When you're "iced in," make cupcakes

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Today is not what I thought it was going to be. If you would have asked on Sunday afternoon what I'd be doing right now, I'd have said running around like a chicken with my head cut off during my work event that was planned for today. But good 'ole Pax had other plans, which effectively canceled mine, forcing me to postpone the huge event I've been planning since I started my job in August, involving 15 speakers from around the state including the Governor, which had over 200 attendees who'd already registered and paid....to April 24. April flipping 24th. That is an eternity to have this event hanging over my head. I want so badly to be able to cross it off my list and move on. However, given the absolutely terrible conditions we've got here in Columbia today, I'm glad we didn't risk it. Postponing was the right call.

Bakery-style cupcakes using a cake mix as the baseAnyway, I'm enjoying my second winter weather day in as many weeks, working from home with intermittent snow/snack/pup-cuddling breaks. We've gotten about an inch of solid ICE in the last 24 hours, along with another inch of miscellaneous precipitation (so far) that has frozen, providing an igloo-esque situation and a very real threat of power loss. Since the news keeps saying that loss of power is "imminent" and it might be out for a few days, I figured I better jump on my Valentine's Day baking while I still had an oven.

I decided to make cupcakes, since I had some cutsie cupcake liners and festive sprinkles to use. If you want to make cupcakes that aren't technically from scratch, but have that bake shop consistency (and don't crack or balloon up to epic proportions), this recipe is the bomb.

Bakery-Style Cupcakes from a Cake Mix
1 box of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's SuperMoist Triple Chocolate Fudge)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
(yields 20-24 cupcakes)
Mix all ingredients together for 30 seconds on low, then 2 minutes on medium. Scoop into lined cupcake tins using an ice cream scoop, filling a bout 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Let them cool, and then frost and decorate!

I'm feeling generous on this frigid day, so I'll share my frosting recipe, too. I've been using this recipe for several years now and it's to die for. I get so many compliments on this frosting, and it's embarrassingly easy to make. I will not judge if you eat it with a spoon. Because I have.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 package (16 ounces) confectioner's sugar
(yields enough to frost about 20 cupcakes)

Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract at medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar at a low speed. Once mixed in, beat at high for about 2 more minutes until fluffy.

Place the frosting into a plastic bag, snip the tip, and frost!

Ain't they purdy??
Now dig in. Or share with your Valentine.

And just so you know I'm not exaggerating, here's how much winter precipitation has taken place at my house! Sadly, it's 75% ice. And it's still coming down!


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