The trials and tribulations of a scatter-brained kitchen junkie.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crimes Against Humanity Cakes

The name pretty much says it all. I set out to make some über delicious terrifyingly sweet cupcakes for a last minute birthday party invite. The catch, I had very little in the house, and even less desire to do heavy grocery shopping on an early Sunday afternoon when the stores were packed. Couple this with the birthday girl's insatiable love of chocolate and Crimes Against Humanity Cakes are born. The idea came from a series of random things I've found spread over the zillion cooking/baking forums I frequent. The basis came from an instructables post that I then tweaked a bit to clog the arteries  please the palate of the cake eaters. This recipe was perfect because all I needed (or so I thought...) was to pick up some Oreos.

A glimpse at the chaos inside.

What You'll Need
  • Box of brownie mix + the ingredients it calls for OR the ingredients and your favorite brownie recipe
  • Oreos regular or Double Stuf 
  • Smooth/creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 c vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (clear if you want the frosting to be really white)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk or water (I use water so the frosting is safe to sit out at a party/gathering all night)
  • Patience
  • Dishwasher

Assembling the (Cup)Cakes
  • Preheat oven to 350°   
  • Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 cupcake papers.  
  • Place one Oreo (I used Double Stuf because the BF insisted that the party guests would thank me) in the center of each cupcake paper.
    Single layer of Oreos
  • Pipe about 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter onto the top of the Oreo. It doesn't need to be measured, just eyeball it.Try to spread it across the whole cookie, leaving just a small ring of cookie showing underneath. Seriously, don't try to spoon it onto the cookie. Even with warmed peanut butter this was really messy and kept pulling the cookie up every time I tried to lift the spoon away.
      First round of peanut butter
  • Put another Oreo on top of this monster in the making. Try to keep your stack centered in the cupcake hole.
  •  Pipe a second layer 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter on to that sucker.
    Second round of peanut butter.
  • Mix up your brownie mix per the directions on the box/recipe you are using.
    Mmmm, brownie batter.
  • Scoop about 2 tbsp of brownie batter carefully on top of the peanut butter.
    Try to hit as close to the center as possible and let it slide down the sides of your cookie/peanut butter mountain. I used a medium cookie scoop and this worked beautifully. Especially compared to my efforts to cleanly transfer the batter using a regular table spoon. 
    Scooping the brownie batter.
  • Bake those suckers for 20-25 minutes, this varies depending on the mix you used. 
  • Insert a toothpick slightly off to the side to test for doneness. Obviously you can't poke straight down the  center as you usually would since the center is fully of still-fairly-hard-cookie. I pulled my brownies when the toothpick was mostly clean, but the brownies still appeared a bit tender. I wanted that gooey-ish texture to contract the crunch of the cookies.
  • Let rest in the pan, on a cooling wrack, until completely cooled. Trying to pull these from the pan while they are even slightly warm still results in the brownie tops separating from their cookie counterparts. 
A bit ugly, but that's what frosting is for!
Making the Frosting

Quick confession, I used gasp store-bought buttercream, but I promise I can explain! I had a giant tub of store-bought, though delicious, buttercream that was given to me by an aunt who had bought waaaay too many supplies to make her son's birthday cake. She wound up with a full extra tub of unopened frosting that she sent my way figuring I would use it up before her. It's now been kicking around my house for several months, so it needed to find a home. I also happened to have run out of powdered sugar, well I had about a cups worth which isn't enough to do anything of value with, so the tub saved me from a second trip to the store. All I had to do was crush up the Oreos (which was also a disaster because my food processor is no more) and mix them in. Had I made the frosting from scratch, this is what I would have done.
Crushing the cookies barbarian style.
  1. Cream the butter and shortening with an electric mixer on low-medium. 
  2. Add the vanilla and stir until combined.
  3. Sift in the powdered sugar slowly, scraping the sides down as necessary. Mix until thoroughly combined. 
  4. Add in the milk/water and beat until fluffy. Add more milk/water as necessary if the frosting appears too thick.
  5. Crush/grind up about 1 cup of Oreos. 
  6. Stir in the crushed Oreos.
  7. Use a butter knife or small spatula to spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
  8. Design/decorate as you see fit.
  9. Eat. 
The finished product

