cupfakes

No-Bake Fruity Cereal Treat Cupfakes

I’m deep in the trenches: sprinkles flying at my face, frosting smeared up to my elbows, dried batter caked on every surface. No, I’m not on the set of Cupcake Wars (though producers should feel free to contact me; I’ll bring my A-game).

I’m in the middle of Cupcake Capers.


naked cupfakes!

Cupcake Capers is a 5-day camp where I teach campers to bake, fill, and frost cupcakes. You have to admit, cupcake camp beats pup tents and mosquitoes.

Each year at Cupcake Capers, I’m unsurprised by how much kids love cupcakes, oreos, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and sprinkles. That’s normal. I am surprised, however, by how weird kids are. I should probably be used to this by now — after all, I’m a middle school teacher — but I’m still continually impressed.

Last year, if you’ll remember, two of my kiddos created a pet powdered sugar pile. They religiously guarded it, giving it a wide berth when wiping the counters. They used their fingers to scrawl threatening messages to anyone who dared clean it up. They drew a little face on it ร  la Tom Hanks’s friend Wilson in the movie Castaway.

There weren’t any powdered sugar piles this year, but there was still plenty of weirdness. This time around it all started with an egg and a sharpie. One of my campers was intent on using said marker to give “Mr. Egg” a face. Despite her pleading, I wouldn’t let her do so before we cracked it for sanitary reasons . . . so she gave the empty eggshell a face afterwards, instead. A surprised face, naturally, because he was shocked at having been split open so unceremoniously.

This was strange enough, but the next day she and her friend showed up to cupcake camp with Mr. and Mrs. Lemon. You can probably guess that these were two lemons with faces drawn on in sharpie. Mrs. Lemon has a bow. Oh, but you’re probably pronouncing their names wrong: it’s lem-OHN, with a French accent.

Yeah. These kids are strange.

Strange in the best way, though. So far (besides indulging in their food anthropomorphization), we’ve made Fauxstess Cupcakes, Creamsicle Cupcakes, Cookie Dough Cupcakes, and Red Velvet Cupcakes. The campers are baking fiends! Every day they get tons better at mixing, filling, and piping frosting onto cupcakes.

Today we also tried something a little different. With our extra time, we made some cupFAKES. Cupfakes are just cupcakes that aren’t actually made of cake. I make several savory versions, but this cupfake was a dessert treat. We used a regular Rice Cereal Treat recipe molded into a cupcake pan to make little cupfakes that we “frosted” with spray whipped cream and topped with sprinkles. Instead of rice cereal, we used fruity varieties: Fruity Pebbles and Cap’N Crunch’s Oops! All Berries.

Apart from being adorable and extremely easy, I was shocked at how flippin’ awesome these things taste! The fruity cereal treats and whipped cream are pretty insane together. After we’re finished, you know, decorating oranges or whatever the heck the kids come up with tomorrow, I know they’re gonna love chowing down on these!

What weird things did you play with as a kid? What weird things have your kids made into toys?

One year ago: Chocolate Pistachio Cream Cupcakes
Two years ago: Tumbleweed Burger
Three years ago: Mango Raspberry Rosecakes

Easy Fruity Cereal Treat Cupfakes



Recipe by: Adapted from Kelloggโ€™s
Yield: about 10-11 cupfakes

These no-bake treats are super quick, easy, and CUTE! Best of all, they are so, so tasty. They would make sweet little birthday “cakes” for a colorful party.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows or 1 package (10 oz) large marshmallows
4 cups fruity cereal (I used 2 cups of Fruity Pebbles and 2 cups of Cap’N Crunch’s Oops! All Berries)
whipped cream for “frosting”
sprinkles

Directions:
Line a cupcake pan with plastic wrap (press it down into each well) and spray it with cooking spray. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the marshmallows until they’re completely melted and then remove the pan from the heat. Add the cereal and stir (I use a spoon coated in cooking spray) until the cereal is completely coated. Spoon a big glob into each cupcake well. Use a sheet of wax paper to press the mixture down and mold it into each well. Let it cool completely.

