Sweetly Surprised Cupcakes

Sweetly Surprised Cupcakes: A rich, dark chocolate cupcake filled with colourful M&Ms, topped with refreshing mint icing and chocolate drizzle.

Mood:  This cupcake is for the mood when you’re feeling spontaneous, and want to explore the new and unexpected. Tired of the conventional, you’re ready to be pleasantly surprised!

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Cupcakes that look ordinary (and delicious) enough, but little do you know they are not what they seem! Appearing to the naked eye as chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing, as you bite in you realize the frosting is not vanilla, or even white chocolate- it is mint! As you ponder this new flavour in your mouth, M&M’s spill out from the bite mark, for they are filling the inside! Yes, this is the cupcake version… of a Piñata.

I should make these for Cinco de Mayo.

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But no, these cupcakes came about as I was preparing to visit my brother in Michigan for Canadian Thanksgiving. Yes, I do realize they do not celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving in Michigan, but it coincides with Columbus day so that meant that my brother, my parents, and I all had the Monday off and could convene for some family time! How lovely. Well, it just so  happens that Canadian Thanksgiving is shortly after my brother’s birthday, and what better birthday gift than to surprise him with surprise cupcakes!

So, when my brother said he’d be out of the house Saturday night and I’d have to entertain myself, I knew what I had to do. I had to bake him cupcakes while he was out as a surprise! And surprise him I did. With seriously delicious cupcakes.

Instructions: 

Now, I made this a bit differently because I had to mix the ingredients prior to traveling via Greyhound to Michigan. I mixed the wet together, mixed the dry together, and put them in separate baggies, to be assembled in America.

First, mix together 1/4 cup of room temperature butter with 1 cup of white sugar.

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Butter and sugar. The key to everything delicious.

Melt 2 ounces of dark chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove (you can use semisweet if you prefer. Depends on your preference). Then mix in the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, one at a time until combined. Lastly, add the 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Greek yogurt because I had some. Original recipe calls for sour cream. Use whatever is in your fridge).

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And brown chocolate sludge. Awesome.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder. At this point, I put them both into bags.

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Whoever invented ziplock bags is my hero. Seriously. Love this person.

To transport these ingredients to Michigan, I used this handy dandy lunchbox that has built in ice pack walls! Kept the butter hard the entire 10 hour trip. No food spoilage here!

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The awesome lunchbox of awesome. I feel like Packit should be giving me money for this endorsement.

When you are ready to combine the wet and the dry, alternate, adding the dry ingredients to the wet in 3 additions, mixing until just combined. Then mix in the 1/2 cup of water.

Pour the batter into 12 cupcake wells, lined with papers.Bake at 350 for approximately 18 minutes. Take them out, let them cool on wire racks and voila! Deliciousness.

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Baaakkkiiinnnngggg time

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Looking good already.

Now for the deceivingly plain looking icing that is actually minty! So fun. Take 1 stick of room temperature butter and whip it with a mixer until nice and fluffy. Mix in 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream and 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract. Check the consistency- if it’s not stiff enough, add more powdered sugar.

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Look at this mint extract. Is it not the most legit bottle you have ever seen? So classy.

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My batch of icing ready to go!

I then loaded up my icing in an icing bag and threw it in another plastic bag. Wet, dry, and icing, all ready to come into action once I reached my destination.

Now assembly. As per all my filled cupcakes, you must cut a cone out of the middle. Then, cut off the tip of the cone so that you just have a thin slice of cupcake to cover the hole back up. The cut off tips you can just eat, and you will want to because they are hella tasty.

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A hole in a cupcake? Emily you’ve never done that before!! /sarcasm

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Just cut off the tip!

Then you fill the hole with M&Ms! I wish I had found mini M&M’s but I couldn’t find any in the Canadian grocery stores (you sucks Zehrs). So we had to settle with large M&M’s. Which were fine, but for this purpose I think mini would have worked better. If you’re American or can find them in your Canadian grocery store then get mini. Also mint M&M’s would also be fun, and coordinate with the flavour of the icing. How fancy. Put the cap back on and you’re ready to ice!

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I see you hiding in there M&Ms!