This was one of the messiest and most enjoyable recipes I have made in quite sometime. The calories are sky-high to match the joy level attained from whipping up a batch of these. The party guests, and most importantly, the birthday girl, were quite pleased with the results. I was too. We spent the night dancing, singing karaoke, and drinking cheap beer. Did I mention it was a Sunday night? Work the next day was...interesting. I'm very clearly not 18 anymore. I mean, 21, umm, cuz you know, that's the legal drinking age. ;)

Happy Baking!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yummy Yam Cupcakes - AKA Week 0

Yams vs Sweet Potatoes

I was about 20 before I realized that yams and sweet potatoes were the same thing. Then I was 24 (aka about two days ago when I was making these) when I learned that they actually aren't. Education is a cruel cruel mistress. For anyone who's curious yams and sweet potatoes actually are two different vegetables, though the names are commonly used interchangeably. Soooo, these were technically sweet potatoes cupcakes according to the recipe, but the can I bought had the words sweet potato and yam on the packaging so I feel justified letting my title stand.

Over on reddit I signed up to (attempt to) participate in their 52 weeks of baking challenge. Each week we are given a theme and we get to design a recipe to bake. We then share pictures and recipes with the rest of the community. I joined this not only in hopes of expanding my baking horizons, but also as a kick in the pants to get more me time in the kitchen. Plus, the more fun experiments over there translates into more successful posts here.
Since people were so excited about the upcoming 52 weeks of challenge they decided to put together a week 0 challenge that we had the entire month of December to work on. Week zero was holiday cupcakes, and since I've had this recipe kicking around in my to-bake folder for a while I thought what better time than now!
Some people think of sweet potatoes as  a Thanksgiving only food, but I personally love them all through the winter months. There is something about them, much like pumpkin anything, that just screams cold weather soul food, so I give you sweet potato cupcakes.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I got this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens, and (as usual) tweaked it slightly. I also used my mother's cream cheese frosting recipe since there is nothing in the world that can top it.

The cakes
The sweet potatoes I used
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 20 oz can sweet potatoes in light syrup - mashed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. Line a cupcake/muffin pan with 22 liners. (The recipe calls for 24, I got 23, and a few of my cupcakes were on the small side so I'll definitely condense next time.)
  3. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter & sugar until fluffy. 
  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Add the sweet potatoes and vanilla. I didn't pre-mash the sweet potatoes since they are so soft already and I was using my kitchenaid. If you're using a decent stand mixer I'd say you can skip the mashing in advance as well. 
  7. Add the flour mixture. Mix together until completely combined. Batter will be very thick and heavy.
  8. Spoon into lined cupcake pan.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The recipe states 20 minutes, but mine were still goo at that point.
  10. Remove from oven and cool on a wire wrack. 
This recipe was fairly straight forward and easy to follow though I did run into some snags along the way. First, the batter really didn't want to mix together, especially once the sweet potatoes were introduced. It's not that the sweet potatoes were too solid, quite the opposite actually; the sweet potatoes were so soft when they first were grabbed up by the mixer, that the eggs, sugar, butter mixture didn't want to combine with them. I turned off the mixture and just quickly incorporated the two by hand, then switched the mixer back on the finish the job. 
The second problem I came across was when adding the flour, when I say thick I mean thick. I think this was the thickest cake batter I have come across this far. That made getting it into the cupcakes holes both easier and more challenging simultaneously. Since the batter was thick, it was easy to scoop it up with a measuring cup, but then it does not want to release easily. I decided on a two hand approach; scoop up the batter with one hand, and use a spoon with the other to coax the batter into the cups. This was mostly successful.

I always forget to take pictures before I put the cupcakes in the carrier. Whoops!

