcakes. Every week you guys watch me pull flavors together into bite-sized mouthfuls of joy and call them cupcakes. And being MsCupcakeasaurus, why wouldn’t I be?

Something you may not know is that I have been caking for almost eight years. By caking, I don’t just mean whipping a mix together and slathering icing over it.

The Art of Caking

Caking involves idea preparation by gathering source materials and analyzing size and shape to determine the best fit for the cake being prepared. It means drawing up plans and sketches and paying attention to all the little details. It means sculpting the cake like a statue emerging from marble. Caking is art after all.

 

Free Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

Over the years, I have not always taken pictures or written step by step tutorials or documented every step of the journey along the way. I make cakes because I enjoy caking. I enjoy bringing the food to art and the art to food.

Flavor combinations are my chemistry experiments and dimensional cakes are my masterpieces. I love playing with new techniques, new materials or ingredients. One of the reasons I enjoy caking so much is that it feels like an art form that I can continuously learn from. That, and they taste good.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

 Today, I will be sharing with you my very first ever caking endeavor.

You may have noticed that I have been caking for as long as I have been a mom. The very first cake I really put my heart and soul into was for Little Cakeasaurus Rex’s first birthday. When he isn’t busy being a dinosaur, he is busy being a monkey. We lovingly nicknamed him Monkey since he was a baby.

As any over zealous mom would be, I created a theme of monkeys and immediately started developing ideas for his main cake and his smash cake. He had blow-up monkeys to toss around, monkey plates and napkins and of course a monkey cake. He had a cake for his guests and he had a personal smash cake.

The Smash Cake

Every little kid needs a smash cake for their first birthday. It is the tradition! I love smash cakes for the little ones. That first birthday is all about seeing their little eyes bulge out of their heads with sugar. There is nothing like taking that first fistful of delicious cake.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

For the smash cake, I decided to go with a German chocolate cake and have the coconut frosting serve as the textured monkey fur. Admittedly, my skills at the time were limited and the monkey face looked more like a bear but Little Cakeasaurus Rex loved it. He had no problem figuring out what to do with his smash cake. Hands in the cake and then straight to the mouth.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Little Chunky Monkey

I love watching little ones feed themselves at this age because they still fist their food and are practically licking their palms. Too cute!

I’ll remember next time that monkey ears should be more on the side of the face rather than on the top. Also, don’t mind the little yellow hair tuft I tried to create. Monkeys can be blonde too, right?

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

 

The Guest Cake

The cake for the guests was a large vanilla sheet cake with a large mound of banana cake on top. I was so inexperienced and had no clue what I was doing. I went totally overboard on measuring out how much cake I would need for a one-year-old’s birthday party. In true First Time Mom fashion, I made enough to feed everyone at the party, the park and halfway down the street.

To give you an idea, I had no clue how to even carry this large of a cake to a park two blocks from the house. I purchased a huge white plastic cutting board and that became my caking station. I still use this cutting board as my preferred surface for rolling fondant or cutting out biscuits.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

In all honesty, I baked two 9×12 inch cakes for the base. I slid them together and covered them with icing. If you are counting, that is a total of four standard cakes for one party. This was the first time I would bake that much cake for one party but it definitely wasn’t  the last.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

If you are wondering, it is no secret how I made the dome-shaped cake. I didn’t have a pan that shape that is for sure. I actually used a stainless steel mixing bowl and baked it right in the oven.

Obviously, be careful when using alternative baking pans but, the bowl worked out great and I still use it for other caking endeavors. I will remind you to take a good look at the shape of the bowl though. If you are wanting a hill shape like I was, you will want a shallower bowl to create a soft mound. However, I have also used a much deeper mixing bowl to create the Drunken Carolina Cake so that I had enough space for good sized cake layers.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

Monkey Time

The idea I was wanting to create was a mischievous monkey sitting atop a huge pile of bananas. The pile of bananas had to be made of banana cake of course. The banana cake wasn’t going to be enough though.

Nothing quite looks like a pile of bananas than a pile of bananas. After icing, I also completely covered the mound in Banana Rama candy pieces I purchased from a local candy shop.

Heap of Bananas birthday cakeOriginally, all the bananas were going to be yellow bananas but this is a very mischievous monkey and he needed some colored bananas too. The monkey was a purple monkey bath toy so it was super safe for the kiddo to enjoy long after his party was over.  A funky colored monkey totally deserves a pile of funky colored bananas.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

To add a bit more decoration without going overboard any further, I added Piroulines around the outside edge of the sheet cake which provided great bamboo. A few green leaves and blades of grass with green icing and I had my masterpiece.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

Can you tell I was proud of myself? I made a little card label with a silly monkey sticker for good measure. I am so proud that this was my first caking adventure. It brings back wonderful memories of my little one’s first birthday and it was the start of a wonderful adventure I still pursue today.

Still A Monkey

The kiddo still embraces his monkey side by collecting cute monkeys we find on our adventures. Currently, we have one from Cape Canaveral and Tampa Zoo.  Just a few weeks ago, I offered my little monkey a special treat.

I treated LCR to Chunky Monkey Cupcakes!

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

These moist banana cupcakes remind me very much of that original banana cake but in smaller cupcake form.  Top that off with a peanut butter cream cheese icing and you will be making all the monkeys smile.

Even walking down memory lane, I couldn’t leave you hanging without a scrumptious cupcake recipe to keep you satisfied.

You have now seen where the caking magic started. Tell me about your baking start. Do you remember your first real baking endeavor as an adult? I clarified that sentence because I was baking and cooking tons growing up. This one just sticks out in my mind as the first cake I researched and planned and put my heart and love into making.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Do you have that one dish or cake that sparked your love for it? I’d love to hear all about it or better yet, see it.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Banana Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Banana Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat bananas, eggs and sugar on medium high speed until forming a thick mash.
  3. Add vegetable oil to the banana mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Using a spatula, fold in vanilla extract. Spoon batter into cupcake tim filling cups 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Toothpick will come out clean when cupcakes are done. Cool on a cooling rack before icing.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat softened cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add in half a cup of peanut butter and mix on medium speed until well bleneded.
  3. Add powdered sugar to cream cheese mixture a cup at a time mixing thoroughly between each addition.
  4. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  5. *Taste it. Your icing can be more sweet or nutty depending on how much sugar or peanutbutter you add. I prefer a light and sweet flavor so I stuck with 2 cups powdered sugar and a 1/2 cup of peanutbutter. If you want a thicker peanut butter flavor, just add more peanut butter.*
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Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

These Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes are made of soft vanilla vegan white cake packed full of colorful sprinkles and topped with a vegan vanilla “buttercream” icing.

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

In the News

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed this past week was a bit chaotic for me. Florida became the target of a nasty hurricane named Irma.

I was all set to share with you these cute little Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes when I had to start evacuation planning for me and my family. This was definitely not how I planned to spend my week.

At first, we weighed our options of evacuating to North Carolina or just waiting out the storm. Even though hurricanes give you time to prepare, they also have the ability to quickly change course.

