Category: Cupakes

A Case for Boxed Cake Mix

I am a Mom that went to culinary school whose kids like boxed cake mix! I’ve tried many a homemade cake from yellow to red velvet and every frosting imaginable. While they do love my cream cheese frosting they still like, dare I say it, canned frosting and boxed cake mix better.

So when my daughter suggested we do one of those doctored up box cake mix recipes, to add something chocolate to our family holiday celebration. I reluctantly agreed. My only caveat was that it couldn’t have any other processed ingredients. We came really close but the one my daughter wanted had instant pudding in it. I caved.

The directions were “SOOO” complicated. “Empty contents of Bag”. Add in this. Stir in that. I persevered. We greased the pan and baked the mix for the prescribed 30-35 minutes. The whole time I was mumbling under my breath and sighing. How could this be? I make great cakes! Most kids would kill to have me as their mom!

The timer went off and out came a good-looking moist cake. Huh, maybe? We’ll see. It cooled. I poked. It seemed moist and had a nice aroma. Since I managed to get out of the store without buying a can of frosting, I suggested a hack, I knew. The finger taste test was good and so far my daughter approved.

Once the cake was sliced in half, filled and frosted we put it out and we were ready for the harshest of critics…the family. They loved it! Of course every body thought it was one of my recipes and of course my daughter couldn’t wait to tell them it was a doctored up cake mix.

Well at least I can take joy in knowing that there is homemade cake and frosting that I can make with my daughters that they will like. So from my family to yours, enjoy!

*One note- I would love to give credit where due but I honestly don’t remember where this came from. It was a quick screenshot on the phone and off to the store before mom changed her mind.

A Case for Boxed Cake Mix
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A Case for Boxed Cake Mix
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Vanilla Frosting
  1. In a mixing bowl pour cake mix and pudding mix. Turn on mixer and add sour cream. Slowly add vegetable oil.
  2. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  3. Add milk, vanilla and sea salt.
  4. Add milk, vanilla and sea salt.
  5. Pour into 2 prepared (greased & floured) 8” round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan then turn out and cool completely on rack. Frost and serve.
  1. Blend together marshmallow fluff, butter and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until well blended and consistency is as desired. If it gets too thick you can add some whole milk a couple drops at a time. Frost cake and serve.
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Winter’s Colorful Citrus

Winter knows how to hook you. That first nip of cold air gets you excited and all the sweaters come out. When you are sick of rain the snow starts and when you think you can’t handle the grey skies anymore, Peonies show up and the citrus is ripe for the picking.

The Peonies I had to find in NYC while looking at colleges for my daughter. They were a welcome sight on a slushy, grey street in Chelsea. The citrus, in the form Cara Cara oranges greeted me when I came home to Los Angeles. They were bursting with juice and practically leapt off their trees when I went out to pick them.

Cara Cara oranges are wonderfully sweet and have specks of dark red hinting of a relationship to blood oranges. You can juice them and cook with them. This year they were too sweet not to use in everything! First, I peeled, sliced and served them on a beautiful platter on their own. Delicious! Then I tried a variation on lemon curd. It is literally sunshine is a jar. You can use any way you would lemon curd or, like me, just eat with a spoon.

Cara Cara Orange Curd
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Cara Cara Orange Curd
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  1. Bring the orange juice to a simmer in a small saucepan, over a medium high heat and reduce to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and stir in zest. Cool to room temperature.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in cooled juice mixture. Once combined, pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken and it reaches a temperature of 180°. This should take 6 - 8 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl and stir in butter, until it is completely melted. Cool completely and place plastic right on surface of curd, to prevent skin forming. Place in refrigerator until well chilled.
  4. Store in airtight in refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator, before use, if frozen.
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Saint Patrick’s Cupcakes!!!!!

St. Patrick’s Day is this week. I’m not much of a drinker or a bar hopper. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to enjoy the party. Many years ago, I developed a recipe for and Irish Car Bomb cupcake. The chocolate cupcake is enhanced with Guinness Stout. The beer really seems to pump up the chocolate taste to another level. The frosting is an Irish Crème liqueur based frosting. Can you say yum? I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as I did creating them.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups supefine sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup, or more, Guinness Stout, for after baking

Preheat oven to 350

Cream together butter and sugar, until fluffy

Add egg yolks, one add at a time, blending after each

Beat egg whites until stiff

In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients

Blend dry ingredients, by thirds, into butter/egg mixture, alternating with milk

When well blended add vanilla

Fold in egg whites until just incorporated

Scoop batter into greased and floured muffin tins

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

Remove from oven and while cakes are still hot poke holes int each cupcake and spoon 1 Tablespoon of stout into each cupcake.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out to cool completely

Frost with Irish Creme Frosting and serve

Irish Creme Frosting

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
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  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Irish Creme Liqueur

Cream Butter thoroughly and gradually add in powdered sugar

add in vanilla and salt

add liqueur one tablespoon at a time until blended thoroughly.  You may need to add a little more powdered sugar to get consistency right.

I make a reduction of Irish Whiskey and sugar then drizzle over the top of frosted cupcakes (optional)

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