Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mini Cupcakes for Easter

Parties in preschool.  Woah.  They can be something!  At the Clever Girl's school, the teacher will post a list on the door of what food/party items need to be brought, and each parent signs up for something.   Most of the time, the list is totally filled with junk, so my daughter fills up on yuckiness and sugar all day and does not take a nap.  I get to bring home an overtired, sugar-filled kiddo and suffer the consequences.  I have always thought I am just that weird parent that doesn't feed her kid junk food and sweets all the time, so I have just grinned and bared it.  After the Valentine's Day party, I happened to talk to some other parents about the party food.  Lo and behold, I am not alone in the world!  We were ALL appalled at the large quantity of junk our kids ate that day!  yeah!  Ok, for you parents out there, here is what my child ate that day:  a cupcake, an ice cream cup, cookies, a Little Debbie snack cake, Cheetos, and a juice box.  Oh, boy.  Yes, she did have some fruit and a few carrots, but there you go.  I am not sure what parent really wants their 3 year old to eat all that in one day!  Ugh.

So I decided to ask the teacher about the food selection.  I love E's teacher, by the way.  I think she is great.  Her response was that she had a hard time thinking of 12 items (one for each kiddo) for the list so she used the same lists that have been used forever.  Well, I can help with that!  I volunteered to make the list for the next party!  And here we are!  I am proud to say that there was a nice sampling of healthy snacks on the list, which included only ONE sweet treat.  That would be the mini-cupcakes that I signed up to bring!  Is it sneaky for me to sign up for the one sweet treat?  I think not, since I actually bake the cupcakes at home instead of picking them up at the grocery store!

Anyway, I digress.

On to the important part, the cupcakes!

A while back, one of my sister's friends emailed me and asked for my favorite "white" cake recipe for cupcakes.  I sent her Dorie Greenspan's "Perfect Party Cake" from Baking:  From My Home to Yours (see March 27, 2012 - Baby Bootie Cakes).  So she sent me her favorite cupcake recipe as well and I will share it with you!

White Texas Sheet Cake
courtesy of Alisa
1 c. butter
1 c. water
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 ts. almond extract
1 ts. salt
1 ts. baking soda

1/2 c. butter
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/2 ts. almond extract
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Cake:  In large saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil.  Remove from heat, stir in flour, sugar, egg, sour cream, almond extract, salt and baking soda  and mix until smooth.  Pour in a buttered sheet cake pan.  Bake 20-22 minutes at 375*F or until golden brown. 

Frosting:  Combine butter and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add sugar and extract, mixing well.  Stir in walnuts and pour over warm cake.
Printable Recipe


Seriously, this is one super easy cake.  It is a weird way to make a cake (in a saucepan??) but it totally works.  The cake is moist and yummy and tastes kind of like shortbread.  Mmmm.  According to Alisa, this is a great recipe for filled cupcakes.  I did not fill mine, so I can't speak to that.  I also didn't use the above frosting, since I was making cupcakes.  I used the generic frosting recipe using white shortening and powdered sugar.  It is not my favorite but for cupcakes that will be sitting out for several hours, it is a good bet.

So I wondered about the name "Texas Sheet Cake".  I have to say, I live in Texas and at NO time since I have lived here has ANYONE EVER served me a Texas Sheet Cake.  Nor have I ever seen it on a menu!  Hmmm.  Could Texans be unaware that they have their own cake?  How could that be?  Now truth be told, the classic Texas Sheet Cake is chocolate.  It is pretty much the same recipe as above, but with 1/4 c. cocoa powder added in, and using vanilla extract instead of almond in both the cake and frosting.  Plus, you use pecans instead of walnuts.  Minor differences.  Texas Sheet Cake is what you get when a batch of brownies and a German Chocolate Cake have a baby!  The last time I had it was when I lived in Missouri (where I am from).  It is truly delicious and maybe I should start making it for things to educate the Texans around here! 

Ok, I digressed again.

Back to my cupcakes!

I halved the above recipe since I only really needed to make 12 mini-cupcakes, and ended up making 24 mini-cupcakes plus 2 regular sized cupcakes!  I baked the mini-cupcakes for about 10 minutes and the regular cupcakes for the amount of time the recipe said for the sheet cake.  Then I had to decide how to decorate them to make them "Easter-y".  Hmmm.  I had a quick brainstorm session, and decided upon butterflies!  What is more spring-like than butterflies?   Oh, and if you want to go down a religious pathway, there is also the fact that butterflies are a symbol of resurrection.

So how did I create said butterflies?  I am so glad you asked!  First, I did an orange swirly mound of icing on each cupcake with a Wilton 1M tip.  Then I took two yogurt pretzels and mashed them in a V shape into said mound of frosting, hoping they would stay in that shape.  After that, I piped a butterfly body in purple down the center of the pretzel V, using tip 5, and making a much of small connected dots.  I used a Wilton Gel purchased at the grocery store for the antenna, and I wish I had done something smarter there.  The gel is, well, globby or something and doesn't look as good as I would have liked.  But what else could I have done?  Maybe cut up some pieces of black licorice?  But most people, especially kids, don't like black licorice so that wouldn't be good.  Dye some small pieces of angel hair pasta with black food dye?  That would work....  Maybe next time. 

My husband will probably take the extra cupcakes to work, so I went ahead and decorated those as well.  On those I did a "mini" butterfly.  I didn't have enough yogurt pretzels to do the same exact thing, so I smashed one pretzel on each cupcake and piped the body down the middle.  It isn't as cute, but it works!  I think the Easter bunny has plans for the remaining yogurt pretzels for our Easter egg hunt this weekend...


  1. Sister, you never fail to totally amaze me! You are very clever!


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