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

A Hard Decision

Each day that passed leading up to the hurricane left fewer and fewer resources behind. Stores were out of water, bread, batteries, plywood, almost everything. Gas stations were out of gas. Hotels were booked solid north of Tampa and on into Georgia and South Carolina.

Hurricane house

We made the hard decision to stay because I would rather be near home with the supplies I knew we already had than stranded with no gas and nowhere to go three hundred miles from home. This is not an easy choice to make for anyone. My only advice is that you do what you feel is right for you and your family to keep them safe.

My son and I, stayed with friends that live farther inland during the hurricane because our home is located in a flood zone and flooding looked to be likely. We evacuated but we did not evacuate far from home. I am so grateful to our friends for taking us in and making us feel so comfortable and welcome in their home. I will never be able to repay them for their kindness.

In the two years I have lived here, I had not yet had to deal with a hurricane scare. This was definitely a lesson to be learned and a memory I will never forget. However, I believe I passed a Floridian milestone and learned exactly how I react to stress.

Stress Baking

Is it any surprise that I stress bake? As Captain Cupcakeasaurus and I were making evacuation decisions, I got to work baking. I couldn’t control myself. My anxiety was through the roof and all I could think to do was to focus on the food.

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

I baked a lasagna, two chicken broccoli casseroles, a flat of brownies, a chocolate poke sheet cake and thirty chicken burritos.

That was just the first day.

The next day I made homemade mustard basted chicken legs, sausage and date Brussel sprouts, cauliflower mash and two batches of chocolate cake box cookies.

I was frenzy baking y’all!

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

I was frenzy baking y'all! Click To Tweet

Free Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

First Responders

Thankfully, all of the food was put to a good use and sent off to the Fire Station for those hard working firefighters. Captain Cupcakeasaurus went into work with the instructions that he would be working for a minimum of seventy-two hours. Not only were we weathering a hurricane, but we were weathering it apart.

Fire Station

Our community came together to look after each other. I have to praise all of our first responders, police and even the linemen (Is linepeople the gender neutral term for that?) that were working during and immediately after the storm to help those in need and get everyone back in their homes and their power back on.

I am very thankful that the storm died down significantly by the time it crossed our home so damage was minimal. We only had two trees down in the yard and no flooding. Things could have been SO MUCH worse.

Hurricane Trees

Back to the Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

Originally, I was creating this custom cupcake flavor for an artist friend who also happens to be Vegan. I wanted to create a colorful and fun cupcake reminiscent of her artwork and photography.

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

Once the news of the upcoming storm hit, these cuties were specifically made to brighten my day. After seeing the colorful swirls of Hurricane Irma across the weather map, I felt like colorful sprinkles might be a fun way to bring back a little cheer.

Something about those rainbow colored sprinkles always puts a smile on my face.You can purchase your own bag of colorful Vegan Funfetti here.

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

Confessions

In all honesty, this was not my first batch of Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes. But as you know, I refuse to share with you a recipe that is not rightly approved by my kitchen first.

The first time, I made these cupcakes, they were a disaster. I had filled my cupcake tins three-quarters full as I often do. The cupcakes rose so much they expanded over the top of my tins and created sugar cookie like discs over the top of my cupcakes!

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

I tweaked the recipe to better balance the wet and dry ingredients to hopefully reduce so much expansion and I made sure not to overfill my cupcake tins. There you go. My error is your reward. Just make sure to only put a Tablespoon of batter in each cupcake tin and you will have beautiful level cupcakes.

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes

 

I Want To Know

After this experience with Irma, I have a greater empathy for those who have been at the mercy of Mother Nature. Have you ever experienced a natural disaster in your area? How did it affect you or change your perspective? Do you have any tips or tricks to prepare for such a disaster?

I want to know about you. Comment down below or you are always welcome to send me a personal email if you’d prefer.

Sharing our experiences and coming together is how we make life taste sweeter.

 

Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Soft vanilla vegan white cake packed full of colorful sprinkles and topped with a vegan vanilla "buttercream" icing.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Soft vanilla vegan white cake packed full of colorful sprinkles and topped with a vegan vanilla "buttercream" icing.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
Vegan Vanilla "Buttercream" Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in a cupcake tin.
  2. Add apple cider vinegar to the cup of almond milk, stir and set to the side.
  3. In a large bowl, use electgric mixer on medium high speed to cream coconut spread and sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl combine and whisk dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add half of the almond milk to the sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
  7. Alternate additions of almond milk and dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Finish with the last third of the flour mixture.
  8. Add vanilla and mix with a spatula.
  9. With spatula, fold in the rainbow sprinkles.
  10. Place a Tablespoon of batter in each lined cupcake tin. The batter rises significantly and any more than a Tablespoon will result in overflow during baking.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted will come out clean when done.
Vegan Vanilla "Buttercream" Icing
  1. In a large bowl using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat coconut spread until smooth.
  2. Add in sifted powdered sugar a little at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.
  3. Add in vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use or if a firmer consitency is desired.
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Beauty Bae Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

A custom recipe creation for Beauty Bae’s Miamii Monsour. A mixture of sweet and tart swirled into this Blue Velvet cupcake chocked full of blueberries and topped with a blue raspberry cream cheese frosting.

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Beauty Bae

Miamii is the spunky Broadcast Journalism major and blogger of Beauty Bae. She shares everything she thinks about the latest beauty, fashion and entertainment trends with all the humor and sass you could ask for.
I love her lack of brain-to-mouth filter when it comes to what she loves and what she hates. She is like that best friend that will absolutely not let you leave the house looking like a hot mess. Miamii’s humor and spunk radiate from every post and tweet.

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Blue, Blue, Blue

For such a fun and spunky personality, I had to create a flavor combo just as electrifying.
One of the first things Miamii shared with me was that she LOVES the color blue. I always love a good place to start but I may have gone overboard!

First and foremost the cake had to be blue. What better cake than a Blue Velvet cake? If red velvet is everyone’s standard favorite, then Blue Velvet is Beyonce. Everyone loves it and they are always impressed.

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Blueberry Blast

At some point, I asked myself, “How can I make these cupcakes more blue?” My answer: Blueberries! But, of course!
In all honesty, we are a bit limited in our natural blue fruit options. You have a blueberry and a- nope, just a blueberry.

Tossing a few blueberries into each cupcake adds just the right amount of sweet surprise and makes these divinely blue cupcakes all the more blue.

The icing was just….well, when you think of what blue might smell like, what do you think of?

Taste of Color

For me, colors definitely have smells and tastes. Isn’t Skittles always telling us to taste the rainbow? Though I love purple, the color purple smells like Dimetapp to me.  Green usually smells like spinach or sometimes even like dirt. I understand dirt isn’t green but plants are and they grow from the earth. When it comes to tastes, Mellow Yellow and Mountain Dew both have a distinctly yellow taste to me. Seriously, close your eyes and take a sip. Can’t you taste the yellow?

So, what does blue smell or taste like to you?

