A Baking Adventure: Orange Campfire Cakes

A craving for sweets can hit at any moment, so it’s always best to be prepared, even when camping. S’mores are great, but what if what you really want is cake? You may remember we posted about spotting Betty Crockers’ Shake-N-Pour cupcake mix at our local grocery store on our Facebook page. This is the perfect item to take along for a camping trip. All you have to do is add water!

Every fall, a handful of my girlfriends, including Crusaders Stacy and Elisa, get together for a girls’ weekend. It started five years ago in tents, and although we no longer stay in tents—after spoiling ourselves on year three with a cabin—the gist of the trip is the same: Sit around a fire, have fun, eat food, and throw in some drinks. With Pinterest, my campfire ideas for the weekend bloomed and I found a recipe for Orange Campfire Cakes from ljcfyi.com. Oranges are simple to take along with you and, with the added bonus of cake mix that requires no bowls, utensils, eggs, or oil, it was a no brainier that we would have these “rugged cupcakes” during our weekend.

Easy steps:
1. Hollow out an orange. This was the most difficult of the steps and we used several methods among us girls including spoons and bare hands.
2. After adding water to the mix, shake it up! As you can see, I had a good time with this step because who doesn’t love shakin’ it? (We also have music playing anytime we are at in the cabin.)
3. Pour the batter into the orange peels, replace the top, and wrap in foil.
4. Bake in the coals of a fire for 20 minutes, then enjoy!

Since it was SO cold on the weekend we went away, instead of an outdoor campfire we stayed in and kept the wood stove burning. The coals of the wood stove worked perfectly!

We had Funfetti cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes, for variety. We may have overfilled them, so the cake stuck to the tops of the oranges and oozed out the sides a little. But, the results were the same: Delicious!

A couple of my friends added chocolate chips to their Funfetti, but I slathered my chocolate cake with chocolate frosting! It’s not pretty, but keep in mind, this is “camping.”

Some might be skeptical of a cake mix in a plastic container that only requires water to be added. I know we were. But, baking them in an orange peel adds moisture and seals it in. If you don’t like orange flavor, than these cakes aren’t for you, but we all loved the flavor it added to the cake. The leftover cake batter made great pancakes the next morning too!

CampfireCakes_Girls
(Having fun in Williamsport, PA! From left to right: Crusader Elisa, Crusader Jenn, Guest Crusader Beth Lacey with Leah, Guest Crusader Alli with her daughter Freya, Crusader Stacy, and Amy – who needs to be a guest crusader!)

There were more than enough sweets for the weekend and the bar was set high this year, but I’m sure we’ll manage next year. Now that there are two little girls who join us (my “little” Leah and my friend’s girl Freya, who is only 4-5 days older than Leah), I can’t help but think of the memories they’ll have from our fall trips, sitting around a campfire (or wood stove) making treats, laughing, and having fun with some of the best ladies in my life.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Recipe Review: S’mores Cups

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I’ve mentioned before that I believe there are certain non-cupcake items that can be discussed on this blog because, to me, they are in the “cupcake family” and that cupcake lovers will also enjoy reading about them.  These delicious, and incredibly easy to make, S’more Cups are in that category. I’ve also mentioned before that I have a long list of recipes that I’ve been collecting, and in an effort to work through that list, I’ve decided to bake one at least once a month, and share my results here. This month’s recipe I came across from Pampered Chef (UPDATE: THEY HAVE REMOVED THE RECIPE FROM THEIR SITE – ALL MEASUREMENTS WERE ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH PAMPERED CHEF). I knew our recent girls weekend getaway would be the perfect opportunity to make these. Us six girls have all gotten together for a weekend in the fall for the past 4 years, starting in tents, then moving to a rustic cabin, and this year, a nice house. The downside to the house was that there was no place to roast marshmallows for S’mores (which I’m usually put in charge of) so these little S’mores Cups were the next best thing.

You are going to be shocked how easy these are. I don’t have a lot of the Pampered Chef “equipment” so I had to improvise and they still weren’t hard to make:

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in Small Batter Bowl.

Step 2:
Using a small scoop, place a small amount of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups with a Mini-Tart Shaper (I didn’t have this, so I used my fingers). Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.

Step 3:
While the crust is in the oven, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.

Step 4:
Cut marshmallows in half crosswise. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.

Step 5:
Break remaining candy bars and place in bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute-1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 minutes-1 hour or until set.

Yield: 24 cups
Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended. For a richer chocolate flavor, substitute dark chocolate candy bars for the milk chocolate.

I think next time I’m going to try the dark chocolate. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, so I think that would take these from AWESOME, to UNBELIEVABLE.

Either way, this simple treat was a huge hit for our girls “camping” trip, and I might be making them a staple at our yearly gatherings.

THIS RECIPE WAS NOT AN ORIGINAL RECIPE. ALL INSTRUCTIONS AND MEASUREMENTS ARE PROPERTY OF PAMPERED CHEF AND CAN BE FOUND ON THEIR WEBSITE, CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION. 

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)