Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes Pt. Deux–AND A VIDEO!

Everyone has their “thing.”

You know–a signature laugh, a signature walk, a signature lip color, a signature attitude… and yes, everyone has a signature.

I don’t really know what mine is.

In high school, it was my hair. I was notoriously known for my rainbow colored locks, amazing classmates left and right with my mermaid mane or my neon rainbow ‘do.

Secretly, my hackles rose a little when I’d spot an underclassman dye their hair hot pink or something… Was someone stealing my thunder?! Not that I owned the rights to dyeing ones hair crazy colors… but come on. My hair was ass-kicking, hair-murdering AWESOME. No lame pink streak could steal my thunder, even if that poor girl thought so.

My turquoise hair murdered her ass.

And I was fine with it.

But then that whole thing called ‘responsibility’ kicked in and I had to dye it normal for a job (read: boring). I had to forcefully give up my signature hair in favor of dress pants and paychecks, which, minus the dress pants part, was kind of worth it.

I was left to fend for a new identity, one which people could recognize me without my purple hair.

It became baking cupcakes.

Even without the cupcake tattoo proudly emblazoned on my right calf, I’m the Cupcake Queen. I reign supreme on these uncharted Internet waters, catching passersby in my web with my intriguing recipes and weird, irrelevant stories. I own these petite cakes!

And who would have thought one single cupcake recipe would dominate my cupcake life, both internet-wise and personal?! My Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes.

Ever since they graced the earth this past January, they’ve been the (proud) talk of the town ’round these parts. They’re the most viewed page on my blog, they’re consistently mentioned around my house as being craved, and they’re always reliable in impressing the hell out of family, friends, and fans.

I’m gonna have to call it here and now: my Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes are my signature. They’re my thing. And I couldn’t be happier.

Because of their immense (and rightful) popularity, it made complete sense to make them for my next video blog. What better way to make more friends by making them cupcakes… made of rainbows… with rainbow frosting… and sprinkles?

Without further adieu, I present to you, my pride and joy and signature cupcake!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugf8jctM0yY]

Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup water
1 small box sugar free/fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
Wilton gel food colors in Lemon Yellow, Kelly Green, Royal Blue and Violet, as well as McCormick’s Red liquid food coloring
Rainbow Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 muffin pan with paper liners, set aside. (Note: this recipe, because of the manipulation of the batter, generally yields about 12 cupcakes. Feel free to double the recipe separately, as not to compromise the colors of the batter)
2. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, egg whites, applesauce, and water until combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla pudding mix until blended. As best as you can, evenly divide batter among five separate bowls. (Note: When I originally made this recipe, I stupidly forgot orange! If you’re an orange freak, feel free to add it in and divide your batter among six bowls, or substitute out another color for the orange).

3. Color each bowl of batter a different color, using your gel food colorings. I like using a liquid red coloring because it’s much easier to add to enhance the color as opposed to the gel colorings, but use what you have on hand. For the gel colors, I generally use about the tip of a butter knife’s worth of coloring; it’s highly concentrated, so that’s usually enough for a small amount of batter. Tint each color to your desired shade (I like mine nice and bright!) and set aside.
4. Now begin spooning your batter into your muffin cups one color at a time. Start with a small teaspoon or cereal spoonful of purple batter and plop it into the bottom of the liner, spreading to cover the bottom if necessary. Top with a spoonful of blue, then a spoonful of green, then a spoonful of yellow, then a spoonful of red for last. **The key here is to LAYER the colored batter. DO NOT swirl or marble it–keep it layered! It’s okay if the bottom colors peek through; it’ll make for a nice kaleidoscopic effect once it’s baked :) You can also experiment with doing a “reverse rainbow” by starting with red on the bottom and working your way backwards, like I did.
5. Once your cupcake liners are filled, bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Set aside to cool completely.

Amazing Rainbow Frosting

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tsp milk
About 5 cups powdered sugar
Wilton food gel colors in Lemon Yellow, Teal and Pink

1. Start by preparing your frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and vanilla extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until a paste forms. Add milk one teaspoon at a time until a nice, soft but spreadable consistency is reached. Divide your frosting evenly among three small bowls.
2. Tint each bowl a different color, as with the cake batter. Make one bowl a bright teal, another a hot pink, and the last, a nice and bright yellow.
3. Prep you frosting bag with your favorite tip (I’m using an open star tip; my fave). Begin spooning frosting into your piping bag, alternating colors side by side until your bag is full (e.g., start with blue, then add pink, then yellow, trying to smash them all together–doesn’t have to look perfect, just make sure you alternate the colors so they touch together).