Blue, for me, smells like blue raspberry flavoring. You know like you get as a slushie flavor at the 7/11? Or maybe that Blue Razz Berry Charms Blow Pop that leaves your tongue stained? Yeah, that one! I really wanted to make an icing flavored like a dang Blow Pop.
So I put on my blue suede shoes (I don’t really have those) and got to work.

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

UK Conversion

Reading Beauty Bae, I realized that she is based in the United Kingdom. This means that an ideal recipe for her would be converted to grams and milliliters. Unfortunately, at this time, I do not have an easy way to post a recipe that has both the measurements available. However, I did create a handy basic ingredient conversion cheat sheet so hopefully converting this recipe to grams and milliliters is not too difficult.

The Basic Ingredient Conversion Cheat Sheet is one of several free resources I provide in my Sweet Resource Library.  You can gain full access here.

Basic Ingredient Conversion Cheat Sheet

The Cake

Oh, this blue velvet cake seems familiar? Well, it should! The eggless version we just made a few weeks ago for the Wonder Woman Eggfree Red Velvet Cupcakes. A few changes though, obviously. This blue velvet cake has eggs and blue food coloring instead of red. However, they share the same great taste.

The addition of blueberries does not change the consistency of the cake but they do add a nice fruity perk and may bulk up your batter to make a few more cupcakes than usual.

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

That Frosting Though

The frosting is sweet and sour and oh so blue! Seriously though, not only does it taste AMAZING but the scent permeates and makes you start craving those slushies and Blow Pops. I might have to start slathering this stuff on everything!

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

To Top It Off

You may have noticed those blueberries on top don’t exactly look natural. I spruced those babies up to be as glam as Beauty Bae. A spritz of Wilton Silver Color Mist and they are shimmering and glowing. Little Cakeasaurus Rex (the kiddo) got to eat my leftover berries. He loved that they were shiny and said he felt like he was eating fancy food.

Who doesn’t love a glimmering blueberry?

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes

How Do You Do Blue?

Are you absolutely in love with these Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes? Is there any way you could make them MORE blue? Let me know your ideas in the comments.

If you love them, let Miamii know you love her cupcakes too at Beauty Bae. I know she would love to hear from you!

Stay true, stay blue and make life taste sweeter!

 

 

Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Print Recipe
A custom recipe creation for Beauty Bae's Miamii Monsour. A mixture of sweet and tart swirled into this Blue Velvet cupcake chocked full of blueberries and topped with a blue raspberry cream cheese frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Print Recipe
A custom recipe creation for Beauty Bae's Miamii Monsour. A mixture of sweet and tart swirled into this Blue Velvet cupcake chocked full of blueberries and topped with a blue raspberry cream cheese frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Blue Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit Line a cupcake tin with 24 liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter, eggs, and sugar together.
  3. In a small bowl, use a spoon to mix food coloring, salt and cocoa into a paste. Wet food coloring will want to bead up. Press spoon firmly against bottom of the bowl to press coloring into cocoa. Keep blending until a paste-like consistancy is formed. This may mean adding a bit more coloring as needed.
  4. Add colored cocoa to the sugar mixture. Mix on medium speed until well blended.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together flour and baking soda.
  6. Add flour mixture a little at a time to the sugar mixture, alternating with the addition of the buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until well blended.
  7. Fold in vinegar and vanilla extract using a spatula. Do not over mix.
  8. Fold in blueberries gently.
  9. Fill each cupcake tin 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on rack before icing.
Blue Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attchment, beat softened cream cheese unti smooth.
  2. Add dry Jell-o mix directly to the cream cheese. Beat on medium- high to high speed until well blended.
  3. Add the milk to the cream cheese mixture a little at a time. Mix on medium-high speed. Frosting will become more wet.
  4. Add sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time. Beat on medium-high speed until frosting becomes thick and fluffy.
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Total Solar Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Celebrating the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I have created for you a Total Solar Eclipse lemon cupcake with a blackberry cream cheese filling and blackberry buttercream frosting.

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

 

Happy Thursday Loves!

I know I usually don’t post my cupcake recipes until Friday but I wanted you to have enough time this weekend to get these whipped up before the big event Monday.

Total Solar Eclipse

If you are in the US, a very special event is happening this Monday and is the inspiration for this cupcake.

This Monday, August 21, the United States will be experiencing a total solar eclipse spanning from coast to coast. The last time the United States experienced a solar eclipse crossing the Atlantic to the Pacific like this was June 8, 1918.

Band of Totality

The band of totality (the region where the total eclipse will be most visible) will be a seventy-mile wide band that stretches from South Carolina to Oregon. The states the band will cross through are as follows: South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon (1).

Of course, the band of totality will be sweeping right through North Carolina (my old home state) while I’m sitting down here in Florida viewing only a partial eclipse.

Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

NASA

My family thoroughly enjoys space wonders just like this. I mean, my husband and I did get married in a planetarium after all.

Just a few weeks ago we visited the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral and were able to have first-hand experience with NASA and their explorations.  That is a post for a different day though.

However, if you are interested in learning more about the solar eclipse, NASA is an awesome resource and you can learn all about what to expect during the eclipse. They also advise how to view the eclipse safely.

*WARNING: For your safety, please know that looking directly at the sun is extremely dangerous. Even sunglasses and tanning goggles are not adequate protection for viewing the eclipse. Please make sure to only use approved viewing glasses or make your own NASA approved viewing box here.*

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Inspiration

Whether you are planning a fun eclipse party or you just want to have a fun treat for the family, I created an eclipse inspired cupcake just for you. These tasty treats can be enjoyed for outside viewing or inside viewing online.

Blame it on living in Florida but while the rest of the US is gearing up for pumpkin spice season, I am still in the dead heat of ninety-five-degree summer. I am still in the mood for those light and refreshing summer fruit flavors. What about you? Are you still enjoying the warm rays of summer or are you ready to get your pumpkin season on?

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Lemons and Blackberries

Thinking about fresh fruits and sunshine, I immediately decided to make the base of the cupcake a tart yellow lemon cake.

The lemon zest and additional lemon juice really bump up the tart citrus flavor of these cupcakes.

All in the Filling

To soothe out the tartness and also add more to our eclipse theme I thought it would be neat to fill the center with a blackberry cream cheese filling.

The idea here was to make the base of the cupcake be like the sun. I knew I would be demonstrating the eclipse with the icing but I wanted another way to turn these lemon cupcakes into distinctly Total Solar Eclipse cupcakes.

After filling the cupcake tin half full of lemon cake batter, use a piping bag to squirt just a little nickel sized dot of blackberry filling in the middle. With any luck, it will create a circular or even a crescent shape inside the cupcake. When it is cut open, you will get a nice viewable cupcake eclipse.

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Over the Moon

Now, for the Total Solar Eclipse cupcakes, I wanted to alter the color of the icing so as to make it more resemble the moon passing in front of our lemon cupcake sun. But, unaltered, our icing would be a gorgeous pink color and would be very desirable when making these cupcakes for any other occasion.

This moon like effect is also why I chose to use a  Wilton 402-2001 No. 2A Round Decorating Tip, Multicolor to create a round puffed look rather than my usual swirl. I used the same tip for a similar effect on my Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes.