Pipe on that icing like with normal cupcakes. Then, melt a bit of chocolate, put it in a plastic bag, cut off the tiniest hole in the tip of the bag, and add some of that chocolate drizzle that everyone loves.

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You think they look good now? Wait for it…

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BOOM! Drizzled.

And you are done! Now go surprise some people with your awesome baking skills and deliciously fun cupcakes 🙂

Now I know you see these pictures and probably think wow, Emily must be the best baker ever. Although this is probably true, I though I should show you some of my… mistakes. To reassure you that I am human and yes, it’s totally fine if you have a few flops. Everyone does. Just only photograph the pretty ones.

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Someone cut the drizzle hole too big… That’s just… not very pretty.

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And a large glob of chocolate decimated the side of this cupcake. Like a landslide.

There, you see? I am also human. So don’t be afraid to screw up! Close your eyes and the screw ups usually taste just as good!

Ingredients: Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (or whatever kind of chocolate you love)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup room temperature water

Icing

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Filling

  • 1-1.5 cups M&M’s (preferably mini, though any kind will do. Or heck throw in Skittles if you’re a crazy person)

Drizzle (optional)

  • 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Short Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the 1/4 cup butter with 1 cup sugar until it resembles sand. Then, melt 2 ounces of  chocolate and add it in. Add the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt.

In another bown combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder. Add to the wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Lastly add the 1/2 cup of room temperature water and combine.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes. Remove from muffin wells and let cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, whip up 1 cup of butter with a beater. Mix in 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Mix well.

Cut a cone in the middle of each cupcake (see photos for instructions). Cut off the tip of the cone so that you have a think cap to place overtop the hole. Fill the hole with M&M’s. Place the lid on. Ice the cupcakes with the mint icing. Melt 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and put in a ziplock bag. Cut a tiny, tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle on top of your cupcakes.

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Party Like It’s Your Birthday Cake Cupcakes

Party Like It’s Your Birthday Cake Cupcakes: funfetti birthdaycake cupcakes, with white chocolate ganache filling and rainbow white chocolate buttercream icing.

Mood: For when you’ve just had the best day ever and you want to dance all night; party time!

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No, it is not anyone’s actual birthday. It’s party like it’s your birthday. Which is what you do when something super exciting happens, like… I GOT A JOB!!!!! Yes, you heard right ladies and gentlemen. After the 5 months of unemployment that followed my graduation from university with a Peace and Conflict Studies degree, I finally have achieved the prize of being a gainfully employed adult. Craziness, I know. And yes, it may not be exactly in my “chosen field,” I’m working as a Student Services Assistant in the Arts Undergrad Office, but hey. sounds pretty swanky after a summer filled with… boredom and probably an unhealthy amount of self pity. And I get benefits! What a real life adult thing to have.

Anyway, so obviously what does one do when one has landed a form of legitimate employment? Throw a party of course! To celebrate my transition into real life adulthood and the end of my summer of unfortunate events, I had about 20 of my friends over for cupcakes and socializing.

Really, what better occasion to birth my cheerful “Eat Your Feelings” cupcakes than a “Emily Has a Job Partay?” I made two kinds, “Party Like It’s Your Birthday Cake” and “Beaming Butterscotch.” 5 hours and 36 cupcakes later… I was ready to party!

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Finished cupcakes! (Yes, I am aware that I am adorable. :P)

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All my cupcakes, waiting to be eaten!

Below, you will find my secrets to a deliciously sweet, decadent, and fun cupcake that will leave you smiling (and going for seconds! Just ask my friends- there were no extras left over!)

Instructions:

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Look at me all ready to bake cupcakes! Even got my penguin apron. Let’s do this.

Alrighty. First, make the white chocolate ganache! Always make the ganache first. Always always always. Take 3/8 cup heavy cream, put it in a small pot, and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, pour it in a bowl with 4 ounces of white chocolate. Wait for a minute, then stir together and chill for an hour or so.

Next, cupcakes! Birthday cake time! Preheat the oven to 350 F, the temperature all reasonable cupcakes are baked at (unless you’re at a high altitude and that screws with your baking. You lucky mountaineers). In a bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, 1 1/6 cup granulated sugar, 1 2/3 t. baking powder, and 2/3 t. salt (yes, I am aware that i use really weird measurements. That’s because I scaled down the recipe to make 18 cupcakes instead of 24. Either use your best guess, or multiply the recipe by 1 1/3. You’re smart. You can do it). While mixing on low, add the 2/3 cup butter cubes one at a time, until all the butter is added and it looks like coarse sand.

