How To Cheat At Fancy Cupcakes!!

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I love to cook, casseroles, stews, that great new ethnic recipe. I will try any recipe once. Except turtle soup. I love food and introducing my family to  new foods. But baking…. Baking. Ugh. The recipes are so precise, one little oopsie doodle and you have  peanut butter bricks or banana soup loaf. I can whip up a meal of Gordon Ramsay’s dreams but give me a baking challenge and my knees quiver.

That’s where Betty Crocker and I get along so well. With her fantastic cake mixes and frostings and my imagination, my cupcakes are now one of my most requested creations!! And I LOVE making them. They are my canvas in the kitchen!

I start by thinking about the flavour I want, working with the theme of the occasion.  Beach theme, Pina Colada Cupcakes make you feel like you are lounging in the sand.  Princess Party, Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes are a pink dream! The favourite at our house are the Buried Treasure Cupcakes, created for my youngest sons third birthday, which had a pirate theme. They are a chocolate cupcake with a PB cup at the bottom and PB icing. Shut the front door, right?? And they were as good as they sound. You can combine whatever flavours you like and its as simple as a cake mix, a tub of frosting and a package of cream cheese.

To create my Buried Treasure Cupcakes I started with a chocolate cake mix by Betty Crocker, I find them the most affordable (usually about $1.97 a box) and the best quality. I knew my son loved the combo of chocolate and peanut butter (who doesn’t?) and wanted a pirate party (also, who doesn’t?) that’s how the cupcake came to fruition.

To start, I place my cupcake papers in my cupcake/ muffin tin and place a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the bottom of each paper (genius, I know). Michael’s has a wide variety of colours, themes and sizes of cupcake papers and decorations varying in prices. Then I just prepared the cake mix according to directions, scooped some into each paper (about 1/3 full) and then baked them according to directions as well.

Once they are baked, they need to be cooled before they can be frosted. The frosting is the key to my yummy cupcakes. I, personally,do not care for frosting. I find it way too sweet. So I thought about how I could cut down on the sweetness, and I came up with cream cheese. It would cut back on the sweetness and ensure a creamy texture (not to mention make a bigger batch of frosting).

I always choose Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting (usually $1.97) and then, using my hand mixer, blend the cream cheese in. Then, depending on what flavour I want the frosting to be, I add in my flavuoring. For this particular cup cake it was about 2 tbsp of smooth peanut butter. However, for my Lemon Blubbery Cupcakes, I used lemon extract and for my Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes I use about 2tbsp of strawberry puree. The possibilities are endless, really.

I then load the frosting mixture into a large freezer bag and store it in the refrigerator until the cupcakes are completely cooled. When they are ready to frost, simply snip the corner of the freezer bag off and go to town!!!!

One of my favourite parts about the cupcakes are deciding what to garnish them with. Candy, edible flowers, sprinkles…. So many options. For the Buried Treasure Cupcake, I chose mini Reese’s PB Cups, and put a dollop of frosting on them as to make them appear as mini cupcakes.

Ta da!!! Done. It took next to no effort ( that’s my style) , very little $$ (also my style) and they looked like they came straight from the bake shop!!!

That, my friends, is how to cheat at fancy cupcakes.
Yours Sweetly,
Natalee Poll

My name is Natalee, I am a stay at home mom of two active boys, Keghan and Finn and wife to Eric, a paramedic and volunteer firefighter.
Keghan is a crazy haired ten year old whose life consists of hockey, hockey, Pokemon, hockey, Lego. Finn is a on the go three year old whose life consists of Keghan, hockey, Keghan, Pokemon, Lego.
Between hockey practice, games, hubby’s shift work and sheer insanity I LOVE creating. I do a little bit of everything…. Painting (oil, acrylics, water colour), wood craft, card making, scrapbooking, cupcake making, photography…. You name it, I have tried it.
Spending time with my family doing out of the norm and creative things is my passion!!!

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  1. now those are cupcakes I can make! :)

  2. It never even occur to me to jazz up store bought frosting before. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. I’m afraid if I make the Buried Treasure cupcakes my family will be asking me for them everyday! They will be an instant favorite around here.

  4. What a great way to fancy up cupcakes! I will be trying your icing suggestions. Thanks.

  5. I absolutely LOVE the idea of blending cream cheese icing with cream cheese! I am so going to be giving this a try!

  6. Those cupcakes look delicious. Love the Icing tip.
    So simple

  7. great idea they look so good

  8. This is what I do as well! No one ever knows that they aren’t ‘homemade’

  9. i wish i seen this last week, looks great

  10. Great tips! Thank you for sharing! Very easy

  11. Cream cheese icing is definitely the way to go! I never thought about flavoring my icing before – thanks for the tip!

  12. Very creative! I like the one in the top left picture with the cookie in it.

  13. Thanks for the tips ..looks like something i can do

  14. These are so cute, I will have to use your suggestions for my daughters next birthday party

  15. Laura Jacobson says:

    Oh the frosting sounds so good! I too dont like it too sweet, so I will have to try this! How much cream cheese do you add to 1 of the Betty Crockers frostings?

  16. Cheyenne P says:

    I know what I’m doing for my daughter’s birthday now! :D Thanks so much for the post!

  17. Too crazy that I read this recipe today. I actually have mini reeses pb cups in my freezer and a cake mix and tub of cream cheese frosting too!

  18. Anne Taylor says:

    These are easy peasy cupcakes! I can make them! lol

  19. Brimming with new ideas now! Thanks!

  20. Lori Bazan says:

    Sign me up for the frosting tip of adding cream cheese… doing this!

  21. Tammy Dalley says:

    I love cupcakes! Simple and delicious !! Thanks for sharing,and adding Cream cheese sounds great to me. YUM

  22. Cheryl (@loucheryl) says:

    I would love to make these cupcakes for my son’s birthday party!

  23. Oh my goodness..sounds so yummy, I love that you put reese cups in the bottom..note to self buy some next grocery trip and the cream cheese icing that you add flavour..thanks a bunch.

  24. They are so pretty!

  25. Great tips!

  26. Victoria Ess says:

    Those ideas are fantastic!!! I’m saving every one of them — I often make cupcakes as a last minute dessert to bring to a party, and these ideas are perfect for changing it up!

  27. I like a little shortcut in the baking department. I haven’t gotten fancy on our cupcakes yet, I am still old school and using a butter knife for the frosting. You make it very easy and tempting to try it out. Thinking I will surprise the little ones and have them help with the frosting

  28. Lynda Cook says:

    I’m so with you on this topic I can cook up a whole meal, but when it comes to baking that’s a different story, I love Betty Crocker cake mixes too, you can do so much to make it your own creations, if it wasn’t for the cake mixes there would be no desserts in this household lol


  1. […] some fancy cupcakes for desert (no prior skills required for these […]

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