If you find the plain moon icing a bit boring or unattractive, you can always dress it up with a little lemon zest sprinkled over or even a blackberry perched on top.

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Why is this not a thing?

As excited as I am for this unique phenomenon, I am surprised I have not seen many advertisers jump at the opportunity to bank on this event.  I did see some very humorous and clever advertising by Chiquita though and their “banana sun”.

My friend Brooks, over at OurParentPlace, and I were just discussing this the other day. Why hasn’t Eclipse gum jumped on this opportunity? I mean, it is in their name!

Brooks is an awesome momma that writes about the unique intersectionality of mental health and parenting. She has first-hand experience with both and helps support other moms dealing with similar issues.  She also resides right in the middle of the band of totality! (I’m so jealous!)

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Let me hear from you in the comments. Are you in the band of totality? Will you be hosting your own eclipse soiree? What do you think of these Total Solar Eclipse cupcakes and what other thematic goodies could you put with them? Let me know down below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Cofield, Calla and Tariq Malik. “Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)”. https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html.Space.com, 15 08 2017.
Full Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Celebrating the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I have created for you a Full Eclipse tart lemon cupcake with a soothing blackberry cream cheese filling and sweet blackberry buttercream frosting.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Full Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Celebrating the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I have created for you a Full Eclipse tart lemon cupcake with a soothing blackberry cream cheese filling and sweet blackberry buttercream frosting.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Lemon Cupcake
Blackberry Cream Cheese Filling
Blackberry Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Lemon Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time mixing on medium speed until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour baking soda and salt.
  4. Add a third of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Then add half of the Greek yogurt. Alternate between the flour mixture and Greek yogurt until all ingredients are used. Mix thoroughly on medium speed.
  5. With a spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure batter is well mixed. Fold in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  6. Fill lined cupcake tin half full. Squeeze dolup of blackberry filling into the center of each cupcake. Spoon lemon batter over the blackberry filling.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on baking rack.
Blackberry Filling
  1. In a blender, blend together the creamcheese, egg and sugar.
  2. Add a cup of blackberries and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add food coloring a drop at a time to reach desired color.
  4. Spoon filling into piping bag to easily fill centers of cupcakes.
Blackberry Butter Cream
  1. In a large mixing bowl, using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening on medium speed for about two minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice and blackberry puree to butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mixing thoroughly between additions.
  4. Fold in lemon extract.
  5. Wait for cupcakes to cool before frosting.
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Vera’s Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing

A super sweet collaboration with Vera from Voice of Vera inspired a whole new world of connections and custom cupcake creations. This Peach Spice Cupcake with Kiwi Sparkler Icing was created just for her.

The Inspiration

One of my favorite things to do is to go gift shopping for someone special. I like the feeling of thinking about them and thinking about what they would enjoy while searching the aisles. Many times, a type of candy , a specific animal or a figurine will remind me of a memory we shared together.

Baking isn’t much different. I was making Little Cakeasaurus Rex his Chunky Monkey Cupcakes and I was thinking about him the entire time. Thoughts of his monkey toes curling around my finger when he was a baby and how he would even hold his bottle with his feet spun around my mind like the batter around the beater.

I decided it might be fun to start connecting my recipes to people. How neat would it be to connect with other inspiring and adventurous people and create a custom cupcake flavor representative of who they are and what they do?

Who is Vera?

I was discussing this idea with Vera from Voice of Vera and she was excited to start swapping recipes and have me make a custom cupcake recipe for her.

Vera is a creative mom of four and blogs about her adventures including fashion and DIY.  One of my favorite things about her blog is that it is full of inspiration and her uplifting motto says it all:  “The best is yet to come!”

When she described her favorite flavors as being sweet, tart and fruity, the recipe practically wrote itself. I knew I needed something fun and flavorful for this awesome woman.

Custom Cupcake Creation

When the warm weather comes around, I can’t help but get a taste for fresh tropical fruit. Pineapples, kiwis, raspberries,you name it, I love them!

Growing up in North Carolina, our summer vacation was always a four hour trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Along the way, the family tradition was always to stop at a fruit stand and grab a basket full of big juicy South Carolina peaches. One bite of that peach and you would have sweet syrupy juice dripping down your chin. That sweet nostalgic flavor equates to summer for me. Now that we are knee deep into summer vacation, I am having an intense hankering for that sweet peach deliciousness.

This Peach Spice Cupcake recipe satisfies all of those tropical fruit cravings and has the added bonus of reminding me of a cocktail.

Peaches check off the sweet and fruity requirements for Vera’s custom cupcake. Now, I needed that tart flavor to bring it all together.

 

Peach and Kiwi

Peaches and kiwis? I know, right?! Who knew? The fact is, peaches have such a sugary taste to them that I felt a peach cupcake in the middle of summer desperately needed a complementary tart icing.

Kiwis provided the tartness to balance this recipe and make it the perfect sweet, tart and fruity flavor we were looking for.

 

A Kiwi Sparkler is a summer cocktail that includes kiwi and peach scnapps. How perfect?! The peach schnapps is what I would use to tie the kiwi icing to its peachy cupcake counterpart.

Now, I used Florida peaches for the Peach Spice Cupcake. Florida peaches are much smaller and less juicy than their Georgia and South Carolina relatives. They still provided that popping peach flavor though which is all I needed.

However, the difference is important. Pay attention!

Important!

If you are using a juicier peach for your baking endeavors, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe. If your ingredients are too wet, your cupcakes will shrink or sink in the middle. To offset this, you can either bump up your dry ingredients accordingly or you can just reduce the amount of peaches you use.
Personally, I would just do the latter. Adding in less peaches is way easier than adjusting the rest of the recipe and if they are that juicy, you won’t be losing any of the flavor.

Let’s get started!

Go ahead and set your oven to our favorite temperature of 350 degrees. Now is a good time to go ahead and put cute cupcake liners in your tin. You can get colorful and thematic ones here.

In a large mixing bowl, beat your butter and sugar on medium speed until nice and smooth. Then, add in your egg, vanilla and rum. The rum is going to make your batter look pretty wet and runny. It may also make it look like it is separating. It is okay and it won’t be ugly for long.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. This is your flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. It doesn’t matter how many cupcakes I make, every time I add in the baking soda, salt and baking powder, I always feel like I am about to create a science experiment. I mean, I am a culinary chemist to some extent.

 

Usually a recipe like this will use buttermilk to mix alternately with the dry ingredients. I decided to try something a little different by using Greek yogurt instead. The step works out about the same.

Pour about a third of your dry ingredients into your wet batter mix. Mix on low speed until well blended. Then add in half of the Greek yogurt and blend again. Keep alternating until you finish with the last third of the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended but do not over mix.

Fold in the peaches with a spatula and spoon batter into cupcake liners. You want to fill the cups three-fourths of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty-four to twenty-eight minutes. Mine were done at about twenty-six minutes. Just keep an eye out on them and check with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean when the cupcakes are ready.

