One of the things I said I wanted to do this year was to actually try some of the many, many pins I have pinned on Pinterest (how many pins can a pinterested pinner pin….). And, well, today was the day.
I can’t believe I’m about to confess this, because it’s not like me, but here goes:
I made all the cupcakes in this photo except the one with the pretty bird and flower and stuff. No, that’s not what I’m a bit embarrassed about. This is. They’re cake mix cakes. Not because I don’t know how to make from scratch cakes, and not because I don’t love making scratch cakes, because I do. But I made 120 cupcakes today (plus an extra little mini cake because I had some extra batter due to the pin I tested today), and that’s a metric f*cktonne of cupcakes to make in one day. I couldn’t start them last night because Joe was insistent that we go see Desolation of Smaug again, and who am I to argue with that?
But they’re not just your average, run-of-the-mill cake mix cakes. Nossirree, Bob. My awesome bestie Sarah (by the way, you may have noticed that I refer to my bestie Clover and my bestie Sarah and Soleil and Elizabeth, etc. That’s because bestie isn’t a position, it’s a tier.) told me about this pin about how to make cake mix cakes taste like homemade and then some. Here’s the link she sent me: http://thepintertestkitchen.com/how-to-make-a-box-cake-mix-taste-better/
Basically you do the following: substitute melted butter for the oil; substitute milk for the water; and add an extra egg. Now when I clicked through to the directions, they said to add an extra egg or two; double the oil but use melted butter; and sub the milk. I added one extra egg to each of the German chocolate and the devil’s food cake mixes; the white cake mixes (which I used to create the delectable lemonade cupcakes–more in a sec) called for three egg whites, and I subbed two whole eggs since I didn’t care that the cake actually be white. I did not double the oil amount, but if it called, say, for 1/3 cup oil, I used 1/2 cup melted butter, so I did increase it a bit. And I subbed whole milk (organic because I don’t like the hormones in milk) for the water.
This pin TOTALLY rocked!!!
Now if you’re interested in the lemonade cupcakes, here’s how I made them. I rounded the butter up to the next half cup measure (e.g. as I said before, if it called for 1/3 cup oil, I used 1/2 cup melted butter); used two whole eggs instead of three egg whites; subbed whole milk for the water. I also poured in a splash of thawed pink lemonade concentrate. For the frosting–yes, I also cheated and used canned frosting–I started with cream cheese frosting. I dumped it into a big bowl, and added a good large blob of sour cream and some more thawed pink lemonade concentrate. I was worried it might turn the cakes pinkish, which I didn’t really want but didn’t think about when I got pink lemonade concentrate instead of just regular lemonade concentrate, but it didn’t. I made two boxes of the cupcakes (mixed up one box at a time) for 48 cupcakes, and used 3 cans of frosting. I mixed all the frosting stuff together, as I took the cupcakes to the reception site and frosted them there. When all was said and done, there was still about 1/3 can of the thawed lemonade concentrate left. Sorry I can’t provide exact amounts. I wanted the cake to be less tart, and have more of the tartness in the frosting, with the cream cheese and sour cream to provide a nice counterpoint. I heard a couple of people saying that the best cupcakes were the lemon ones, so I was pleased with that. Note that by mixing in the lemonade concentrate and the sour cream, it will definitely change the texture of the frosting. You won’t be able to pipe it because it’s a bit too liquidy. It worked out okay, though; I just spooned a blob of frosting on each cupcake, then sprinkled on some gold coloured sugar (the wedding colours were creams and golds and browns–very beautiful), and it evened out as they settled.
For the German chocolate cupcakes, I was originally going to pipe a border of chocolate frosting around the edges of the cupcakes and then fill it in with the coconut pecan icing, but by the time I’d done all the baking and coped with traffic on the way to the reception, I changed my mind. I just spooned the coconut pecan icing on top, and then placed a pecan half on top of each cupcake. They weren’t the prettiest cupcakes I’ve ever seen, but they weren’t too awful. I used two cans of coconut pecan icing for the 48 German chocolate cupcakes, and it wasn’t enough. I ended up having to use only chocolate icing on 8 or so, so I’d recommend using 3 cans of the icing if you’re making 48.
So while I’m a bit embarrassed that I used cake mixes, I’m pleased that the pin worked out so well, and incredibly pleased with the lemonade cupcakes I invented.
Oh, and one other thing–I’m a fan of those life hacks you might see all over the place on the internet. I saw one last week about how to crack raw eggs. I was taught by my mother to crack them on the edge of a bowl, but the hack I saw last week said it works better to just rap them smartly on a flat surface. So I gave that a go as well, and it works MUCH better than trying to crack them open on the edge of a bowl. They open easily and with very little mess, and no having to fish out bits of egg shell. So that, while it wasn’t a pin, also rocked.
I hope to be reporting on more pins throughout the year. What about you–any tips for making cake mixes taste better? Any creative twists on cake mix cakes you feel like sharing?