Neapolitan Cupcakes

Friday is moving day, or as I like to call it, M-Day. It sounds more ominous. I am looking forward to being in Baltimore and starting my new graduate classes, but I am NOT excited about moving all those annoying boxes of my stuff. If I could just ditch all my belongings and start over, my life would be much easier.

But it doesn’t work like that, eh? Too bad.

Anyway, I baked these delicious cupcake-brownies that have been floating around Pinterest for the past month or so. They were really easy!

And is it just me, or does anyone else have difficulty spelling Neapolitan correctly? I always thought it was Neopolitan. Apparently that’s WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Neapolitan Cupcakes

Ingredients
1 box of strawberry cake mix
1 box of brownie mix (I used a mix that had semisweet chocolate chunks)
Eggs, water and oil (I use applesauce instead of oil) that goes with the mixes
1 container of vanilla frosting (I used Funfetti – for the sprinkles!)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep your cupcake pan with liners or lots of cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the brownie mix. Drop one-half tablespoon of brownie mix into each cup. Make sure the batter covers the bottom of the liner.

3. Mix together the cake batter. Add a full tablespoon to the brownie batter. Make sure the cups are full after adding the batter.

4. Bake for 23 minutes or the max time listed on the box of cake mix.

5. Let the cupcakes cool and then frost!

Makes 24 cupcakes. 

Niki’s Note: Feel free to use your own recipes. I know that not everyone likes cake mixes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Filling: Betty Crocker Style

Sometimes here at Bakers Anonymous, we like things to be simple and thought-free. Okay, all of the time, which is why I was so intrigued by the Betty Crocker FUN da-Middles cupcake mix. It may have a terribly cheesy name, but who doesn’t love the thought of a no-frost cupcake? And a cupcake with filling, at that!

The box comes with a package of mix and a packet of thick filling. There are three different varieties of the mix: chocolate cupcake with vanilla filling (which you see here), vanilla with chocolate filling, and vanilla with vanilla filling (apparently people like vanilla more than chocolate. So sad!).

According to the packaging, there are many great features of this cupcake mix!

Ah, natural and artificial flavorings. Yum. Note the warning in the corner - don't eat the raw batter! Like that's going to stop me.

The ingredients are the same as any other cake mix – eggs, water, and oil. The filling is pre-made, so there’s nothing to add to it. This mix only produces 12 chocolate cupcakes.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place in the paper baking cups.

2. Prepare the mix according to the directions.

3. Carefully fill each of the cups about one-third full, making sure the entire bottom is covered.

4. Squeeze the filling package about 20 or so times to warm up the filling and make it squeeze-able. Evenly distribute the filling between the 12 cups, making sure that it DOES NOT touch the sides.

5. Layer the rest of the batter on top of the filling, and then bake for about 35 minutes.

6. Let the cupcakes cool before you bite into them. THE FILLING WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT. (Speaking from experience, here.)

These cupcakes are actually very moist and the cake is delicious, but while they may look like Hostess cupcakes minus the chocolate frosting and little white squiggly on top, the filling isn’t anything amazing or true vanilla tasting. I’d give these three stars for the ease of baking and the ability to taste delicious even without frosting!

Niki’s Note: I don’t think these Betty Crocker commercials have ever aired, but be sure to check out all three videos. They sure are weird!

Strawberries + cupcakes = delicious!

My boyfriend and I went food shopping not too long ago, and behold, strawberries were on sale! Turns out we had some strawberry cake mix in the apartment, so we made these delicious cupcakes. We followed the directions on the box and I put a filling of sorts in half of the cupcakes, leaving the rest plain.

Niki’s Note: make sure you dip your fruit in lemon juice. I didn’t and ended up with purple strawberries a day and half later. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight. If you forget, like I did, make sure to eat your cupcakes within a day or two.

Chocolate cream cheese cupcakes!

Even though next month’s issue of Bon Appetit is already out to the subscribers, I cling to March’s issue, a glorious magazine representation of comfort food gone snobby. I skimmed through my best friend’s copy of the newest issue and sniffed at the lack of delicious dessert recipes that pratically drip off the pages in March’s.