Now for the Icing!

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth. This is easily accomplished with a whisk attachment for a stand mixer, but I’ve been successful using my old hand-me-down GE hand mixer too.  To make sure the icing stays smooth and silky, sift the powdered sugar in to the bowl one cup at a time, beating between each cup.

In a blender, blend about three kiwis into a puree. Peel the kiwis first with a potato peeler, leaving just the fleshy green fruit. I used the Ninja Blender to make the puree. Two presses of the pulse button and the kiwis are liquefied into a tart puree.

The kiwi puree definitely resembles baby food at this point. I thought it might make the icing a strange pea green color but the  white powdered sugar lightens the color tremendously. Add the kiwi puree, salt, peach schnapps and vanilla extract to the powdered sugar mixture. You will want to mix that on medium speed until well blended.

Sift the last cup of powdered sugar into the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed. Your icing will be smooth and almost silky feeling. There will be some specks from the kiwi seeds mixed throughout the icing.

 

Now it is time to enjoy.

Top those juicy sweet Peach Spice cupcakes with the Kiwi Sparkler icing and you have the perfect summer treat. I hope you love the sweet, tart and fruity flavors of this unique cupcake.

Make sure to head over to Voice of Vera and let her know how much you love her custom cupcake flavor.

If you are interested in developing your own custom flavor or having me develop one for you, please leave a comment below. I’d love to connect to with you!

This is how we make life taste sweeter together!

 

Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing
Print Recipe
Juicy sweet peach spice cupcake with chunks of real peaches topped with a tart Kiwi Sparkler icing.
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing
Print Recipe
Juicy sweet peach spice cupcake with chunks of real peaches topped with a tart Kiwi Sparkler icing.
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Peach Spice Cupcakes
Kiwi Sparkler Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Peach Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add egg, vanilla extract and rum to butter mixture. Mix on medium until blended. The rum will make the batter separate. It will not look pretty but it will be okay in the end.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt. Start and end with the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in chopped peaches and spoon into a lined cupcake tin 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 24-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from tins and cool on rack.
Kiwi Sparkler Icing
  1. Beat butter and shortening with a whisk attachment on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add two cups of powdered sugar sifted, one cup at a time. Mix well between additions.
  3. In a blender, puree three kiwis to make 1/2 a cup of puree.
  4. Add kiwi puree, salt, peach schnapps and vanilla extract to the powdered sugar mixture. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Add last cup of powdered sugar to the mixture and beat on medium to high speed until icing is smooth and silky.
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New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The best way to celebrate the new year is with champagne and strawberries. These Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes make the perfect kickoff for a brand new year!

I am so excited for the new year!

More excited than I was to move to Florida. More excited than I was for Christmas.

What better way to celebrate the new year than with some bubbly champagne and delicious strawberries? That sounds like a good start to a new year to me.

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I have had such a build up of excitement lately. This feeling I think normally hits people in fall or spring but for me it is right now. I want to shed all of the dead weight of 2015 and start 2016 clean, new and fresh. I have so many ideas and projects in store. I just can’t wait to share all of them with you.

Of course I will be maintaining our special Fridays of delicious cupcake goodness (forgive this one for being a bit late (I know, I know, not a great start for a new year)). But, I also have some other great recipes to share that I know you are going to love and some projects I’ve been working on as well. My house is going to undergo some changes this year with planning and budgeting and maybe some inexpensive remodels too. I can’t wait to get underway!

But first, let’s have a cupcake!

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes4~2

The natural inspiration for this cupcake was bubbly champagne. You pour a glass, you toast a friend, you kiss your love and that’s what New Years is all about. Well, for most folks anyway.

New Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesCaptain Cupcakeasaurus was working at the station on New Year’s Eve so the kiddo and I packed a few glasses, grabbed a bottle of sparkling cranberry juice instead and toasted in the new year that way. Our family was together and that was the important part.

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

I am not one to just “miss out” though. When the holiday calls for champagne, we are going to have champagne dang it! It is funny because I have been craving ham for months now expecting it to come around for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Well, when my grandmother announced she wouldn’t be doing ham for either of those holidays I practically purchased a ham the same day and announced we would be having it for our New Year’s dinner. They were a great price at Aldi and I ended up buying two.  The point is, I’m not missing out on my ham either!

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

The natural pairing with champagne (outside of orange juice for a morning mimosa of course) is strawberries. This New Year Bubbly and Berry cupcake brings you both in a supremely sweet package. The cupcake has just a hint of champagne flavor so no need to splurge on fancy bubbly for this recipe. The cheap kind works just fine. The batter will be wetter than some of our other batters but it works out in the end.

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes When they are ready to come out of the oven they actually resemble muffins in look and density.

New Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesNew Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesDon’t let that fool you though because topping them in a fluffy sweet Strawberry Buttercream makes for a delicious little cake. You can enjoy them on their own or go ahead and serve with bubbly good stuff.

New Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesIt is time for the toast. Hold your glass high. Here is to a new year full of energy, fun, tasteful treats  and another year of making life taste sweet!

 

 

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Light Champagne and strawberry cupcake topped with a sweet Strawberry Buttercream.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Light Champagne and strawberry cupcake topped with a sweet Strawberry Buttercream.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
Strawberry Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and strawberries on medium speed. Add in champagne and vegetable oil.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients a cup at a time into the ;large mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Batter will be quite wet.
  5. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cupcakes will resemble muffins. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
Strawberry Buttercream
  1. In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add 4 cups powdered sugar and vanilla to the butter and mix on medium high until well blended.
  3. Add pureed strawberries a little at a time while mixing into the buttercream. Powdered sugar may need to be added to maintain firm frosting consistency after pureed strawberries are added.
  4. Pipe frosting on to cooled cupcakes and enjoy.
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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Christmas festivities need a warm melting hot chocolate cupcake to keep spirits warm and bright.

Hey Guys!

Christmas is almost here and hopefully everyone is staying safe and not getting too overwhelmed this holiday season.

If you do feel a bit stressed, just grab a piece of chocolate and take a deep breath. The holiday is about love and giving not stressing out over gifts and making everyone happy.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

The Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex started Boy Scouts a few weeks ago and will be celebrating with them soon for a Christmas party. What kind of Cupcakeasaurus would I be if I didn’t volunteer to bring the cupcakes? I asked the kiddo for his favorite flavor as my jumping off point for this one.

Chocolate!

Can you blame him? Also, I enjoyed the Lindor white chocolate truffles so much in the White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes that I was excited to incorporate them again using milk chocolate this time. So, if we were in North Carolina or perhaps even farther north, then it would be cold enough to be enjoying hot cups of cocoa.

 

The Best Hot Chocolate

Now, I don’t know how you’re used to making your Hot Chocolate but I love making it for the little man by adding a few extras to make it really delicious and over the top. I do usually use a base of Swiss Miss and milk, not water. I’ll heat it on the stove and add in some chocolate syrup and a good bit of cinnamon.

After pouring into his favorite Spiderman mug, I add one milk chocolate truffle to melt into smooth rich chocolate. I top his with marshmallows though I typically prefer whip cream for myself. Then a little drizzle of chocolate syrup on top to really finish it off.

