Month: June 2012

Summer Ideas 2012

Here are some ideas for 4th of July or summer baking projects! I will be on vacation and away from my computer until mid-July. I’ve got a ton of posts scheduled for this blog, but I may be a little slow in responding to comments or e-mails. Hope you are all having an amazing summer!

1. Burgers & Fries
2. Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
3. American Flag Cake
4. Margarita Cupcakes
5. Sparkler Cupcakes
6. Ants at a Picnic Cupcakes
7. Sno-Cone Cupcakes
8. 4th of July Cake
9. 4th of July Mini Cupcakes
10. Watermelon Cupcakes
11. Red & Blue Poke Cake
12. Patriotic Punch

Sno-Cone Cupcakes

I just about squealed when I saw these adorable cupcakes in last month’s Food Network magazine. I mean, really. How cute are they?! And they really do resemble Sno-Cones! Oh, delicious Sno-Cones. I have vivid memories of eating Sno-Cones at the county fair when I was a kid. Nothing but syrup and ice, but somehow they tasted like magic (isn’t it funny how your environment can influence your perception of taste?).

These cupcakes are really easy to make. The hardest part, in my opinion, was finding the necessary Styrofoam cups and wooden spoons. I found the wooden spoons on Amazon – but if you won’t want to go this route, you could always stick a straw into your cupcakes (because many people drink their Sno-Cones instead of scooping out the ice). The 4-oz Styrofoam cups were more difficult to find. They are small and many stores don’t carry them. My Dad works in the food industry and was able to find a sleeve of them for me, but I’ve read on the Internet that Wal-Mart also carries this specific size. (and no, larger cups won’t work… the cupcakes sit juuuuuust right in the 4-oz version).

Anyway! Onto the instructions!

Sno-Cone Cupcakes
Recipe source: Food Network Magazine
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (plus required oil, eggs)
Red, yellow, and blue sanding sugars
1 tub of store-bought vanilla frosting or 1 batch of homemade buttercream
Waxed paper, wooden spoons, and about 24 4-oz Styrofoam cups

1. Bake the cupcakes according to box directions. While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare the materials needed for assembly. Pour the sprinkles out into separate bowls. Cut strips of wax paper, about 1 inch wide.
2. Frost your cupcakes and use a generous amount on each cupcake. You want the frosting to form a little mound on the top of each cupcake.
3. Place one strip of waxed paper in the middle of the cupcake. Dip the exposed sides into the red and blue sugars. Remove the strip of waxed paper and dip into the yellow sugar.
4. Drop the cupcake into the Styrofoam cup and add a wooden spoon.

Red & Blue Poke Cake

A friend of mine mentioned the concept of a Poke Cake to me many, many months ago. I was bewildered. She describe it as, “OK, you bake the cake, and then poke it, and then pour Jello over it, and then stick it in the refrigerator.” Huh? I knew I had to give this one a try. Cake + Jello? Yes, please. This version is specific to the 4th of July, but you could use any Jello flavor(s) you’d like!

Red & Blue Poke Cake
Recipe source: Kraft Foods
Print Recipe

1 package white cake mix (plus required oil, eggs)
1 package red Jello (I used strawberry)
1 package blue Jello
Store-bought frosting or a tub of Cool Whip

1. Prepare cake batter as directed on box mix and bake two 8″ or 9″ cakes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes. You will need two cake pans for this (if you want to be efficient; if time is no issue, you could use one).
2. Pierce each cake with a large fork or the point end of a meat thermometer at 1/2 inch intervals.
3. Empty the red Jello mix into one bowl and the blue in another. Add 1 cup of boiling water to each Jello mix; stir each color for 2 minutes or until the Jello is completely dissolved into the water. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water into each. Pour about half of the red mixture over one cake (don’t use all of the Jello mixture, as it will make the cake too moist… it’s just too much liquid for an 8″ inch cake). Pour about half of the red mixture over the other cake.
4. Refrigerate the cakes for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. Remove the cakes from their pans and frost with icing or Cool Whip.

Note: These cakes will be incredibly moist! You can control this aspect by how much of the Jello mixtures you pour over your cakes. The more you use, the more moist the cakes will be.

Patriotic Punch

I live in the Midwest, so the 4th of July is usually hot, sweaty, and humid. This colorful punch is a great way to cool down! Since many 4th of July celebrations include kids, this recipe is alcohol-free.

Ever wonder why the liquids will separate out into distinct layers? It has to do with the sugar content of each beverage used. More sugar = a more dense liquid. You can make many layers, but start your drink with the most sugar-filled liquid and go from there. This is also why a can of Coca-Cola will sink if you throw it into a pool of water, but a can of Diet Coke will float. Science! It’s fun!

Patriotic Punch
Print Recipe

Hawaiian Punch (red)
Gatorade (light blue)
[you can also add a clear layer on the top if you use Diet 7up or Diet Sprite]

This is pretty simple. Fill a glass with ice. Pour your most dense liquid into each glass FIRST. Again, the liquid with the most sugar will be the most dense.. and it will sit on the bottom of the glass. Pour the 2nd most dense liquid into the glass next.

Pour the blue layer slowly and carefully, as this will help to keep the liquids separated. If you pour too quickly, it’ll look like a mix of purple at the point where the two liquids meet [as seen in the photo above! I poured the Gatorade too quickly into the center glass. Lesson learned!].

Sparkler Cupcakes

The 4th of July is almost here! It’s one of my favorite holidays because it involves summertime, explosives, patriotism, and a whole lot of a good food. These cupcakes were inspired by a Betty Crocker magazine that I picked up at the grocery store. You can make them homemade or go super-simple (as I did) and use a box mix.

Sparkler Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (plus required eggs, oil)
1 tub frosting (or a batch of homemade buttercream)
Red, white, and blue sprinkles
Red and blue candy melts
Wax paper
Piping bag

1. Bake the cupcakes according to box directions. Allow the cupcakes to cool entirely. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the candy melt squiggles.
2. Melt the candy melts in the microwave (or you can use a double-boiler). Be careful with this step otherwise they will burn. I microwaved my bowl of candy melts in 10-second increments and stirred after each increment. They will eventually melt and stir into a smooth mixture. Be patient with the microwaving and go slow.
3. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper. Fill a piping bag with the melted candy melts. Snip off a small corner of the piping bag & pipe out little squiggles of candy melts onto the waxed paper. Allow the squiggles to sit for at least an hour, preferably in a cool location.
4. Once your cupcakes have cooled, frost them with icing. Decorate the cupcakes with red, white, and blue sprinkles if you’d like. Carefully peel the squiggles off of the waxed paper and stick them into the cupcakes for decoration.