A Baking Adventure: Mini Salted Chocolate Caramel FUN da-Middles Cupcakes

I don’t know if I’ve told you all this before, but I’m an avid coupon clipper. Crusader Stacy is responsible for getting me started after she subscribed to the weekend newspaper a couple of years ago. Now I’m a subscriber myself and enjoy sitting down on the weekends to browse through the circulars. It’s always an exciting clipping day when I come across baking coupons. I found myself on a trip to the grocery store with two, one for Betty Crocker FUN da-Middles and another for Duncan Hines Frosting Creations.

Since the Baltimore Cupcake Picnic was fast approaching, I decided I would put these two things together in mini cupcake form (please don’t think less of me for mixing brands).

Betty Crocker FUN da-Middles have a chocolate (or vanilla) center that you bake in the cupcake, which saves you time later having to fill them. It still amazes me how the chocolate center stays smooth and creamy. I may have overstuffed my mini cupcakes, but the frosting hid most of the bursts.

I decided to pair the vanilla-chocolate FUN da-Middles with Duncan Hines Caramel Frosting Creations. You can never go wrong with chocolate and caramel, right? I had to add confectioners’ sugar to the frosting because it was too runny to pipe.

I lined all my minis up to frost and add caramel and chocolate ganache drizzles.

I made my own chocolate ganache and used Smucker’s Caramel Sundae Syrup. I put each into a small bag and cut a tiny opening for more control over the drizzle.

Just to take the flavor to the next level, I sprinkled half of the cupcakes with course sea salt. The Crusaders all agreed that the salted cupcakes were our favorite of the two. The difference was mild, but it really rounded out the sweetness and gave it that little something extra to make the cupcakes special.

My overall thought on working with Betty Crocker FUN da-Middles is that they are pretty neat. My grocery store is no longer carrying the product line and it seems like a few other places I shop at occasionally don’t have them either. I guess it hasn’t been a popular item, but I’ve seen recipes I would like to try where I could modify the filling flavor, so I’ll have to be on the lookout for more. If you’ve tried FUN da-Middles before, let us know what you thought and if you changed up the mix.

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

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Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes: A Baking and Decorating Adventure

Words can’t describe how infatuated I’ve been with this flavor combination this summer. Since large cartons of blueberries have been on sale at the grocery store, I found myself with a freezer full of them needing to be turned into something delicious. What could be better than a lemon blueberry cupcake, with blueberry filling and lemon frosting? Nothing. That’s what.

In my typical half box/half homemade fashion I searched for a recipe that would be easy but tasty. I settled on a modified box mix recipe on Better Crocker‘s website for the cake and frosting, and a filling recipe from Mother Thyme‘s blog.

The box mix recipe intrigued me because it called for the addition of cream cheese in the batter, which isn’t something I’ve done yet. This made the cake really moist and a little more dense which worked well with the addition of the fresh blueberries.

Putting a filling inside of a cupcake was a first for me, so I proceeded with Crusader Jenn’s and Crusader Elisa’s method of using a grapefruit knife to cut out the un-needed cake, which ended up working really well. Recently, my sweet husband gave me a new baking gadget specifically for filling cupcakes, called a cake plunger. I’m really curious to see how it works and if it saves on time and/or gives just as good (or better) results than the grapefruit knife.

When it came time to add the blueberry filling to the cupcakes, I decided that the scrumptious mixture needed to be a bit smoother than the recipe produced, so I pureed it to get the texture I was looking for. After pureeing it, the filling was perfect.

Unlike Jenn and Elisa’s technique of using a small spoon to add the filling to the cupcakes, I decided to use a piping bag. The spoon seemed like it would be way too time consuming and messy, and I’ve seen bakers all over the internet use a piping bag, so I decided that was the way to go.

I’m so glad I decided to go that route. The cupcakes were filled in no time, and it was a totally mess-free and fuss-free process.

For the lemon frosting, I added cream cheese to the recipe I found on Betty Crocker’s website. The cream cheese helped to cut the tartness of the lemon and add another dimension that complemented both the lemon and blueberry flavors well.

After the cupcakes were baked and frosted, I split the batch of 24 in half and decorated some with just a simple single blueberry and the other half with a fun beach theme inspired by Party Pinching‘s Pez Flip Flops. I knew that I would be using the beachy ones for the Westminster Cupcake Picnic and wanted them to be extra awesome.

Simple decor:

Super fabulous (or at least pretty cool…) summer beach decoration:

For these cupcakes I started by dipping the frosted cupcake in blue sugar crystals to act as the water. The flips flops were as easy as adhering flower shaped sprinkles to a Pez candy with melted white chocolate. Then, for the beach balls, I used large candy buttons which I had randomly purchased a couple weeks prior at my local dollar store and applied white chocolate and red candy melts to create the alternating colors.

Unfortunately the cream cheese frosting was having a little bit of trouble holding up in the warm weather, so some items shifted around a little bit, but overall I achieved the look I was going for and everyone at the picnic seemed to enjoy both the decorations and the flavor. I would definitely say these were a big hit!

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

Review for Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe Cupcakes: Raising the Bar for Store Bought Cupcakes

Well, I did it again. I bought cupcakes from Walmart. As I was browsing the aisles, I walked past and said, “I haven’t seen those before!” Typically my local store only has the mini cupcakes we reviewed for you before. The minis were decent enough, but these new ones are full-size (actually maybe even a little larger than the average cupcake) and look good. My husband had just commented the night before that he wished we had some cupcakes, so when I saw these I had to get some (I choose the Lemon Ice). It’s a great price, at $3.98 for four.

The new cupcakes are under a different label than the minis. I did some research on Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe and it seems like only Walmart carries them. There are four flavors, three of which we’ve tried (if I see the Red Velvet, I’ll have to pick that one up for Crusader Elisa). All of the cupcakes have light moist cake, smooth frosting, and a complementing filling and really are surprisingly tasty.


