Graduation Cupcakes…..

I decided on cupcakes for Jack’s graduation cake.    I waffled between a large decorated cake, a large decorated cookie, and cupcakes.   Cupcakes are a great choice for so many reasons.  They bake in about 18 minutes and cool completely in about an hour.  They’re completely self serve with no plate and fork required.   They’re perfectly portioned and easy to eat.  I like that the dessert table looked nice the entire evening.  I left the cupcakes out on the dessert table all day.  At the end of the day I put the leftover treats in the refrigerator.

I chose to make chocolate and pumpkin cupcakes.  I used my Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.  The recipe made about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.  Of course, my go to chocolate cake recipe is the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” cake. (made about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes)   This one bowl recipe will become your favorite chocolate cake recipe too!  It’s on the back of the can, but I’m going to give it to you.  The writing is really small!  I’ll also give you the frosting recipe.

I doubled the cream cheese frosting recipe and used Wilton gel colors to make his high school colors.  They work best because you can get very intense color without totally watering down your frosting.  So fun and so hard to resist!

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1- 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups Hershey’s Cocoa
1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1) Preheat oven to 350′.  Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and coat the liners with cooking spray. 
2)  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for  2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Fill each cup about 2/3 full.
3)  Bake for 16-18 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean.  Cool completely.  Makes about 30 cupcakes.

*for two 9″ pans, grease and flour pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan onto wire racks and cool completely.

Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1)  Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.
2  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla.  Makes about 2 cups.

Have a wonderful week!


Pumpkin Cupcakes Anyone?

What’s not to love about a cupcake????  They’re the perfect size, ok, maybe you’ll have to have two!  Perfect for casual parties, no serving plates or forks necessary.  There is something to be said about “mini” anything.  So cute and appetizing.  Make these from my recipe for Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting and simply bake in cupcake pans.  This one bowl cake recipe goes together in minutes.  The recipe will make 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.  Bake at 350′ for 17 minutes.  Be sure to spray the inside of the cupcake liners with cooking spray and fill each liner to 2/3 full.  Cupcakes cool much faster than a large bar pan so they can be enjoyed much quicker!  So easy and so much better than any store bought cupcake.

Moist and tender cinnamon pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting…..that’s what I’m talkin’ about! 


Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting…..

Last fall, I took a cake decorating class.  They actually called frosting made with shortening “buttercream.” Call me crazy, but don’t you think if it’s called buttercream it should contain butter?    Anyway, they used this fabulous Wilton Meringue Powder for stability.  It is especially needed in frosting where you are using actual “butter.”  You can buy it at Michael’s Craft Store.  I don’t give an exact liquid amount in frosting recipes because humidity can affect how much you need.  I recommend adding some liquid initially and then adding more, small amounts at a time to get it to the right spreading consistency.  You will get really good at this with practice, I promise!
Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup canola oil

1) Preheat oven to 350’. You will need pans for 18 cupcakes. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray papers with cooking spray. In medium size mixing bowl, mix flour through salt.
2) In small bowl, mash bananas very well, add oil and eggs.
3) Make a well in dry ingredients and all at once dump wet into dry. Mix until just blended and fill each prepared cup 2/3 full. Bake 15-18 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.
4) Cool completely.


3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
¼ cup Hershey’s cocoa, or your favorite cocoa powder
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk + more

1) In a medium size mixing bowl, beat softened butter with an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, cocoa, vanilla, and milk. Turn on mixer to the lowest speed and gently move around the bowl. If too thick add milk, a teaspoon at a time to get it to the best spreading consistency. Be careful not to add too much, it will run off your cupcakes. Stop between additions and test a bit with a knife. (good time to taste too)

2) Frost cupcakes. Store in airtight container if you have any left!