Sunday, January 5, 2014

From Lazy to Fancy:: Cupcake Edition

So it's a cold, gray Saturday. My husband and I have the itch to do some home-cookin'. My immediate attention turned to dessert (because it is important to plan and prepare, and maybe sample, that before anything else). Of course, I hopped on Pinterest, scoured my printed recipe pile (housed in an organized book), and searched the pantry. Then my 15 month old says, "cupcake". Clear as day. Graham heard it too. Either that or we both wanted cupcakes and she actually said something like "ccckkcckkaaa". Anyway, she said cupcake. Kid is a genius.

I needed a quick and affordable recipe. I found a strawberry box mix in the pantry and remembered finding ways to doctor those on Pinterest. God bless Pinterest. I found some Nutella (a pantry staple) and some strawberries I had to use in the fridge. The dream was starting to come together. A few hours later...

Strawberry cupcakes with Nutella buttercream, garnished with a chocolate & Nutella dipped strawberry.

At the request of one very pregnant lady (c'mon baby!), I am sharing the recipe with you. But it's embarrassingly simple, so let's call it a technique. Here's the technique::

 I'm-Lazy-But-Wanna-Look-Fancy Cupcakes 
  • 1 Strawberry box cake mix, prepared as follows: follow package instructions for temperature and egg amount. Double the amount for the oil, but use melted (and cooled) unsalted butter instead. Add 1 tsp to 1 T of vanilla, depending upon taste preference. Use milk instead of water.
  • Nutella buttercream: Buttercream is a very easy frosting if you have a stand mixer. And you should have one. Use one stick (1/2 cup) softened (room temp) unsalted butter. Add 1 T vanilla. Add about 2-3 T of milk. Add about 1 cup of powdered sugar. Start the mixer (using wire whisk attachment) on lowest setting to carefully incorporate powdered sugar/milk. As it starts to be more of a combined solid, increase the speed to medium, gradually. While mixing, add about 1/3 (or more) cup of Nutella, heated slightly in microwave (and slightly cooled) just to change consistency to a more pourable spread. Increase mixer speed to medium high and mix until frosting is light, creamy, and spreadable. If you need more moisture, add milk 1 T at a time (decreasing the mixer speed to add). If you need more solid, add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time (again decreasing the mixer speed while adding). You really can't mess this up. 

  • Frost cupcakes once cooled (duh), and then garnish with a dipped strawberry. 
    (Dip strawberries by melting 1/2 cup chocolate chips--any sweetness you prefer--and add about 3 T of nutella. Easy to do this is the microwave...30 seconds on, stir, and repeat until melted. Let the chocolate cool ever so slightly then dip strawberries. Place on baking sheet, lined with wax paper, and let harden in refrigerator. Once set, gobble all but a few down, put the rest on the cupcakes, and take a picture.) 
 And, now you too are fancy. Even when you're lazy. Oh, and Hayley was pleased with her dessert decision. Even though she didn't get to eat the frosting. Or the chocolate on the strawberry. If you have met Hayley, you know why I didn't think she needed any extra sugar. I did give her a piece of cupcake and a plain strawberry as a reward for a good idea.



  1. THANK YOU!!! -- The very pregnant lady, who still AWAITS this stubborn baby!

    1. I hope he makes his appearance soon! Some people say you will forget all about the last miserable days...not true, but at least you'll have a cute baby to squeeze to make these days feel worth it! Good luck!