(Lemon Ice: Lemon cake filled with lemon crème and topped with lemon frosting and lemon crumbs. This cupcake is tangy and not too sweet.)

After tasting the Lemon Ice at home, I bought that plus the Triple Chocolate and Vanilla Bean for the Westminster Cupcake Picnic. I decided to take them out of the store packaging and perform a taste test before divulging where they came from.


(Triple Chocolate cupcakes: Chocolate cake filled with chocolate fudge and topped with chocolate frosting and Belgian chocolate pieces. Very rich and chocolaty!)

Everyone confirmed my thoughts and they were shocked by the price and where the cupcakes came from. There were even volunteers to take some home, so I didn’t have any leftover!


(Vanilla Bean: Vanilla cake with a sweet vanilla cream filling and topped with a Madagascar vanilla bean frosting. Great vanilla bean flavor!)

So if you are in your local Walmart, take a detour to the baked goods aisle and check out the Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe cupcakes. We are curious to see if others are also pleasingly surprised with these store-bought cupcakes.

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

UPDATE: We edited the title of this entry after hearing about all the other locations, besides Walmart, that readers have been finding Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe cupcakes. We still have not found a website that lists the locations where these can be purchased, but see the comments below for some locations and please let us know if you found them somewhere not listed. Thank you!

***We are not affiliated with Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe. They are a product of the Give and Go Foods Corporation. For more information on the Give and Go Foods Corporation, please visit their website here.***

Josie’s “Creative & Delicious” Confections

What do fried chicken, waffles, and cupcakes have in common? Josie’s Confections. But that isn’t the only amazing cupcake creation up “The Cupcake King’s” sleeve! After the Westminster cupcake picnic this past weekend, we Crusaders realized that we hadn’t actually reviewed Joel’s creations?! So here goes:

For our Washington DC Cupcake Picnic, Joel brought 4 flavors:

Fried Chicken & Waffle

All three Crusaders loved this cupcake. The fried chicken alone was amazing, in fact Crusader Jenn said she wouldn’t mind eating a bucket of the chicken and I agree. The maple cake was moist and very flavorful, with the light maple frosting pairing nicely with the perfectly fried chicken and sweet waffle. Crusader Stacy says it is in her top 5 cupcakes of ALL the cupcakes she has ever had, and ate 3 in one day, the perfect testament to just how delicious this cupcake is. (Wow, just writing about it makes my mouth water and my stomach grumble for fried chicken, waffles, and this cupcake.)

Maple Bacon

(Photo courtesy of Josie’s Confections)

If I were a cupcake, I would be THIS cupcake. My love of bacon is no secret, and this cupcake had perfectly cooked, crispy bacon on top AND in the cake. The maple frosting was again smooth, flavorful and paired perfectly with the bacon. Sweet, savory, salty, bacon-y perfection in cupcake form. I ate 3 at the picnic and took 3 home – and yes, I ate every one of them.

Strawberry Lemonade

I didn’t try this cupcake (I was too busy eating the Maple Bacon), but Stacy shared her thoughts: “This cupcake was a perfectly light and refreshing summer cupcake. It’s no wonder how Joel won 4th place for People’s Choice at the National Capital Area Cake Show’s (NCACS) Cupcake Challenge with this cupcake.”

Salted Caramel(Photo courtesy of Josie’s Confections)

This mini cupcake packed a caramel punch, with a hint of salt. Moist and flavorful, this mini had more caramel flavor than some full-sized caramel cupcakes I have encountered. The caramel drizzle on top added to the light, creamy, smooth texture. In a sea of regular sized cupcakes, this little mini stood out.

For our Westminster, MD Cupcake Picnic Joel brought 4 new flavors to share:

Red Berry Ciroc

Perfect summer boozie cupcake. Even better, you could still taste the Red Berry Ciroc vodka! While this is not a cupcake for a kid, it would be perfect for a bacholerette party or grown-up party. Love the fun bright frosting too – how Joel achieved that amazing red/pink hue without it tasting like food coloring is a mystery.

Tiramisu

This cupcake had all the right flavors, which worked together in unison to create the perfect Tiramisu dessert in cupcake form! The moist cake, tasty mascarpone and Kahlua filling and smooth frosting was one of the favorites of the day. This is one of my favorite desserts, and I was very impressed with just how much it tasted like the traditional dessert.

Capt. Morgan Rum and Coke  &  Mango Passion Fruit

Capt. Morgan Rum and Coke: At first sight you might think this cupcake looks like it has chocolate frosting, but the frosting tastes exactly like Coke – which amazed everyone at the picnic! And the cake tastes exactly like Capt. Morgan and was very moist. Like the Red Berry Ciroc, this is another 21+ only treat, but a treat that the Crusaders wouldn’t mind eating again.

Mango Passion Fruit: Another great summer cupcake! Light and sweet and full of mango and passion fruit flavor. The cake and frosting were an amazingly bright and refreshing orange color, how does Joel do it?! It reminded Crusader Jenn of tropical fruit candy; and while it was a bit sweet for me, it isn’t a cupcake I would ever turn down.

Overall Joel’s unique confections have intrigued and amazed us at each turn. Consistently moist and flavorful cake, smooth and creamy frosting, and inspired flavors are apparent in each cupcake Joel creates. Each inspired flavor has been meticulously paired together to create a delicious confection that anyone would be lucky to eat. He’ll be the first person I call the next time I need to order cupcakes for an event, party, or just when I need a Maple Bacon cupcake “fix.”

For information on ordering Josie’s Confections, call Joel at 301-541-7046, email him at joelegill@gmail.com or visit Josie’s Confections Facebook page.

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