Ideally these are enjoyed just before dropping him off somewhere else so they can endure the sugar high from all the chocolate. I’m kidding of course but I realize I’m fairly serious about my Hot Chocolate.

 

The Best Hot Chocolate Cupcake

Thankfully cupcakes don’t need specific temperature requirements to really be enjoyed. So I can bring all those wonderful flavors from our Hot Chocolate right into an easy to eat cupcake. I hate waiting for my Hot Chocolate to cool down enough to drink. I’m so impatient I end up burning my tongue on it and having a sore spot for the next few days. No risk of that with cupcakes.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

The cupcake base is a chocolate cupcake recipe I edited to bring out more of the cinnamon flavor. Amazingly the cake does not use butter or eggs. Instead your liquid ingredients in this one are going to be Greek yogurt and milk. The batter is extremely thick but it is also super easy to mix. I didn’t even use my mixer this time; just my whisk and a little elbow grease.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

I started by mixing my dry ingredients of flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. I whisked that together until well mixed. Then I added in the milk, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Like I said, the batter is really thick. It does get softer as you mix it though. The last step is to fold in the chocolate chips. I suppose technically chocolate chips would be an alteration to the Hot Chocolate recipe but we’ll pretend they are subbing in for the chocolate syrup.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Just like we did in the White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes, take your kitchen shears and cut into the top of the cupcakes an X shape and push an unwrapped milk chocolate truffle into the top. Press down slightly so that the top of the truffle is almost flush with the top of the cupcake. If it sticks up a bit that is okay too.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Icing

These cupcakes do not need a significant amount of icing. Pretty much we are just icing them enough to hold the marshmallows on and to add a bit of contrasting flavor.

Hot_Chocolate_CupcakesIn a large mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, mix on medium high two sticks of butter, two teaspoons of vanilla, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 1.5 lbs of powdered sugar. The icing will be quite thick as well but the butter will be creamy. Make sure that there are no chunks of butter remaining and everything is smooth.

I then piped a thin amount of icing on top of each cupcake in a circular motion starting from the outside of the cupcake and wrapping my way to the middle. I pretended it was like whip cream swirling at the top of the mug.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

What’s Hot Chocolate Without Marshmallows?

The marshmallows really have no rhyme or reason. I mean I didn’t count them or have a method of how I attached them or anything. I just took a handful and placed them on so that it looked like a dome of marshmallows on top of Hot Chocolate. That is the whole look we are going for after all.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

I had some leftover chocolate from the Rum Soaked Chocolate Covered cherries the other day, so I heated some of that up. There are several ways to do a drizzle. If your chocolate is cooperating, you can take your stirring spoon and drizzle the chocolate right over the cupcakes.

If it isn’t, then you can use a mini squirt bottle like I did or I’ve even used a sandwich bag before. I don’t recommend a sandwich bag because if the chocolate is the slightest bit too hot it can melt a hole in the bag and go everywhere. I learn from experience folks. In a pinch though, it does work if you are careful about the temperature of your chocolate.

 

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

The last finishing touch that really sells the Christmas party theme for these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are the little mini candy canes. I remember going to Black Hawk Hardware and sitting on Santa’s knee for pictures. He would always give out these little mini candy canes. It is funny to me how important talking to Santa was back then but I could not for the life of me tell you one thing I ever asked for him to bring me for Christmas. I do remember he had a real beard and I was fairly convinced he was the realest of all the Santas.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Speaking of Santa, I am sure he would love one of these Hot Chocolate cupcakes left out for him with a tall glass of milk.  That’s how you get the fun stuff kids!

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes
What a way to make the holiday magical? Whip up some Hot Chocolate Cupcakes and maybe enjoy them with your own mug of Hot Chocolate as well. Curl up with your family and enjoy the holiday. This is how I’m making life taste sweeter.

As always please like, share, and follow to spread the Christmas cheer.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes stuffed with Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles topped with a simple vanilla butter cream and mounds of marshmallows. Finish with a milk chocolate drizzle and mini candy cane for holiday delight.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes stuffed with Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles topped with a simple vanilla butter cream and mounds of marshmallows. Finish with a milk chocolate drizzle and mini candy cane for holiday delight.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes
Simple Vanilla Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add in Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula. Fill 24 lined cupcake tins 3/4 full with batter.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean. Using kitchen shears cut a cross into the top of each cupcake. Insert an unwrapped Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffle in to the opening and press down slightly until the top of the truffle is nearly flush with the top of the cupcake.
Simple Vanilla Butter Cream
  1. In a large mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, mix on medium high butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
  2. Swirl a very light flat coating of icing over each cupcake. Add about 10-12 marshmallows to the top of the icing.
  3. Melt Almond Bark in a microwave safe bowl on High in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and add 10 seconds until completely melted and smooth. Using a spoon or squirt bottle, drizzle Almond Bark over the top of cupcakes. Garnish with a mini candy cane on each cupcake.
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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

Hey Guys!

Man, it has been a fun filled week. I have successfully completed almost all of the Christmas shopping. There are just a few things left to check off that list but for the most part done. We added two new furry members to the family this week. They are the sweetest little eight week old kittens who have diligently been helping me gift wrap presents. By help of course I mean chase string and chomp on bits of paper.

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Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

As we all get into the holiday spirit, Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex built his own Gingerbread house made of foam. Why not a real Gingerbread house? Well, one, I have always felt funny about eating candy off of real Gingerbread houses. Something about Hansel and Gretel and eating stale candy….but I digress.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

But reason two is that we were filling the house with the smell of delicious Gingerbread cupcakes instead. These taste way better than any prefabricated Gingerbread house kit or stale candy you can pick up at the store.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

Full disclosure, this was the first Gingerbread anything I’ve ever made from scratch. I knew that Gingerbread required molasses but I had never directly worked with it before. In my mind, I imagined molasses being a lot like Karo syrup. Molasses is NOT like Karo syrup. It does not smell good and doesn’t really taste good raw either. Yes, of course, I had to try it. Just like that time when I was about seven or so and decided that vanilla extract smelled good enough to eat. No no no. But thankfully, molasses mixed with other delicious things, much like vanilla extract, ends up tasting amazing in the end.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

 

These Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting are super easy and super cute for all of your holiday gatherings and treats. Much like so many of my recipes, you separate your dry ingredients and your wet ones and then you mix them in together. The consistency and color of the batter will look like the smoothest peanut butter you’ve ever seen.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingGingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

When the cakes come out they are so  fluffy and much more enjoyable than the rock hard cookies in the kits. Can you tell I have some hate for the Gingerbread house kits? It is probably repressed anger from never being able to get my royal icing packet to the right consistency to dry before my house fell over. I’m a baker. I bake. I am not an architect nor a construction master. I’ll leave the house building to the other guys. We’ll stick with cupcakes.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingThe frosting is just as easy as the caking. At first, I felt like that was a TON of sugar for a cream cheese icing but then I realized why. Ginger and molasses both have really strong flavors. You end up needing the extra sugar to balance out those flavors. It works out I promise. It works out so well that I was practically eating the frosting by the spoonful. Really, this stuff would taste good on sooo many things.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingGingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

The final touch is adding these adorable little Gingerbread men to the top. I LOVE almost any food I can bite the head off of. Ok, that may sound weird. I don’t mean like meat and animals and such. I mean I love biting the heads off of Peeps, and Teddy Grahams and gummy bears. So, if you have an obsession like I do of edible decapitation, then you’ll love these decorative Gingerbread men decorations. Wilton has a great line of Christmas Icing Decorations that include Christmas trees and snowflakes and these lovely Gingerbread men. I also noticed they have some dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters or my favorite, the ones I used, which are holding little gum drops. Too cute!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

 

So while you are decking the halls and inevitably making spirits bright, make sure to make life taste sweeter with these scrumptious Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting!