The Frosting

  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lb powdered sugar

  1. Beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth. About one minute.
  2. Mix in vanilla, scraping down the sides to mix thoroughly. 
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing on low. Scrape sides down as necessary.
  4. Eat with a spoon straight from the mixer if no one is looking. Seriously, it's that good. Then maybe get around to putting it on the cupcakes.
After the cupcakes are assembled they require sampling. For Science! These cupcakes were everything a cupcake should be; dense but still moist, sweet but not rot your teeth sugary, just the perfect balance of everything involved; true recipe success. This one is definitely a keeper and I think I may adapt it for pumpkin and perhaps banana cupcakes down the road.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mad about Macroonis

Why I'm here.
In order to push myself to write a blog about cooking/baking I decided I needed to expand my horizons; I needed to reach out to these types of communities for inspiration. That first oomph of inspiration came from The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011The gist was that I sign up to send out 3 packages of 1 dozen cookies to 3 fellow food bloggers, and in return receive 3 packages of cookies myself from secret santas. Then I have to blog the recipe. Read that again. I HAD to blog. Thus forcing myself to do something that, though I quite enjoy it, I keepfalling short in completing the task.

Now that the details are out of the way let me tell you about the cookies. I chose to make my (grand?)mother's macroonis. I don't know exactly where in the family tree this recipe came from, but I do know that from a very young age these have been my favorite cookies. And that is saying a lot from a girl who loves cookies.

What is a macrooni?
Every single time I get asked this question I kind of freeze up during my response. 
Q: "What exactly is a macrooni?"
A: "Awesome. Next question."
Really though, macroonis are coconut, chocolatey, orange bliss. And lucky for you I am obligated herein to provide you with the recipe.

The recipe.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange extract (optional)
  • 4 cups sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  •  12 oz. chocolate chips

Be careful to not overmix the cookies otherwise they will spread out and lose their shape.
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°.
  2. Quickly mix the eggs, sugar, melted butter, zest vanilla, and orange extract.
  3. Fold in the coconut.
  4. Fold in the flour.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by rounded tbsp onto a greased (or lined with parchment paper) cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 11-14 minutes. The edges of the coconut should be lightly browned but the centers should still look soft.
  8. Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
  9. Eat warm, or allow to cool the rest of the way and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

I know I said I'd post a Thanksgiving post, but my life has been very...chaotic as of late, and I was unable to devote the proper time to get together a post worth reading. Attempting to actually have totally put together posts each week(ish) instead of constant half-assery.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Candy fueled chaos

This is kind of a long one. Better bust out the reading glasses.
I started this blog a little over a month ago and managed one measly post. I know, I know, sheesh.

Life has been comprised mostly of chaos and Halloween candy as of late (one most likely fueling the other), so there has been very little serious cooking/baking on the table. 

I did however manage to throw a somewhat successful Halloween party in the midst of my madness, Yes, I am still missing food pictures (I am terrible at this bit, but I'm working on it) I figured I could at least share some of the recipes, stories and adventures from my kitchen. 

And, since I don't have pictures of the food, here's my new favorite party picture of all time; Barack Obama, Eccentrica Gallumbits, and the gay cowboy. 

My life is actually pretty awesome sometimes, I need to remember that. And also to stop making stupid faces.
So gettin' down to business, party food. I had to repeatedly scale back the menu as people's yeses started turning into maybes. Even after that I wound up with way to much food. 

The Menu (in no particular order):
  • Hummus
  • Sugar cookies w/ royal icing
  • Cheesy mashed potato bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers
  • Vanilla & chocolate cupcakes
  • Back bone pinwheels
  • Queso bean dip
  • Spooky booze punch
  • Dark chocolate espresso truffles
  • Dark chocolate peanut butter crunch truffles
  • ...and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting (since I'm writing this post a little over a week late. *whoops*)
Naturally, not all of this deliciousness was from my own concoctions; a girl's gotta rest sometimes. I broke the recipes out below with links for what I borrowed, and recipes for what I didn't. 


 Hummus from one of my new favorite blogs; Budget Bytes. Seriously, that woman is amazing, she puts me to all sorts of kitchen-related shame. 

Sugar Cookies w/ Royal Icing

Sugar cookie recipe came conveniently from the back of the pan I used to bake them in. The recipe is one from Wilton, and pretty much everything they do is awesome. These were the sweetest, butteriest sugar cookies I have ever had, yum! The royal icing is from Wilton as well; what can I say, I'm loyal.

