Covert Vegetable Cupcakes

Everyone once and a while I feel like I need to boost my kids’ veggie intake and I do not feel shamed by hiding vegetable goodness in treats. So occasionally I’ll make these Covert Vegetable Cupcakes (another recipe gem from the Borg Family Cookbook) and encourage them to eat as many as they want. The bonus is I don’t feel so bad about eating as many as I want, too!

They have yet to figure out there are beets and spinach in the cupcakes (because I don’t let them in the kitchen while I make them). In fact, I have fed these to friends and neighbors and no one has figured it out. I love it!

Ingredients

2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry (I’ve used one tin of canned spinach and it worked just as good)
1 jar(16 oz) beets, drained
1 package Devils Food cake mix
4 Eggs
1/3 cup Oil
1 cup Water
Frosting of your choice (I usually make a basic chocolate buttercream frosting)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease eighteen muffins pan cups.
  2. In food processor or blender puree together spinach and the beets until smooth.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package directions using four eggs instead of three. Stir in puréed spinach and beets.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling near to the top.
  5. Bake 22 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Spice Cake with Oatmeal Buttercream Frosting

You know when you making something so good you can’t help but say out loud “Man! This is REALLY good!” everything time you take a helping? Yeah … that happened to me last week.

It was my husband’s birthday and I wanted to make something a little different for his birthday cake. Since I always make cupcakes for my kids I wanted to make him a “grown-up cake.” Taking consideration his current health kick and how he always approves of anything oatmeal, I decided to do my own take on something similar I saw on one of my favorite baking blogs, Beyond Frosting.

Actually I’ve been wanting to try her recipe for months but they don’t sell Oatmeal Cream Pies in Trinidad & Tobago so I picked up a box couple of weeks ago during my last family visit to Kentucky and packed them in my suitcase. I was supposed to keep seven pies for the recipe but only three survived my family’s snack attacks. (Those things seriously bring back years of school lunch memories.) I ended up not finding marshmallow cream or spice cake mix so I did what I usually do and improvised.

The result was an amazing Spice Cake with Oatmeal Buttercream Frosting. I think the three oatmeal pies and just sticking to a buttercream base was the perfect combination for a nice frosting. Adelaide even begged for a piece about twice a day (and half the time she even ate the cake and not just the frosting).

CAKE

  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 Large eggs
  • ¾ cup Buttermilk (I made my using 3/4 cup skim milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup Sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Light brown sugar


DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray and flour your pan(s).  I did a double layer cake so I lined the bottom of my 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper cut to fit the bottom and sprayed/floured the sides of the pans really well.
  2. Combine cake mix with eggs, buttermilk, oil and sour cream. Mix until it is just combined.
  3. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Mix until well blended.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick you insert into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let cakes cool completely in pans on a wire rack.
  6. Remove cakes from pans and frost.

FROSTING

  • 3 Oatmeal Cream Pies (or more depending on your preference for texture)
  • 1½ C Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream (adjust as needed)

DIRECTIONS

  1. To prepare the frosting, start by putting the Oatmeal Cream Pies in a food processor or chopper to cut them into tiny pieces.
  2. Soften the butter to room temperature (you want it to be slightly soft but not melted). Whip butter in mixer using the paddle attachment or by hand using a hand mixer (that’s what I have) for several minutes until butter is fluffy and light in color.
  3. Mix vanilla extract into butter.
  4. Pour powdered sugar into mixing bowl two cups at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Add heavy whipping cream (or plain milk if that is what you have in your fridge — I use either depending on what I have) to meet your preference for thickness and beat into the frosting.
  6. Add the Oatmeal Cream Pie crumbs and beat on low until incorporated.

STRAWBERRY CAKE MIX DONUTS a.k.a. “Pink Donuts”

I came across this easy donut recipe from onsugarmountain.com and instantly put it on deck to make with Adelaide. So … we did this Saturday when we finally had a lazy morning while Daddy was out golfing and Oliver was taking an amazing God-knew-I-needed-it long nap.

These donuts were super easy to make and really good. We ate them plain and then had to stop ourselves so we would have some to eat with frosting. I have a donut baking pan so that’s what I used but a mini donut maker would work fine, too.  You’ll also see my substitutions. Since I live in Tobago, I often don’t have all ingredients but I always find a workaround.

Adelaide calls these “Pink Donuts.”

  • 1 box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted with what I had: milk and a bit of vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp melted (and slightly cooled) butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat with electric hand mixer until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour donut batter into a ziploc bag, then cut the corner to pipe donut batter into your pan. I fill it a little less than half full to get a good donut shape (and it’s easier to come out of the pan).
  4. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on wire rack while you make the frosting

Glaze/frosting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp heavy cream (I substituted with what I had one hand: skim milk and a bit of cooled melted butter)
  1. Whisk together sugar and cream/milk until a thick glaze forms. You can adjust the amount of heavy cream to get the right consistency.
  2. Dip half of donut into frosting, then cover with sprinkles and let sit until dry.

Thanks to Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain

Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

These are DIVINE. A great chocolate-on-chocolate recipes that always wows. Plus … it’s my Mother’s favorite so they have a special place in my heart. Thanks to Beyond Frosting for the recipe!

Chocolate Cupcake
Easy doctored-up cake mix recipe. Yields 26 Cupcakes

1 Box Betty Crocker Chocolate fudge cake mix

1 C Reduced-fat sour cream

3/4 C Water

1/2 C Vegetable oil

1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

3 Large eggs

  • Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.  Fill your lined cupcake pan 2/3 full per cupcake. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of your cupcake and if it comes out clean, then they’re done. You may have to adjust the cooking time based on your oven.

Brownie Batter Frosting
Adapted from Beyond Frosting

2 Sticks butter at room temperature

2 tsp Vanilla extract

1/3 C + 1 tbsp  Unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hersey’s Special Dark)

2/3 C Powdered brownie mix (from a box)

2 tsp Milk

3 C Powdered sugar

1/3 C Light corn syrup

2 tsp Hot water

  • If you have a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and vanilla extract, beating on a medium speed until smooth. If you are like me and use an electric hand beater, you get an arm workout until the butter is light and smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, sift cocoa powder and brownie mix together. Yes, you must sift this! The fine powder ensures it will properly mix into your batter. Add to your butter and mix on medium speed until well combined.
  • Next, add 2 tsp of milk and beat into the frosting. I added the milk because it adds a real creaminess to the frosting. The frosting will be a little grainy, which is very reminiscent of actual brownie batter.
  • Continue to slowly add your powdered sugar while beating on a medium speed. Your batter will be come very thick. Once you have added all of your powdered sugar, quickly add your corn syrup and continue to beat until well combined.
  • Lastly, add 2 tsp hot water and increase speed to medium-high for 30 seconds until well mixed. The speed at the end to help make the frosting a little bit lighter.

Top your frosted cupcakes with crumbled bits of brownies.