Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting + Gift Idea

**Photo from According to Kelly blog.
What is it about red velvet that is so amazing?  I don't know but these are easy and good!  You must look at the gift idea below.  We made them for our Christmas goodies and they were so cute and yummy and easy.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
From According to Kelly Blog

1 package of german chocolate cake mix
1 small package (3.4 oz) of vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1, 1-oz bottle of red food coloring
3 large eggs
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. mix cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, water, food coloring & eggs in a large mixing bowl until well mixed.
3. using a spoon, fold in the mini chocolate chips.
4. fill your cupcake pan, or cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full.
5. place pans in the oven & bake approximately 18+ minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, or the cupcakes “springs back” when lightly pressed.
6. cool for approximately 15 minutes before frosting.
* more concerned with how red your cupcakes are, as opposed to the chocolate-ness of the cake? start with a white or yellow cake mix instead.

Cream Cheese Frosting
From According to Kelly Blog

1, 8-oz package cream cheese
1 stick of softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
4+ cups of powdered sugar
1. mix cream cheese, butter & vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth & well combined.
2. slowly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until desired taste achieved. be sure to scrape down the side of bowl with a spatula.
3. once well combined, beat for an additional minute or so, until everything is creamy & fluffy.
4. using a pastry bag or ziplock bag, smother your cupcakes in mounds of yummy & delicious frosting.

**Photo from According to Kelly Blog

Gift Idea

creating heaven in a jar

From According to Kelly Blog

making mason jar cupcakers is seriously just about the easiest thing in the world. really & truly, it takes just a few simple steps… bake up a batch of your favorite cupcakes (whether it’s from a box or made from scratch), then you smoosh, frost & repeat. see i told you it was easy-peasey. but just in case you need a wee bit more direction, i’ve whipped up a little tutorial for you.
step one: as i said before, the first step is to whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakers. honestly, everything tastes better when eaten from a jar, with a spoon. people have raved about my straight from the box fun-fetti cupcakes (okay, so maybe i throw in an extra box of pudding) & begged for my red velvet recipe (they usually fall in love with the mini chocoloate chips which gives it an extra little umph!)… but really & truly neither of these recipes are all that special. but, when you are eating from a jar, with a spoon…. ahhhh! it’s like holding a little bit of heaven in your hands.
step two: throw away what you know about baking cupcakes, at least for the moment. when you’re making mason jar cupcakes no fancy-pants cupcake liners are needed for this job. so break out the pam, & apply liberally. go ahead – spary the dickens out of the pan, you definitely don’t want your cupcakes sticking. plus, you need the cupcake “sides” looking good & ready for their closeup. considering all you really see of the cupcake is their sides, you want those babies smooth & looking good!
step three: filling the cupcake pan has never been my forte! i always struggled trying scoop the batter into those itty bitty holes, without spilling batter everywhere. luckily one day it finally occurred to me to cheat. these days i use a makeshift pastry bag (a ziplock bag with about a 1/2 inch of the corner snipped off) to fill my cupcake pans quickly, cleanly & with an incredible amount of precision. & since filling my makeshift pastry bag can get complicated with just two hands, i like to put my water pitcher to work “holding open” the bag as i fill it.
step four: fill your cupcake pan according to your recipe (usually about 2/3 full), & then bake. this is my favorite part. i love the smell of baking cupcakes wafting through the house.
step five: now the fun begins. first select your mason jar of choice. personally i like the 8 oz. jars, because they fit two cupcakes absolutely perfectly. (although the 4 oz. jars are darling with a single cupcaker, & the 12 oz. can fit three cupcakes… so really it’s up to you.) next, you place your cupcake on top of your chosen jar & smoosh it all the way to the bottom. you don’t have to worry about man handling the top of the cupcake too much, because it will soon be covered in frosting.
step six: if you haven’t already, whip your frosting (whip it real good). or, if you’ve chosen the slightly quicker, but probably just as tasty route, scoop your frosting from the can. & just like before, once again i am going to use the “ziplock cheater” method. seriously, if you’ve never tried it, promise you will – soon! it will literally change the way you feel about making cupcakes.
step seven: time to frost! using a ziplock bag or a real pastry bag (trust me, you’ll want to use one or the other to get down near the bottom of the mason jar) & top the cupcake with frosting. i like a lot of frosting, so i usually do about a 1/2 inch worth – but do what ever you are comfortable with. & again, you don’t have to worry too much about how “pretty” it looks, because you are going to to be smooshing another cupcake on top of it. 
step eight: REPEAT. that’s right, this is where you get to smoosh & frost again. when you’re frosting this final time though, try not to go too over the top. remember, you still have seal it all up, & “over the top” frosting is just going to get squeezed out. so, try to keep your frosting as level with the rim of the jar, as possible. & when you are all done… seal it up baby!
step nine: once you’ve put your lid on & you are all sealed up, it’ time to pretty up the jar. using some ribbon, or a scrap of fabric, tie a square knot. (you remember how…. right over left, left over right.)
step ten: attach a fancy pants label… download perfectly sized, blank mason jar labels HERE. then, handwrite, or using your favorite editing software such as photoshop or picnik, write a sweet note. print on paper (& tape or glue down), or use avery sticker paper. & finally cut out with a sharp pair of scissors, or a 2 inch circle punch.
step eleven: slid a vintage (or plastic) spoon through the knot & viola! you’ve got the perfect gift, thank you, party favor…


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