Jalapeno Poppers

The jalapeno poppers were a mixture of a few recipes I had found. Basically what I did was take this recipe, and wrap it in bacon instead of croissant dough. I also eliminated the bacon crumbles inside on account of the full on bacon toga they were sporting on the outside. So, really, I guess I only used ingredients 1-4 and then hoped into DIY mode. In the future, I'll probably make these puppies with homemade mashed, but for a place to begin the recipe was a hit. Only about 4 pieces out of 2 dozen managed to make it to the food table; they were devoured by hungry party guests on the way.

The rest of the recipe I more or less slung together myself. I had a variety of sources I used for inspiration, but in the end it was kind of a play-it-by-ear(mouth) adventure. 


The cupcakes were box mix, Duncan Hines knows where it's at for quick cupcakes anytime anywhere...that uh, has an oven. 
Some were frosted with canned chocolate frosting. (I looooove canned chocolate frosting. I know there's no real food in there, but it's delicious none the less.) The rest were covered with basic buttercream. The only differences: I use water instead of milk, and all shortening, not butter. I'm a decorating instructor and that's our go-to shelf stable frosting. (I know we're missing both the butter and the cream; so it goes.) I decorated the cupcakes using a a small portion of my epic sprinkle collection. I'm boarding on hoarder territory at this point. They were cute, nothing fancy, but delicious fun treats. Seriously, who doesn't like cupcakes?

A lot of fancy bakers out there file grievous complaints against boxed cakes, but in a pinch they were great and guests never seem to complain.  

Pinweels recipe(ish)
  • 2 - 10 in. tortillas
  • Approx. 1/2 lb. turkey lunch meat sliced thin
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Neufchatel veggie spread (recipe below)
  • Wax paper
Backbone pinwheels were just basic pinwheel sandwiches pieces, stacked vertically to resemble a backbone. It was a cute idea I read somewhere, but in the end, I think I'm the only one who knew why they were setup that way. 

  1. Lay tortillas on a flat surface, make sure they are good and pliable so they don't break/split when you're rolling.
  2. Smear veggie spread across entire tortilla, being sure to hit the outer edges so you can seal up the wraps.
  3. Add turkey across the surface, leaving about 1" - 1 1/2" on the outer edge, again so we can seal these puppies up.
  4. Sprinkle lettuce over the top of turkey.
  5. Roll 'em up good and tight. This is a skill I still need to work on. The tighter they are the prettier I think they look.
  6. Wrap the rolled log in wax paper tightly to keep it all together, and let rest in the fridge for 30+ minutes.
  7. Take out, remove wax paper, cut in 1" sections; this is tricky as well, the looser the roll, the bigger the sections will need to be so you don't just crush them.
  8. Stack vertically if you're going for the backbone look, or put them on some sort of fancy dinnerware, whatever your heart/stomach desires.
Neufchatel veggie spread
  • 1 8oz pkg Neufchatel softened
  • 1 pkg Italian seasoning dressing mix
  • 1 medium to large carrot
  • Additional spices to taste
  1. Grate carrot.
  2. Stir together the Neufchatel, dressing mix, and carrot shavings.
  3. Mix.
  4. Taste.
  5. Add spices until delicious.
  6. Enjoy.

Queso Bean Dip

Now I really feel ridiculous calling this one a recipe as this is something I've been mixing together since I was a kid, but for those of you not in the know, here goes:

  • 1 can refried beans, (I prefer the ones with jalapeno, yum.)
  • Some Velveeta cheese. Let's pretend I measure things in my kitchen and say...umm... 1/2 pound.
  • Some salsa. 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on taste.
  1. Seriously, just put the ingridients in a microwaveable bowl. 
  2. Nuke it for 1 1/2 minutes. 
  3. Stir.
  4. Repeat until cheese is melted.
  5. Add more salsa to taste.
  6. Dip it with some multigrain tortilla chips and feel the love. Cheesy cheesy love.
Spooky Booze Punch

The name came from nowhere, I just like to make stuff up sometimes. The basic recipe came from here. My changes were as follows:

  • 4 cups water/4 cups vodka. We're making grown up punch, no pussy-footin' around
  • 4 cups ginger ale = 4 cups Fresca on account of that's what I had in the house
The punch was a huge success. It was neon green and the taste was fruity but not crazy over the top sweet. Success for certain, and one to be repeated.