Remove each “cupfake” and “frost” it with whipped cream. Top with sprinkles. Serve in cupcake papers if you wish! You can store unfrosted cupfakes for two days in an airtight container or in the freezer (separated by wax paper) for up to 6 weeks.

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April Fool’s Day Cupfakes

Ah, April Fool’s Day! The perfect occasion to show someone you love them by playing nasty tricks on them and guffawing as they stand, bewildered, trying to figure out what just happened.

Orrrr you could play a sweet (well, savory) trick instead! Cupfakes are adorable, savory treats masquerading as their sweet cousins. At one time or other, I’ve had people mistake each one of the dinnertime cupfakes below for dessert! In reality, though, Deep Dish Pizza Cupfakes are fun Chicagoan deep dish pizzas topped with fluffy ricotta and a cherry tomato. Meatloaf Cupfakes are moist meatloaf with mashed potato “frosting” and colored salt sprinkles. Finally, my favorite: Cheddar, Chive, and Bacon Cupfakes with Avocado Frosting are slightly sweet, cornbready dinner muffins full of goodies.

One warning: when people are expecting to bite into a sweet cupcake and it turns out to be a cupfake, their brains do a little backflip of revulsion no matter how good your treats taste. It’s probably best to reveal your trick right before they take a bite!

Deep Dish Pizza Cupfakes

Meatloaf Cupfakes

Cheddar, Chive, and Bacon Cupfakes with Avocado Frosting

P.S. Only 1 week left in my Cheesecake Challenge! Choose any one of 9 cheesecake recipes to prepare within the next month. Email a photo to me by 4/5/2011 to be featured on Willow Bird Baking! Get more details about the challenge here.

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Cheddar Chive and Bacon Cupfakes with Avocado Frosting

This is one of those recipes that you should go make right now! It’s that delectable. It all started so innocently . . .

Well, not really! It all started with my love of cupfakery and my desire to create a delicious savory cupcake. I knew I wanted to use a creamy avocado frosting, and I just had to think of some complementary ingredients. It struck me that a cheddar bacon biscuit (one step up from a simple cheddar biscuit, and we all know that those are already delicious) would be perfect. And, hey, how about throwing in some chives? Some caramelized onions? Oh, yeah!


Cheddar Chive Bacon Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting


The base recipe here is for cheddar biscuits similar to those you find at Jim N’ Nicks, a barbecue chain. The recipe produces a savory muffin with some sweetness to it. If you don’t like jam on your biscuits or sugar in your cornbread, you might not be too fond of this base recipe. Feel free to cut down on the sugar or try a different cheddar biscuit base (Red Lobster’s recipe is delicious, but I’m not sure how it’ll work in the muffin pan) to mix your bacon, chives, and onions into.

The avocado is the perfect cool-down topping for the bold flavors of the biscuit. And really, apart from the delicious taste, I get a strange joy just from prepping an avocado.

the flesh of an avocado with no deep,
dense core (a knife
snapped into the orb,
which bleeds an orange pulp. the twist,
a clean break).
the flush from gentle lime to olive
to brown in reminiscence —

taking on the appearance of what you’ve lost,
like shrugging on a blue shirt . . .

The process of extracting the soft flesh from an avocado is peaceful and satisfying. If this is the first time you’ve worked with an avocado, here’s a nice tutorial. When you’re picking them up from the grocery, pick the darker fruits that are a little soft. These are ripe and ready to be mashed. And if you’re not an avocado fan, please do make the cupfakes without them; they’re delicious with or without their “frosting.”

Enjoy the delicious bacon smell in your kitchen after making these cupfakes, and don’t forget to save your bacon grease for flavoring other dishes later on. Mike and I enjoyed eating the cupfakes with dinner, just as you would eat regular dinner rolls or biscuits. Only these are tastier!



Cheddar Chive and Bacon Cupfakes with Avocado Frosting


Recipe By:

-Jim N’ Nicks (cheddar biscuits, tweaked)
-Me, with various internet inspiration (avocado frosting)

Yields: 15-17 cupfakes

Cupfake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 – 1 cup sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 strips bacon, cooked and chopped, divided
1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of fresh chives, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil

Avocado Frosting Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cupfakes: Cook bacon on stovetop or in oven. I bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, and drain on paper towels. Crumble 4 strips into small bits, leaving one strip whole for garnish.

