Semi-Homemade

This past weekend was INSANE.

Saturday was taken over by a big BBQ fiesta that my mother was hosting (read: Saturday was a big BBQ fiesta that I had to bake for and my husband had to cook for) The party was thank you to all the friends, family, fundraisers, and first responders that helped my family after my sister’s car accident last year.

Sunday was taken over by a smaller BBQ fiesta that me and my husband were hosting for a bunch of our Spartan (or may as well be Spartan) friends.

Saturday through Monday was a surprise visit from my bestest friend that now lives in Delaware. Our husbands were very sneaky and plotted to get us together for a weekend since we somehow seem incapable of scheduling visits.

The big fiesta required cupcakes for over 100 guests and the little fiesta would probably be about 20. Typically, this kind of order is not a big deal. For this particular weekend, it was nuts. I also had to bake mass quantities of Spartan shield-shaped cheddar-dill bread, help in the kitchen Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday for the normal food, clean my house and make it not look like 3 dogs and a tornado two-year-old live there, all while keeping that previously mentioned force of nature occupied. Jay was also busy cooking, cleaning, landscaping…. Oh and did I mention that my beagle had to go for surgery on Thursday and so I also needed to keep up with all her post-op care?

Nilla and her cone of shame.

Rather than sit there measuring out flour and sugar and milk and the last remaining droplets of my sanity, I did the unthinkable.

I used boxed cake mix.

I’ll give you a minute to get over it.

Minute over.

If the First Lady (ish) of NY can do it, then so can I.

Mind you, I would never do this for a paying customer. I couldn’t possibly do that. My mother and myself are not paying customers, so they can just deal.

This was the only photo I could get. I forgot to take one before I put them out on the dessert table and the guests at the party were vultures. Vultures, I tell you.

This was the only photo I could get. I forgot to take one before I put them out on the dessert table and the guests at the party were vultures. Vultures, I tell you.

I made 1 set of cupcakes that were purely from Duncan Hines (or whatever it was that was on sale at ShopRite last week.) Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my little sister’s favorite cake in the world and it just tastes different when you do it from scratch.

The second set were Dunkin’ cupcakes. My sister has an unnatural fixation with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and will almost always be seen with some kind of iced coffee beverage with a bright orange straw. For these, I swapped out the water in the Devil’s Food cake mix instructions with some super-ridiculously strong Dunkin’ Donuts Turbo coffee. Easy peasy. I topped these with homemade whipped cream laced with pure coffee extract. I warned parents at the party to keep their kids away from them. They didn’t. Their problem.*

To make this whipped cream:

Warm 2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder and 4 tbsp water in a pan until completely dissolved. Allow it to cool but not set up.

While the gelatin goo cools, whip 1 pint of whipping cream and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar until it almost looks like whipped cream. Start on a lowish setting with a hand mixer or stand mixer and then slowly increase the spead so you don’t splash yourself and the counter and the ceiling with non-whipped cream.

Add in the cooled gelatin and a tablespoon or so of pure coffee extract and continue whipping at the highest speed until it looks like whipped cream. When you take the beaters out of the bowl it should leave a nice little peak of cream sticking up.

The last set of cupcakes were Cap’n Crunch cupcakes. I found the recipe on Pinterest via the blog Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and it is FUCKING DELICIOUS. Yes, they are so good that they require both foul language and all-caps.

From Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

I must warn you that friends will hate you for making these. Gluten-free friends, paleo friends, clean eaters, diabetics, etcetera will not be able to resist the deliciousness. They will repeatedly tell you that you are evil until the peanut butter seals their mouths shut.

 

 

 

*For the record, X ate 2 of these. He’s still awake.