Getting into the good stuff, truffles.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Truffles
  • 1 lb. Ghiradelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 tsps coffee powder (I use the Mexican Nestlé powder, it is by far the best instant coffee I have ever had.)
  • 1 cup give or take, cocoa powder
  1. Finely chop the chocolate. If you choose to attempt this with your food processor, do at your own risk. Apparently chocolate is too viscous even solid for mine, and I burned out the motor. #$!*$!%*$#%&$
  2. Combine the chocolate, cream, and coffee powder over a low heat flame or double boiler, stirring often.
  3. Remove from heat as soon as chocolate is completely melted and ingredients are combined. Do not over stir.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 4+ hours, or freeze for 2.
  5. Remove from fridge, let stand at room temperature until pliable, 20-40 minutes.
  6. Scoop by generous teaspoon, or be lazy and do what I do.
  7. Dip your (clean & dry) hands in cocoa powder and roll, forming a ball, adding more cocoa powder  to your hands as needed.
  8. Set in lined pan, or place in small fluted baking cups for decoration. 
  9. Repeat. 
  10. Refrigerate until approximately 15 minutes prior to serving. Though they'll keep fine if left out for the evening's festivities.
This should yield about 40 truffles.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Credit where credit is due, this is where I got the original idea for these truffles, and I tweaked accordingly. I added sugar because these were too dark/bitter without it. Perhaps with the semi-sweet the original recipe called for this would not be an issue. I also omitted the salt since the butter, peanut butter, and peanut coating provide more than enough of that.
  • 12 oz dark chocolate -your choice here
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp salted butter cut up into tiny pieces
  • 3/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 c  sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c approximately chopped peanuts
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients over low heat or double boiler, stirring as needed, just until chocolate is melted and chocolate/peanut-butter is mixed well.
  2. Remove from heat. 
  3. Add vanilla.
  4. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate for 4+ hours, or freeze for 2.
  5. Scoop by generous teaspoon, or be lazy and do what I do.
  6. Make sure your hands are clean and very very dry. Roll into ball, these will be slightly sticky but that's a good thing here.
  7. Drop into chopped peanuts and roll/push about until completely coated.
  8. Set in lined pan, or place in small fluted baking cups for decoration.
  9. Repeat. 
  10. Refrigerate until approximately 15 minutes prior to serving. Though they'll keep fine if left out for the evening's festivities.
This should yield about 40 truffles as well. These recipes are easily halved for more manageable consumption.

Whew, well there you have it, the good the bad, the not so inventive: Halloween 2011. Next stop, Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Matcha-do about nothing

Disclaimer: Let me just start off by saying this is my first blog post, or attempt at blogging, in a very long time. It's not going to have spectacular formatting or writing, and yes, the whole thing is setup from a template. All of this will (hopefully) improve as time goes by.  But for now... 

Early last week I set out on an adventure...
Task: to create cupcakes for someone I knew very little about.
Challenge accepted.

My short checklist of what I knew about her:

  • She's a she
  • She's Chinese/Canadian (I think)
  • She's wicked brainy and on the nerdy side
  • She loves Japanese culture
  • She's a rather adventurous eater (My favorite kind!)

So after some quick soul (read: stomach) searching here's what I decided upon; green tea cupcakes, mandarin orange filling, and coconut buttercream frosting. Sounds easy, actually carrying out the tasks was another story.

To start I went in search of a green tea cake recipe, which turned out to be harder to find than I had predicted. I sifted through probably 50 recipes give or take that I didn't like for one reason or another.  However, I did quickly noticed a common theme, they all called for matcha (green tea powder I'm told), which I of course didn't know anything about.  I diligently made my trip to my local all things under the sun grocery store in search of this magic powder.
Asian aisle - nope.
Tea aisle - nope.
Asian aisle #2 that I randomly found - nope...
So I left the store empty handed; which is to say I bought all my other groceries but not the one thing I specifically went out of my way for.

Back to searching  through pages of recipes I settled on one that seemed decent enough. Then, of course, the day I was set out to start the actual baking I changed my mind completely and picked out a new one. But still this pesky issue of matcha ..., I would not be detered; to the internet! I found through a quick search that I could make (!) matcha by putting green tea into my coffee grinder and grinding the f*ck out of it. Seriously guys, this took forever.

