Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

 

There’s a couple of things I have come to learn (the hard way) about becoming an adult. Some of these things are awesomely cool, and others are wretchedly crappy.

Usually I notice these differences the more I hang out with other young adults like myself, whether these be friends or acquaintances. Or sometimes, I’ll learn them myself, which is always embarrassing, heartbreaking, annoying, or a delightful combination of all three.

Take for instance, my previous love for Seventeen magazine. A few years ago, I was harassing my mailman for my monthly issue, hoarding each copy like it was the Holy Bible and pouring over the flirting tips and makeup techniques like I was going to be quizzed.

But lately, when my issue comes in the mail (yes, they still come since I decided to stock up on issues a few years ago and will still be a subscriber at like, 25) I have like, no desire to read it.

Which is unheard of, since I am kind of like, obsessed with magazines.

Seriously, I hoard them. My mom hates it. Everyone thinks I’m weird. But what’s the harm in enjoying reading an August 2006 copy of Real Simple? Hello, it’s like you’re re-learning decorating tips and recipes you would have forgotten forever had you thrown it out back in August 2006.

She just doesn’t understand the complexities of magazine hoarding and appreciation.

But anyways, I was struck by the adult ton ‘o’bricks when I read my latest issue of Seventeen. Boy tips? No thanks, I have a boyfriend that I didn’t pick up with some dorky one-liner about our common history teacher in high school. Skin pointers? Last I checked, I was 20 years old. Shouldn’t I be in the market for some anti-aging cream or something? And as cute as the fashion is, I can’t get away with some of that stuff anymore. Graphic tees? God, I’m not in junior high and I definitely don’t want to look it.

The LAST thing I need is to look like one of those people who is trying to look like their daughter.

And in the city I live in, I am swarmed with that kinda crap.

If you’re 40, I don’t care if you have a sexy body or feel like you’re 20. Stop acting like you’re BFFs with your tween daughter, and please realize it’s not okay to borrow her clothes, use the word ‘hella’ (especially popular if you’re from Northern California) or be Facebook friends with all her friends.

It’s not right.

Here I am, only twenty years old and just discovering that Seventeen is no longer applicable to my increasingly adult-becoming life. You’re 40. Stop acting like you’re still kicking like you were in high school.

And then there’s my guilty-pleasure show, Degrassi. Yes, the acting is horrible and the plots are ridiculous. But there is something intoxicating about that show I cannot tear away from. I’m guilty of tuning in every Friday since 2001, and I can’t get enough.

Have you SEEN the previews for the new season? It looks intense.

And while people may judge that I’m now an adult and shouldn’t be watching teens battling virtually the same problems Seventeen covers in their magazine, I have to object.

Acting is different.

Plus, you grow emotional attachments to the characters.

Holly J is about to graduate, people. That’s ground-breaking.

And I can’t help but feel for these characters, sharing similar high school problems that I can only empathize with. Yeah, I was never shot and paralyzed like Jimmy, but it could happen…

Also, Degrassi has to be a good show since they totally created mega-stars. Jimmy=Drake. Darcy=girl from 90210. Mia=girl from Vampire Diaries. You can’t deny talent when it’s there, I guess.

Plus, if people want to scoff that I watch a bad Canadian teenage drama, I could always rebutt and ask them what happened on the last episode of Jersey Shore. Because bad acting aside, at least Degrassi has a plot-line you can follow, problems that are easy to relate to, and there are no drunk oompa-loompa girls obsessed with pickles.

So, yeah, I’m definitely going to still be the weird adult watching teenage soap dramas. No one said anything when moms were freaking out over the teenage romance in Twilight. Why is this any different (besides not being as creepy, obviously)?

I’m trying to hold onto my childhood while I still can.

Childhood: where playing with Barbies was still socially acceptable; the word ‘calories’ just sounded like some scientific term that was no cause for concern; where you could order Happy Meals and the servers wouldn’t frown; and where you could drink endless cherry Cokes as your way to get an innocent sugar high.

I may be young to many, which I am, but if I can, I’m going to hold on to every bit of childhood I still can without coming off as creepy, pathetic or weird. Degrassi may barely pass the bill on acceptable, but the whole drinking cherry Cokes part is definitely allowable. And in most cases, recommended.

So I created a yummy cherry cola cupcake that brings back the innocent, fun-loving memories of childhood without anyone judging you for your age and your futile attempt to be young again (I’m talking about you, 40 year old moms).

I had previously made some cupcakes with the same title (and essentially the same concept) but I wanted to revisit the same concept with an even more intense, delicious flavor and improve on an oldie-but-goodie classic.

Thus, this version of chocolate cherry cola cupcakes was born, and I have to say, these are even better–yes, it’s possible. To enhance the cherry flavor, I skipped the chopped cherries and cherry juice and used cherry jello–a good idea, since while researching, I noticed many people had issues with the lack of cherry flavor in some recipes. And I altered the frosting to a yummy cherry buttercream, a difference from the tame vanilla in the previous recipe. Also, these are dipped in melted chocolate and topped with a cherry, a delightful presentation that only looks hard to make.

Ready to sink your teeth into childhood?

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes (Round 2)

1 box chocolate cake mix (you do NOT need other ingredients–you’re only using the can of cola!)
1 can Coke or favorite dark cola
Half of one small box cherry jello powder
2 small jars maraschino cherries
Baker’s Dipping Chocolate (what I used–worked wonderfully, with no leftovers) or 1/2 bag chocolate candy melts
Cherry buttercream (recipe and ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix and can of cola–NOTHING ELSE. The cola will provide all the moisture in place of the eggs, oil and water. Beat about 2 minutes or until smooth. Stir in half of the cherry jello, and combine until blended. Batter may be reddish in color–that’s fine. If you want less cherry flavor, use less powder–use your taste preferences as a guideline. Portion evenly into muffin cups and bake, approximately 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Cherry Buttercream

2/3 cup butter, softened
3 tsp maraschino cherry juice
Approximately 4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 small jar finely chopped maraschino cherries

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and cherry juice until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until stiff and spreadable. Beat in chopped cherries for 1 minute until well blended. If you’re piping your frosting on, make sure your cherries are very finely chopped–you don’t want a cherry piece to clog your piping tip 🙂
2. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Place frosted cupcakes in freezer for about 30 mins to an hour or until nice and chilled and frosting is hardened (do NOT freeze them completely, though!)
3. Prepare dipping chocolate or candy melts according to package directions. Gently dip the tops of your chilled frosted cupcakes into the melted chocolate, twist your wrist to coat tops of cupcakes completely. Quickly and carefully press a maraschino cherry onto the tops of the melted chocolate and allow chocolate to harden. Store covered in fridge.

These taste just like a chocolate covered cherry, another awesome candy reminiscent of childhood.

And no one will remind you of the calories involved in eating this cupcake.

In fact, I highly suggest you lick the batter off the beaters, just like mom used to let you when she was baking cakes.

And then go watch Degrassi, because I swear it’s more compelling than Jersey Shore and it needs more publicity.

Have a great day!

xo, Hayley

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