While still mixing on low speed, add the 3 eggs, 1 at a time, and scrape the bowl down with a spatula as needed. Slowly add the 2/3 cup milk and 1 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix it all together at medium speed until everything is nice and mixed. Using a spatula, fold in the sprinkles.

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These are the sprinkles I used! Worked pretty well 🙂 Just dumped the whole thing in.

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SPRINKLES TIME!!!

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All mixed in and ready to go.

Divide the batter between 18 lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the oven!

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Baked and ready to be filled with white chocolate goodness!

After the cupcakes are cool, cut little cones out of the top of each one, as demonstrated in the image. Fill the hole with a bit of the white chocolate ganache, and reinsert the top cone.

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“Feed me!”

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Mmmmmm white chocolate filling is now safely inside.

Speaking of frosting….. Let’s get started! Melt 8 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Let cool slightly. Whip up the 2/3 cup of butter until creamy and fluffy, and add the white chocolate. Then add 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar and 2/3 t. vanilla extract. And voila! White chocolate buttercream. Mine was runnier than my usual icing, so I had to pop it in the fridge for a little bit. To make it firmer I might add a bit more butter or sugar. If you dislike slightly runnier icing then experiment away. As you can see by the pictures it still piped on and stuff so it’s not unusable, just a bit different than most buttercreams.

Now comes the fun part- making it multi coloured!! Get out 3 bowls and divide the icing between them. Then, add a different colour to each one. I chose green, pink, and blue.

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These are my colours! Pretty safe. I think neon could be cool. I use the gel food colouring because I got it in a cake decorating kit. And it’s fun.

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I mixed mine pretty pastel. It could look good with bolder colours too I think. Just do it to your preference.

Now take your icing bag, put a fun tip in, and then put it inside of a glass, folding over the excess bag.

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Like so. Basically, the bag should line the inside of the glass.

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Yes, that is a Tardis. I am a huge Doctor Who nerd.

Now fill it with icing, trying to keep each icing to a third of the bag. I added alternating spoonfuls, one of pink, green, then blue, then repeating, so that they each equally fill the bag.

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The icing is in the bag! Ready to frost some cupcakes.

Then ice the cupcakes normally. If you did it right, you should get a multi-coloured icing effect. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, it’ll still taste delicious :). And you’re done! Woooo! Now go and party like it’s your birthday!

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Ingredients: (Makes 18 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/6 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 2/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into small cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(ish) rainbow sprinkles

White Chocolate Ganache Filling:

  • 4 ounces white chocolate
  • 3/8 cup heavy cream

Rainbow White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces white chocolate
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food dye

Brief Directions:

First, make the white chocolate ganache. Take 3/8 cup heavy cream, put it in a small pot, and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, pour it in a bowl with 4 ounces of white chocolate. Wait for a minute, then stir together and chill for an hour or so.

Next, cupcakes! Birthday cake time! Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, 1 1/6 cup granulated sugar, 1 2/3 t. baking powder, and 2/3 t. salt. While mixing on low, add the 2/3 cup butter cubes one at a time, until all the butter is added and it looks like coarse sand.

While still mixing on low speed, add the 3 eggs, 1 at a time, and scrape the bowl down with a spatula as needed. Slowly add the 2/3 cup milk and 1 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix it all together at medium speed until everything is nice and mixed. Using a spatula, fold in the sprinkles.

Divide between 18 lined cupcake wells. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, melt 8 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Let cool slightly. Whip up the 2/3 cup of butter until creamy and fluffy, and add the white chocolate. Then add 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar and 2/3 t. vanilla extract.

Now dye the icing- Get out 3 bowls and divide the icing between them. Then, add a different colour to each one. I chose green, pink, and blue. Take an icing bag, and put it inside of a glass, folding down the edges of the icing bag so that the bag lines the inside of the cup and is open at the top. Spoon in the icing, alternating colours and trying to keep the colours divided by thirds. If you’re confused look at the pictures above. Pipe the icing on and you’re done!

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