In the meantime, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cheese, milk, egg, butter, baking powder, vanilla, chives, caramelized onion, and bacon bits. Pour into a greased (or paper-lined) muffin pan. Bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Frost only when completely cool.

Avocado Frosting: Mash avocado flesh well in bowl with the back of a spoon or fork. I processed mine in a food processor to ensure extra smoothness. Add in lemon juice and cream cheese, and mix until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Frost cupcakes with a big star tip (I use 1M). Garnish with pieces of bacon.

NOTE on storage: Store cupcakes in airtight container in fridge when frosted. Place avocado pits in container along with cupcakes to discourage browning (but don’t fret if the frosting browns — it’s just oxidized, and still quite edible and yummy). You may even want to half the recipe if you’re just making these for your family, since they almost certainly won’t maintain they’re beautiful green overnight. For taking them to coworkers or friends, I would make the cupcakes ahead of time and frost immediately before the event.


Here are some photos of the process:


Bacon in the oven.



Caramelized onions, bacon, and chives.



Fresh from the oven.



Some very green frosting!



All frosted!



Enjoy!

Meatloaf “Cupfakes”

Mike typically likes his food to LOOK like what it TASTES like. While I understand his natural desire to know what he’s eating, I also have a great love of trickery. I love food that’s made to look like other food.

I saw this cute cupfake post on a blog the other day. Instantly, I was reminded of all of the fun meatcakes I’d seen before (here’s a great gallery!) I’d always wanted an excuse to make some, and the perfect excuse came Saturday. Mike had a hard day of GRE testing (he obtained a PERFECT score on his math section, by the way; Congratulations, Mike!) and I told him I’d make a surprise dinner. What’s more surprising than a platter of cupfakes? I baked these cuties up with two other kinds of real cupcakes: Peach Cobbler Cupcakes and Peach Lemon Cupcakes.


The whole meal together!

When he came in, I told him that his surprise was that we were skipping dinner and only eating dessert! I could tell he was a little disappointed, so I pointed to my cupfakes and asked what flavor he thought they were. He guessed chocolate, red, and green (okay, he’s not good at guessing) before finally giving up. I loved the look on his face when I made the big reveal — MEATLOAF cupcakes! He loved it!

The piping on these could have been a LOT better. I rushed a bit, and I made the mashed potatoes a bit too viscous. I also should’ve cut a larger corner off of my ziplock! Oh well, there’s always next time.

This meal is so fun, and so easy to make! If you make these, make sure to post about how your surprise goes over!

Currency Meatloaf “Cupfakes”


Recipe By: Oprah, according to my Mom’s recipe.
Yields: 2 loaves (or 12 meatcakes and 1 loaf, or 24 meatcakes)

Meatloaf Ingredients:
3 lbs. 97% lean ground beef
1 1/2 slices bread, torn
1 cup milk
2 eggs beaten
2/3 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dried mustard
1 heaping tbs sage
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
3 stalks celery
pepper
1 can tomato paste, for top

Decorations:
instant mashed potatoes for “frosting”
grape tomatoes for “cherries”
salt
food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meatloaf ingredients and put a heaping scoop in each of 12 greased cupcake wells. Do not pack. Spoon the rest of the mixture lightly into a greased loaf pan (preferably with racks, to allow fat to drain out). Spoon tomato paste on top of each cupcake well and the loaf. Bake meatcakes for 25 minutes and drain on paper towels. Bake loaf for 1 hour.

Once meatcakes are drained, place them carefully into cupcake papers. Frost with instant mashed potatoes in a ziplock bag (I added some garlic to mine for flavor, and you can add more milk to get the right consistency. I think I added too much!) Mix a tablespoon or so of salt with a drop of whatever food coloring you like, and sprinkle lightly on top. Top with a squirt of ketchup or a grape tomato for a cherry (my mother reminded me, and I still forgot!)


Nestled in their cute cupcake foil liners!


Finished (albeit with not-so-cute piping on my part)


Mike’s Cupfake Meal (with some delicious stuffed squash — let me know if you want the recipe!)