Monday, April 28, 2008

Sugar's M&M Cupcake

Soon after I graduated from college, I joined a volunteer organization called Volunteer Fairfax. Through it, I occasionally volunteered to cook for the families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families with children receiving medical treatment at a nearby medical facility. For those families needing a place to stay during the treatments (could be days, weeks, or months), the House provides lodging and home-cooked meals. In return, the House asks for a small donation, but if that's not possible, the stay is free. I thought volunteering to cook was for a good cause and worthy of my time.

It had been a while since I volunteered, but I decided to sign up a couple of weeks ago and this past weekend, I made Sugar's M&M Cupcakes (I totally just made that name up). Things have changed a bit though. Instead of the team captain buying all the groceries (team captains used to receive a $15 allowance to buy supplies) and setting the menu, the team members are responsible to bring their own ingredients needed to complete their dish. The House has lots canned goods, seasonings, baking supplies, etc; however, since I hadn't been there in a long time, I wasn't sure what would be available. At the end, I opted to bring nearly all the ingredients I needed. Next time, if I decide to volunteer again, I will probably just use whatever is already in the kitchen.

I blogged about Bakerella before. Her ideas are ingenious, even Martha thinks so! I found this recipe on her blog. It's a cake mix enhanced recipe. I just love utilizing the readily available cake mixes and add extras to make them my own. Why start from scratch?

The cupcakes turned out REALLY well. The other volunteers complemented on how professional-looking they were and that I could totally sell them. :) Another volunteer and I splited one and we both agreed that it was moist and while the icing was sweet, the cake wasn't, so it provided a nice balance. Bakerella made these cupcakes for Valentine's Day and she decorated them using conversation hearts. I used peanut M&Ms instead. I am so proud of them and now I am in the groove for making more cupcakes in the near future!

I hope these chocolate cupcakes cheered up the families!

Rich Chocolate Cake
- 1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. chocolate cake mix
- 1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant chocolate pudding
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cupcake pans with baking cups.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.
4. Mix 2 minutes on medium speed.
5. Increase speed to medium-high; mix 3 minutes.
6. Stir in chocolate chips.
7. Spoon into cupcake pans.
8. Bake at 350 for around 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and cool.

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1b. 10X powdered sugar
1-3 teaspoons milk, half and half or cream

1. Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla with a mixer until smooth.
2. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
3. If you want it a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.

Sugar Tips
- Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the baking cups for size consistency.
- Use a pastry decoration bag and tip to pipe frosting onto cupcakes. The presentation looks cleaner and more professional.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool COMPLETELY before piping on the frosting. Mine were still a bit warm (time constraint; we had to be out by a certain time) and the icing lost its swirl due to the heat.

5 comments:

  1. good for you for volunteering, there is a ronald mcdonald's house next to the children's hospital here as well.

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  2. whatever, it's the whole healthcare industry that needs to get dismantled and rebuilt. why in the world should volunteers put time in for stuff like this while doctors and insurance companies are overcharging and lining their wallets with shitloads of money?

    I'll stick with my library cleanings and pet adoption volunteer gigs.

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  3. I like pet adoption too, it makes me happy when pets get adopted. We should do it again soon.

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  4. Your cupcakes look great! I'm going to have to try this recipe!!! Adding the chocolate pudding should help with the dryness I ussually dislike in regular chocolate cake mixes!

    ReplyDelete