Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oh the things I do for love

People have known me for awhile have seen that I go to crazy lengths to do things the home made way. We bake all of our own bread products (sandwich loaves, hamburger and hot dog buns, baguettes, pizza crust, etc.) from scratch. On the rare occasion we eat ice cream, it's home made. I've done yogurt, tried making cheese, we haven't bought jam or jelly in four years, and I could make potato chips from home grown potatoes in my sleep. Not a single overripe banana goes to waste, getting turned into banana bread or muffins for the freezer. Clementine or lime skins are soaked in vinegar to make scented cleaner. I've made ketchup, hot sauce, and for a while there when dairy prices were low, I was even making our butter.

So I say all that in order to feel justified in posting the following recipe. It's not something you will feel good making. You start out bad, with a box full of preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. You get worse with more high fructose corn syrup. Then while you're at it you throw in some gelatin rendering the product unfit for vegetarian consumption. But then you put sprinkles on top!

And you hold back the tears both because you know what's in them, but also because the kids think they are so amazing. Which is the only reason I'm sharing with the world the fact that I actually made these.

For Jack's 7th birthday we had a party at a paint your own pottery place which sounded messy enough without adding cutting and serving a cake to that. I got a few cookbooks from the library, you know, the kind with more words than pictures where cake recipes all start with creaming butter and sugar. Jack wasn't interested in those. Instead he gravitated right to

Click to buy it on Amazon.

It's a cute book and certainly less intimidating with some of the others, but I'd have a hard time telling anyone that these are home made cupcakes. Still, like I said, the kids loved them, so here's what to do.

Neapolitan Sundae Cupcakes

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 18 to 20 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes
(these are all lies. The whole process took me a lot longer, especially when you take cleaning up into account)

24 paper liners (I used white ones so you could see the magic)

1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 container (6 oz) low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
1/2 cup chocolate syrup 
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin powder from a 3-ounce box

1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup chocolate syrup or sauce
24 maraschino cherries
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Chopped peanuts, pecans, or walnuts (optional)

Before we get to the directions, I wanted to note a few things I did differently. I was worried about the ability of Cool Whip (or real whipped cream) to stand up to transport and sitting around, so instead I used a can of vanilla frosting iced on with a star tip. Instead of chocolate sprinkles, the icing I bought came with confetti ones. And I drained the cherries on a paper towel for about 20 minutes so they wouldn't make the frosting look all bloody.

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside. 

2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, yogurt, oil, water, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. B;end with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula...

OH! I have to tell you that my wonderful husband surprised me by ordering me a silicone spatula for my Kitchen Aid mixer:

And it's pink!
I've wanted one of these for YEARS and it works perfectly! Love it (and him)!

...Increase the mixer speed to medium and blend 1.5 to 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened.

3. Divide the batter equally into 3 small mixing bowls (approximately 2 cups batter in each). To one bowl, stir in the chocolate syrup until it is incorporated. To the second bowl, stir in the strawberry gelatin until it is incorporated. Leave the batter in the third bowl plain. Beginning with the chocolate batter, spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each lined muffin cup. Next, carefully spoon 1 tablespoon of plain batter on top of the chocolate. Do not spread out the batter and do not let it touch the sides of the liner. Finally, gently spoon 1 tablespoon strawberry batter on top of the plain, not letting it touch the sides. Place the pans side by side in the oven.

You start out all -

Oh, this isn't all that much trouble...
 But it doesn't take long before you're -


4.  Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. 

This took a lot longer for me. The recipe babbles a bit after this, but lets assume you aren't a moron and can figure out how to remove the pans from the oven and get the cupcakes out of them, okay? I wrapped mine up and let them cool overnight, but if you're frosting them right away you might want to wait half an hour, especially if you're using whipped cream. 

The next day I put the store-bought icing (because seriously, at this point what's a little more high fructose corn syrup?) into a piping bag with a large star tip and attempted to make it look swirly. Drizzle on some chocolate syrup, top with sprinkles and the well-drained cherries.

Nailed it!

I made one other recipe from the book - Caramel Apple Cupcakes - and the sundae ones were the favorite by a LARGE margin. I wish I'd taken a picture of the insides because they really did look cool all layered like Neapolitan ice cream. But most importantly, Jack had an awesome birthday!


  1. Where did your husband get that fabulous Kitchen Aid silicone spatula mixer thing? :)

    1. He got it on Amazon. I'm pretty sure I linked the picture to the listing, but you have to make sure to get the right size for your mixer. I have a Professional 5 bowl-lift mixer, not the tilt-head kind which is more common.