This month’s issue focuses on caramel, pot pies, soup and salads, and easy family meals. On a single page, almost obscured by recipes for Chicken and White Bean Soup with Herb Swirl and Parmesan Toasts, I discovered a recipe that deserved to be dragged out into the artificial light of my kitchen: Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes!

cupcakes

Here’s my version of this gourmet treat:

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used triple chocolate fudge from Betty Crocker)

Proper amount of eggs, water, and oil that goes with chosen mix

Chocolate chip cream cheese mixtureFilling:

1 8 oz package cream cheese

1 large egg

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 C mini semisweet chocolate chips (I think I used a little bit more than 1/4 C in mine . . .)

Directions:

1. Mix up the cake mix according to the directions on the box.  I even added mini chocolate chips to the batter!

2. Pour the batter into prepared cupcake pans. Each spot should be about two-thirds filled.

Dollops of cream cheese mixture3. Mix together all the filling ingredients. Beat until the mixture looks smooth. Drop about two teaspoonfuls onto each cupcake (some mix might be left over. Feel free to add it to other cupcakes!).

4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 22 minutes. Halfway through baking time, switch the pans to ensure they bake evenly.

A heart!5. The cupcakes are done when a knife inserted in the cake part comes out clean. If not, bake it for five minutes more.

The cupcakes will be very moist right out of the pan and might fall apart if unwrapped, but they taste like lava cake when still warm. If you want to eat them without it crumbling into a chocolate mess in your hand, let them cool overnight or for at least four hours. This will give the cake enough time to set.

When I made these cupcakes, I forgot to look at the serving amount of the original recipe, which was 12. I made 24 cupcakes. I nearly ran out of cream cheese mixture at the end because I didn’t double it; however, the way my cupcakes turned out was just perfect. 🙂

The cupcakes are trying to send a message . . .

The cupcakes are trying to send a message . . .

The quest for the perfect cupcake

On my 17th birthday, my creative writing teacher threw a small bash for me. She gave me presents of fine-tipped markers, an amazing journal with the most beautiful paper I’ve ever had privilege to touch (I still haven’t used it), and an epically moist Easter cupcake (that’s one of the benefits of having an April birthday – all the jelly beans and chocolate bunnies I can eat).

easter-cupcakeIt was the cupcake to end the love affair with all other cupcakes in my life. It was an Entemann’s Holiday Cupcake – the perfect combination  of golden cake, fudge frosting, and piped swirl of vanilla icing – cupcakes that are made sporatically throughout the year. Never before had such beauty in pastry form passed my lips, not even my own baking.

It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that I remembered the cupcakes that altered my life forever. I went in search of them at the nearest grocery store, but they were out of season.

Out of season – my cupcakes. I was devastated.

It is for that very reason that I took it upon myself this weekend to recreate this confectionery masterpiece with all the pastry skills I posses. The resulting cupcakes, while not decorated with “seasonally appropriate” sprinkles or colored frosting, is certainly less than the 290 calories a pop that the originals boast.

Easter cupcake photo from lonelybob on flickr.

Entemann’s Holiday Cupcakes: Niki-style

cuppycakies1

There are several parts and take over an hour to prepare. Makes 24+ cupcakes.

Cupcake:

—Yellow or white cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Golden Vanilla)

1. Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour into lined cupcake pans.

2. Cool the cupcakes completely.

Fudge Frosting:

—2 Tbsp chilled butter

—1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (Hershey’s is my favorite)

—1 tsp vanilla extract

—2 Tbsp cold water

1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the chilled butter. If you don’t have a double boiler, improvise with a bowl over a medium saucepan. DON’T melt your chocolate in the microwave!

2. Once the chocolate mixture  is melted thoroughly, add the vanilla extract, and then the cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon.

3. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill.

Buttercream Icing

—1 C vegetable shortening (I used Crisco butter flavor)

—1/2 C milk

—1/4 tsp salt

—2 tsp. vanilla

—2 lbs confectioner’s sugar (2 boxes)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. You’ll have a LOT of buttercream icing for 24 cupcakes, but think about all the other uses it will have, like decorating cakes or brownies!

Assemble the cupcakes:

1. Spread a small amount of fudge frosting on top of the cupcake, smoothing it out to the edges. Place the cupcakes in the fridge as each is frosted. This will allow the frosting to set.

2. Fill a pastry bag (or a a zip-loc bag with the tip cut off) with a portion of the buttercream icing. Pipe a double border around the edge of the cupcakes. I used an Easy Decorator pastry bag set with a closed star tip. If you don’t have a fancy tip, don’t worry. It’s simple to make swirls with a zip-loc bag.

3. Put the cupcakes back in the fridge to chill or serve immediately!