Carrot Cake Candy Corn Cupcakes

DSC_4711x900Guess what? Carrot cake candy corn exists. CARROT. CAKE. CANDY. CORN. If you are a frequent reader of my blog you know that I hate carrot cake (it ranks high with coconut on my list of disliked treats), so the thought of carrot cake candy corn doesn’t thrill me. But to each their own, right?

One of the quirks that I inherited from my Dad is that I must try new products. If I see something new at the grocery store, it’s in my cart in two seconds flat. This makes me an advertiser’s dream. I’ve tried almost every new variety of Oreo cookies — caramel apple Oreos? No good. Cookie dough Oreos? Weirdly coffee flavored. Reese’s peanut butter Oreos? Pretty damn good. Red velvet Oreos? Bleh! The list could go on and on. Sometimes new products are amazing and I have to fight the desire to stock up and hoard. And sometimes I am reminded of this classic line from Jurassic Park:

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I’ll let you decide for yourself if the concept of carrot cake candy corn is amazing…or questionable! Buy yourself a bag and make these cupcakes!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1-1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons plain, low-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups grated carrots
**Do not use the store-bought shredded carrots — they will not be moist enough. Buy whole carrots and use a food processor to chop them.

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture until well combined. Divide among lined muffin tin.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through the baking time. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer.
2. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar until smooth and well-mixed; beat in vanilla.
3. Frost each cupcake and decorate with the candy corn.

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Robins’ Nest Coconut Cupcakes

DSC_4906x900Coconut is one of my most hated foods. But look at the cuteness of these cupcakes!! I may dislike coconut, but I love robin egg candy…and that beautiful color blue. These cupcakes are ideal for those of you who aren’t confident in your decorating or piping skills. They’re also ideal for those of you who enjoy coconut. You crazy, crazy people.

Robins’ Nests Coconut Cupcakes
Recipe source: The Novice Chef
Print Recipe

For the cupcakes:
1 can coconut milk (do not shake)
1-1/2 cup flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:
To save time, I used a tub of store-bought vanilla icing. If you’d like to make coconut icing from scratch, there is a great recipe here.

For the decorating:
2-3 cups shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted
Robin egg candies (mine are from a specialty candy shop here in Wisconsin)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with liners. Set aside.
2. Open can of coconut milk that has not been shaken. There will be a thick cream sitting on top. Measure out 3/4 cup of the cream. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. In stand mixer, mix eggs and sugar. Beat in vegetable oil, coconut extract and almond extract.
5. Alternate dry ingredients (flour mixture) and buttermilk and the coconut cream (from the can of coconut milk), mixing until fully combined.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer cupcakes to cooling rack and let cool completely.
7. Toast the coconut: spread the shredded coconut out onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for about 5 minutes. Important: oven temperatures may vary. Check on your coconut! You may need to bake it for a shorter or a longer period of time! You want it to be lightly toasted.
8. Decorate: spread vanilla icing on top of each cupcake. Dip the cupcakes into the toasted coconut. Top with three robin eggs.

Makes 14-18 cupcakes.

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Mini Peeps Cupcakes

DSC_4750-2x900Confession: when I saw these mini Peeps decorations I actually said “wheee!” My mom was with me at the time and thought nothing of it, because she’s used to me wheee-ing and squeeeee-ing over adorable baking decorations. But really, I hate Peeps but I love the idea of Peeps. They are so cute and are a quintessential part of the season.

I think Wilton makes these mini Peeps decorations. I found them at Target though you might be able to find them at other retailers that sell Wilton products.

Mini Peeps Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1 box chocolate cake mix (plus required oil + eggs)
1 tub of chocolate icing (though you are free to make homemade icing if you’d like!)
Mini cupcake liners + a mini cupcake pan
A disposable pastry bag
A large French pastry tip
Mini Peeps decorations

1. Line a mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners.
2. Make mini cupcakes according to box directions. I baked mine for about 10 minutes. Allow the mini cupcakes to cool completely before decorating.
3. Pipe the chocolate icing onto each cupcake using your disposable pastry bag and French tip. If you don’t have a French tip, don’t worry — any large tip would work well!
4. Place a mini Peep decoration on top of each cupcake.

Yield: 2-3 dozen mini cupcakes.

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Mini Bunny Cupcakes

DSC_4693x900Aren’t these little bunny decorations adorable?! I found them at Target (I think they’re a Wilton product, so you may be able to find them elsewhere) and thought they’d be perfect for mini cupcakes. Mini cupcakes are great. You can eat four of them… which basically equates to one full-sized cupcake. These were super easy to make!

Mini Bunny Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (plus required oil + eggs) — I used spring funfetti
1 batch of buttercream icing (I’d recommend the white buttercream here)
Mini cupcake liners
Bunny decorations
A disposable pastry bag + a round tip

1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners.
2. Bake cupcakes according to box directions. I baked mine for about 10 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before decorating.
3. Make a batch of buttercream icing. Pipe the icing onto each cupcake using a round tip.
4. Place a bunny decoration on top of each mini cupcake.

That’s it! You’ll be able to make a few dozen mini cupcakes.

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Peeps Cupcakes

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It’s officially the season of EASTER! Spring is here, the weather is getting warmer (and by “warmer” I mean that it’s in the 40s instead of the 20s), and the big bunny holiday is about two weeks away. I don’t celebrate Easter in a traditional sense (not being a Christian really takes the wind out of the Easter Sunday sails for me), but I love the colors, candy, and optimism that this season brings. If you celebrate, I hope that the treats I’ll be posting over the next couple weeks give you ideas for your Easter Sunday.

Peeps Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (plus required oil + eggs)
2 batches of buttercream icing (I’d recommend the white buttercream recipe here)
Pink, yellow, green, and purple food coloring (I used Wilton’s gel dyes)
An assortment of Peeps
Toothpicks
Disposable pastry bags
A large star pastry tip

1. Bake cupcakes according to box directions. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before decorating.
2. Make the batches of buttercream. If you are making 24 cupcakes, you will definitely need two batches. If you are only making 12 cupcakes, you could get away with just one batch.
3. Divide the icing into 4 bowls and color the icing with your food colorings. I used Wilton gel colorings. If you want pastel icing, use just a little bit of coloring. A little will go a long way!
4. Pipe the cupcakes with your colored icings. I used a large star tip for this effect. The yellow swirls of icing sure do remind me of Dole Whip. (Am I right, Disney fans?!)
5. The Peeps are anchored onto the cupcakes with toothpicks.

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