 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar on medium high speed. Add in eggs and mix well. Then add in molasses, again mixing well.
  3. Add a third of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix completely. Add about half of the water to the wet ingredients. Continue to alternate between flour mixture and the water, ending with adding the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until well blended.
  4. Fill 24 lined cupcake tins 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, with whisk attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Texture should be smooth and creamy.
  2. Mix in salt, ginger, and molasses until well blended.
  3. Add in powdered sugar a cup or so at a time. The frosting will thicken and really take shape.
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White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and we are all plum full of turkey and fixings, it is time to turn toward Christmas. Maybe it is being one of the few Christmases I’ve ever spent away from home, or maybe it is the still 90 degree heat here in Florida, but I have been craving the Christmas season like no body’s business. I love seeing the stores decorate with lights and ribbons. Well, I am an ADD kid, I’m always going to love sparkly lights no matter the reason.

As soon as we returned home from our family travels this year, I had Captain Cupcakeasaurus pulling down the tree and decorations from the attic. So my little four foot prelit tree is up and shining. It was fun deciding which ornaments made it on the tree this year. This is the first Christmas Captain and I have decorated and celebrated together. Last year we were still living 600 miles apart.

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Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex also got in the spirit  by hanging up his chocolate advent calendar. Aldi had a cute one available that lets him pull out a small milk chocolate each day counting down to Christmas.

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To really make the house festive I had to whip up some thematic cupcakes. I may not see a white Christmas this year but that is okay because these White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes make it feel like a white Christmas regardless.

Everything about these cupcakes are white. A white vanilla batter with sour cream for extra whiteness. Then a delicious white chocolate Lindor truffle is placed inside of each one. Top with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and you’ve got yourself the perfect White Chocolate Christmas cupcake.

White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes

I have to share something a bit embarrassing but supremely funny with you guys. When Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex tried one of these Cupcakes he was surprised, naturally, by the truffle inside. I then tried to explain to him what a truffle was and relate it to something he knew. He says, “Oh, truffles are those things that help your uterus calm down!”White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes

I often enjoy the milk chocolate truffles during a certain time of month and apparently even the six-year-old has picked up on it. I suppose I’m training him right because knowing a woman’s favorite chocolate can certainly get him out of all kinds of trouble in the future.

 

Some of our recent cupcakes have had some extra steps that made them a bit more difficult than your average cupcake recipe. This one is not one of those. It is super easy especially if you have everything on hand. I wanted these cupcakes to be as pure white as possible. I was really going for full on snowy Winter Wonderland effect here. 

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So I even used my colorless vanilla extract by Wilton in order to ensure the cakes turned out as white as possible. It is also important to make sure to fold in those egg whites towards the end. You want a nice light and fluffy batter. If it is over worked, your cake will be more dense rather than light and airy.

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One of the best parts about these cupcakes are the freaking melt in your mouth Lindt Lindor truffles that just take this cake over the top. Truffles are delicate and melt easily so this is definitely not one of those things you want to try and bake inside the cupcake.

White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes

But while the cupcakes are still hot just take some kitchen shears and cut down into the cake about a half an inch. Make another cut crossing your first and it can look like a plus sign or an X which ever you prefer. Then just nestle one of your truffle babies right down inside and press a little bit to get it in there nice and tight. I would love to see what these cupcakes would look like with a chocolate or caramel truffle in them as well. Mmmmmm.

 

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The White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting is a perfect pairing with this cake. It is thick and chocolate-y and the cream cheese adds that refreshing flavor. This would also be a great frosting for decorating a Santa beard or adding snowballs to other decorating endeavors.

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Now, like I said, I was going for a pure white Winter Wonderland feel. So I wanted my icing to be as pure white as possible and really almost glisten like snow dunes do beneath the moon light. I sprayed a light coating of silver Color Mist food spray over the frosting to really make the icing shine and it  resembles the lights reflecting off  icy snow.

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And because these cupcakes are so pale in complexion, you can decorate with almost any color and really make them pop. These would look amazing on a bright red serving platter or even done up as gifts on colorful plates. The possibilities are endless. As an extra little texture to the top, I added a little shaved white chocolate which gives a nice preview of the tastes inside.

White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes

What are some images that immediately come to mind for you when you think about Christmas and this time of year? Do you think of a Winter Wonderland or hot peppermint cocoa? Do you imagine blues and silvers or is everything in red and green? We all have those memories, whether from sights or tastes, that take us back to the childhood excitement of this time of year.

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we did. This time it was Lindor chocolate truffles that made life taste sweeter.

White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
Print Recipe
White fluffy vanilla cake with a white chocolate Lindor truffle center and topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
Print Recipe
White fluffy vanilla cake with a white chocolate Lindor truffle center and topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients of flour and baking powder. Set to the side. Measure out the milk and add vanilla to the milk.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar on medium high speed until smooth.
  4. Add a third of the flour to the sugar mixture. Then add half of the milk. Alternate additions, ending with the last third of flour. Mix well between additions until smooth.
  5. Add a third of the egg whites and whisk into batter. Then, take the remaining two thirds of egg whites and fold them in with a spatulas as to not over work the batter. Place liners in 24 cup liners and fill 3/4 of the way fill with batter.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Use kitchen shears to cut a plus sign in the top of each cake. Place a Lindor White Chocolate truffle inside and press down slightly so that the tops of the truffles are at about the same height of the cupcake.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about a minute. Stir and heat in 30 second increments until fully melted and smooth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix on medium speed cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add in white chocolate and mix until well blended. Add in powdered sugar in increments and beat until smooth.
  3. Optional garnish is to add white chocolate shavings to the top. Another optional garnish is to spray lightly with silver Color Mist Food Color spray for a shiny finish.
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Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Hey Guys!

Thanksgiving

It is the week before Thanksgiving and we are all getting ready for our family and friends and good eating. Besides all the pumpkin we’ve been making with Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pecan Praline and Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, the next family favorite is always the Sweet Potato Casserole. Who doesn’t love the sweet crunchy goodness of brown sugar and nuts over sweet potatoes and my personal favorite the gooey toasted marshmallows? Yum!