Marjorie -1 
Ridiculously hard to find/non-existent green tea powder - 0

For reference, I took about 10 green tea bags, cut them open, and emptied the contents into my grinder. Grind, grind, griiiiiinnnnnnd. Check consistency, nope still solid, shake everything loose. Repeat. I'd say it took me about 7-8 solid minutes of grinding to get to what I would call a powder. This resulted in a little over a tablespoon of powder after being ground down.

And this is the cake recipe I finally decided upon.

Let me just say that this cake was quite, ummmmm, interesting, to  make. Even with all my other baking concoctions, when I'm doing a quick (cup)cake I still turn to a box mix a large portion of the time. This one was very time consuming amongst other issues. Luckily I decided to make the cake the night before so I wasn't pressed for time, and in the end but it was totally worth it. The cake smelled amazing going into the oven, and softly sweet coming out, the green tea added a really pleasant natural green hue to the cakes. I sadly am not familiar with sponge cake and over-baked these just a teensy bit; which is a catastrophic no-no in my book. I let it slide because I didn't have the supplies, energy or time to make a second batch, they weren't burnt after all, just a little more darker brown than I cared for. I let them cook over night covered and went back at them in the morning.

For the filling I went with an awesome mandarin orange marmalade that I stumbled across at the grocery store. It was delicious and bright orange which contrasted nicely with the soft green cakes; but a gigantic hassle to coerce through a decorating bag. The marmalade had long strings of candied orange peel that, though delicious, clogged my bismark tip completely. So I decided to go with a Wilton tip # 12 and some brute force to fill the cupcakes. I had to basically jam the tip through the admittedly rough skin of the cupcake and squeeze like mad to get anything to come out. Repeat, TWENTY. THREE. MORE. TIMES.

Finally, for the frosting, well, umm, you see, ... I didn't have a recipe. Much like the cake I looked at recipe after recipe of coconut buttercream and couldn't find one that I thought was right and quite a few of them had raw egg(s) in them; more than a little out of date I suppose. So I did what any level headed, mildly irate baker does, I winged (wung?) it with things I had in the house. (Yes, I do keep coconut milk in my cabinet, why do you ask?)  And let me tell you that this was the best decision I have ever made. The frosting was amazing and I can't wait to use it again and again and again...

Here's my recipe:

  • 1/2c butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2c pure vegetable shortening
  • 3tbsp coconut milk
  • 1tsp coconut extract
  • 5c confectioner sugar approx.

Add the butter, shortening, extract, and coconut milk in a large bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. I use my kitchen aid, but for those without this gift from the gods, you'll at least need a hand mixer. Add the sugar one cup at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. I used all five and got perfectly flavored, still slightly thin frosting. It was great for what I needed.

Now, if you're satisfied here, you're done, but if you're like me and always need to push things a bit farther, add a cup or so of shredded coconut to the mix for a fun texture and smidge of bonus flavor. Voilà, frosting magique!  I left the frosting white because I didn't want to add more color and thus detract away from the fun natural green and orange I had already. Plus it would have clashed with the polka dot cupcake wrappers ;)

I attempted to pipe this onto the cupcakes with my standard lazyman's cupcake tip #1M, but the frosting  was too thick to go on pretty from the shredded coconut, so again I changed tactics. I did my least favorite thing and begrudgingly frosted each cupcake with an angled spatula and my hands, as if it were the stone age or something.

Once the cupcakes were finished being frosted there was still something missing, they needed a pop of decoration, hrmmm... I decided to quick toast some coconut and sprinkled it over each cupcake, shaking loose the excess. After this I grabbed a can of mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained them, and added one piece of orange to the center of each cupcake laying flat, with the curve facing left. Magnifiqué!

Phew, done and done. Delivered them to a surprised and happy friend and delighted in the joy people receive from (surprise) cupcakes. That feeling, at that moment, throws any and all frustrations from the task out the window.

I apologize for the lack of pictures for this post, I hope to rectify that going forward, but I didn't have a camera handy for this one.