Monday, April 9, 2012

How to fake a cake

I'm not a baker as a rule. Anything that requires precise measuring and timing is not really my thing. But the one thing I can do is make cupcakes from a boxed mix. And with a couple substitutions, no one would ever suspect they weren't from scratch!

I decided to try this with my nieces, so we made Shamrock Shake cupcakes (which taste almost exactly like their namesake and are insanely good). Here's the ”recipe”:


1 box French vanilla cake mix
1 box French vanilla instant pudding mix
3 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
10-20 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon mint extract

Mix ingredients and bake according to box directions. If your are using fancy paper baking cups, I recommend banking the cupcakes in plain cheap ones and setting them in the fancy ones after the fact. These cupcakes are very decadent (which is code for ass-widening) and the oil soaks through the paper. Setting the cupcakes in the cute cups after they're baked eliminates that greasy see-through fast food bag look.


1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 can vanilla cake frosting (I like to use the whipped kind, but any kind will do.)
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Whip cream and sugar until it starts to look clumpy. If you dip a fork into it and pull it out, it should leave little peaks that stand up. Then fold in (this means GENTLY stir with a rubber spatula or big mixing spoon) the canned frosting and mint extract. Spoon into a gallon freezer bag and cut off a corner. Squirt a blob of icing onto each cupcake and top with a cherry if desired. You can also just spoon the icing onto the cupcakes like we did. It looks a little messier, but let's face it, all that matters is they taste DIVINE.

I've also done orange creamsicle cupcakes (substitute orange extract for the mint and orange food coloring for the green in the cake, and omit the flavoring completely from the icing leaving it vanilla), and double chocolate milkshake (substitute dark chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding mix in the cake, and milk chocolate canned frosting in the icing). If you make these for a party, people will go crazy for them and think you're some kind of cake-baking genius and you never have to tell them it's from a box!

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