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

 

Well, I say family. Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex swears up and down that he hates sweet potatoes. After these cupcakes, he is going to have a hard time getting away with that again. He ate it so fast he barely chewed and then wanted to argue with me when I told him the ingredients. Little Stinker! Suffice it to say, I think the boy likes sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato or Pumpkin?

In many ways I treat sweet potatoes like pumpkin. I mean think about it, they are similar in color and once cooked pretty similar in texture. Their flavors are similar in many ways especially when you spice them up with things like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves,  and allspice. In fact, unless they are side by side, bite for bite, I think sweet potato pie can easily pass as pumpkin pie.

Sweet_Potato_Casserole_CupcakesI like to do this recipe in one consecutive baking session. Sometimes I will bake the cakes, then do a topping and then come back to frost them. This recipe is just much easier all at once.  First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Even though they won’t be needed until later, I went ahead and placed my pecans on a little baking sheet to toast.

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While those are becoming nice and toasty, I then start on the sweet potato purée.  Cut the sweet potatoes into about one inch cubes. I think the smaller pieces make them easier to mash but don’t stress on exactness here. Then just barely cover the potatoes in cold water and place on high heat. Similar to making regular mashed potatoes, just let them boil and get real tender. I used my wooden spoon to mash them into a purée but a fork or potato masher would work fine too. I felt like I was making homemade baby food or something while mashing these sweet potatoes.

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The next step is to mix up the Pecan Topping. Mmmmm. There is quite the debate on whether this is the best part or the marshmallow is the best. I’ll let you decide. Mix together the Pecan Topping ingredients and just set to the side. It will be crumbly but that is the way we want it.

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All In the Mix

Like many of my recipes, I whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl which is later added to the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, the sugar, butter and lemon zest will be creamed together. Add in the applesauce a little at a time. For conversion sake, if you are planning on making a cake and want to take the eggs out of it (or you ran out of eggs like a silly baking goose), then 1/4 cup applesauce is equal to one egg. However, you’ll want to add a bit more baking powder to balance it out. I would estimate about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking powder per egg being replaced. It is a fairly handy trick when you don’t have eggs or have a vegan in the house.

Add in the sweet potato purée and mix well. It is almost time for those dry ingredients to start making this batter look more like batter and less like sweet potato pudding.

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Alternate adding the dry ingredients in with adding in the milk. I usually add in a third of the flour mixture and then half of the milk. Then, I will repeat that cycle by adding in another third of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. The last third of the flour mixture you will want to fold in manually with a rubber spatula so as not to over mix the batter.

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Fill the liners 3/4 of the way full of batter and then spoon the Pecan topping on top. Do not worry if the topping domes over the top of the cupcakes, just lightly press it down so that it really seeps in to the cupcake. Bake those for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean with just a few clinging crumbs.

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Now, the original idea behind these cupcakes was to take the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole and turn it into an easy to eat delectable treat. However, at some point during the planning process, I overlooked the fact I was missing a baking essential! I didn’t have eggs! This did not pose a problem for the Sweet Potato Casserole cupcakes. In fact, by using applesauce instead of eggs, I feel like it really enhanced the flavor of the spices in the cake.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

The problem really arose when I went to make the Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. Here is my disclaimer: The toasted marshmallow fluff in the picture is not the recipe posted below. Why? Well, here comes the embarrassing part. So, I get the bright idea to make Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. I have never made it before. Without reading a recipe (NOTE TO SELF: READ THE RECIPE), I began whipping up what I believed to be marshmallow fluff.  Did I start with sugar or gelatin or marshmallow spread? Of course not. I started with a bag full of marshmallows. I have my off days guys. I’m allowed. 🙂

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Anyway, as I’m mixing away at my bag of marshmallows, I finally decide to pull up a few recipes on how to make Marshmallow Frosting. Low and behold, that is when I see that I may need eggs for this project and now what is a girl to do? As a baker, I have powdered meringue on hand for just such occasions when I need egg whites and I don’t have them. So then I kind of try to follow the recipe but still including my original bag of marshmallows.  None of it was really working. So I decided to save you the trouble of making my mistake so you can have beautiful tasty cupcakes instead of the mess I created.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Oh, you think that doesn’t sound all that bad? You haven’t heard the half of it. Since I did not follow directions, or started following them too late, or whatever, my marshmallow fluff was way wetter than it should’ve been. Even though I piped it onto the tops of the cupcakes, they quickly dispersed and spread across the tops of the cakes and down the sides of my tins.

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I also learned a handy lesson about broiling during this endeavor. Marshmallows only take a few seconds to toast. If you walk away for even just a minute, they could catch on fire like campfire marshmallows and you’ll have an oven full of fire and a smoke detector going off and trying to explain to your Fire Captain fiancé how you almost burnt the house down. That’s all speculation of course. But, please learn from my mistakes and lightly toast your marshmallows instead of torching them.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Thankfully, my friends are those funny people who like the more blackened pieces of the campfire marshmallows and they actually loved the taste of the Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with the added charred marshmallow topping. But, if you’d rather not explain that your cupcakes are just charred and not chocolate, then I suggest a light toasting doing the trick.

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Maybe this year, instead of pulling out the casserole dish, pull out the cupcake tins instead and enjoy the traditional family favorite of Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with all the sweet delicious flavor and the added benefit of easy individual servings.

Enjoy the time with your family folks. I know I will be. Make life taste sweeter by sharing this recipe with the ones you love.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Pecan Topping
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on cookie sheet and put in oven to toast while preparing batter.
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into one inch cubes. Cover in pot with cold water, just enough to top sweet potatoes, and boil on high until sweet potatoes are soft. You can blend them or mash them with a fork once tender. They are so soft it really doesn't take much to mash into a puree.
  3. If pecans are toasted, pull out of oven. Leave at 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with 24 liners. Mix Pecan Topping ingredients in a medium bowl. They will be crumbly. Set to the side.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the rest of the spices. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat light brown sugar and granulated sugar with the melted butter and lemon zest. Mix well. The mixture will become thick after 3-4 minutes. Add in a applesauce a 1/4 at a time. Mixing well between each addition.
  6. Add in sweet potato puree and vanilla extract until batter is creamy.
  7. Take dry ingredients and alternately add them to the mixing bowl with the milk. Add a third of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the milk, etc. The last 1/3 of the flour mix you'll want to hand fold in with a spatula so as not to over mix the batter.
  8. Fill liners 3/4 full with batter. Spoon Pecan topping on top of each cupcake and press down slightly to really get the topping down into the cupcake. Bake 15-20 at 350 degrees. A toothpick should come out clean with maybe just a few crumbs.
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
  1. Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set over a saucepan with boiling water and whisk ingredients until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Move mixing bowl to electric mixer. Add in vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix starting at low and gradually moving to high speed until stiff peaks form.
  3. The frosting is very sticky. Using a piping bag, pipe a dollop of Whipped Marshmallow Frosting on the top of each cupcake. Put in oven on high broiler for just a few seconds to toast marshmallow. You can also do this manually with a kitchen torch if one is available.
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