**When you first pipe your frosting out, it may be a solid color (of the first color you put in the bag). Once you keep piping, the other colors will come through and create the rainbow effect you want!**
4. Pipe your frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Top with rainbow sprinkles. Impress the hell out of your friends and family.

While these may look hard, they’re incredibly easy to make, if not a little labor intensive. No worries–they’re worth the work because they’re so uniquely beautiful and totally amazing, hence the name.

You NEED to make these! Pretty please promise you will :)

Have an amazing day–thanks for watching!!

xo, Hayley

Mocha Almond Fudge Brownies

 

Being unemployed isn’t as cool as I thought it’d be.

(Not that I thought having zero income, fighting EDD for a sad $54 a week, and gaining weight would be cool. Spoiler alert: it’s not.)

Yeah, I was kind of kind of looking forward to having some time to laze around and bake goodies and not have to get dressed to be bossed around… and that made me happy for about, oh, ONE DAY.

Being a housewife isn’t fun unless you’re: a) an actual WIFE with an actual HUSBAND who makes actual MONEY to support you being an actual HOUSEWIFE; b) on the TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, because everyone knows those ladies aren’t really housewives…and their husbands may not make as much as they do…but jeez, at least they’re getting paid to pretend to be a housewife. The only “payment” I’m receiving is a couple more pounds around my waistline and a couple hundred calories burned by vacuuming my house like a mad-woman; and c) you have lots of money to spend on frivolous things like costume jewelry from Forever 21, cookie cutters at Crate & Barrel and expensive Christmas presents for your super-hot boyfriend.

SO. NOT. THE CASE.

Instead, I’m at home, pretending I am pretending I’m a housewife on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills watching them spend more money on a simple dinner out than I received in a two-week check when I was working. I’m also frantically looking for jobs, impressing potential employers with my dazzling personality, interview-ready answers and adorable disposition when given the chance… which sadly, isn’t as frequently as I’d like.

So in these “bummer times” as I like to call them, I’ve learned some small tricks that are helping me (slightly) stay sane and happy amid the current storm-front of crap.

It’s OK to spend $10 on a nail polish you really like, then find out Hard Candy makes it for cheaper. It was really saddening to see I could have saved $5, but who knows–maybe the designer nail polish has magical powers built into the varnish that will make me a queen or something.

It’s OK to judge people being interviewed who show up in flip flops. While waiting for my interviewer, I spotted a girl leaving her interview wearing FLIP FLOPS. Keep in mind we were NOT applying for jobs at the community pool as life-guards or as pretend California models at Hollister. It was for a restaurant. And she was wearing flip flops. And now you know why I hate people.

It’s OK to think that perpetually cleaning your house is burning more calories than it probably is. Simple math: Eat an entire bag of tortilla chips+spend 25 minutes vacuuming the thick, shag carpet of dog hair around my house =burning 5,247 calories. Right?

It’s OK to have lazy days… after all, you aren’t unemployed to not enjoy one. I know, I know. But between being a full-time student neglecting her math homework to looking for work to being a full-fledged baking superstar, I find it justifiable to spend a day off or two walking around in yoga pants, talking in a British accent and doing nothing but watch Jerry Springer is perfectly okay. It balances the sanity, people.

It’s OK to be slightly delusional, if not a lot hopeful, your one single baking video will someone make it into the hands of Food Network within the next 5 minutes and you’ll become rich and famous instantaneously. YouTube is huge, as if you didn’t know. And who knows? Maybe Susie Fogelson and Bobby Flay are trolling the likes of YouTube and happen upon my cooking video and are like, “oh my god, who’s that girl? She’s positively scrumptious. Let’s sign her on a five million dollar contract to do cooking demos. And we’ll buy her a hot pink Kitchenaid mixer just cause we’re feeling generous.” Never say never!

I just hope I can fit them into my busy schedule of watching Jerry (and being thankful for all my teeth, all my dignity and, really, all my money) and making these delectable brownies.

I came up with the idea of making mocha almond fudge brownies after I bought a half pint of mocha almond fudge ice cream at the store a few weeks ago. I loooove the ice cream–so rich, decadent and yummy, and these brownies are no exception! Positively scrumptious, I may add.

I need to put a disclaimer on these, simply because while they’re easy to make, it is IMPOSSIBLY HARD to resist eating the damn bowl of coffee frosting and keeping your fingers away from the toasted almonds. I don’t even like coffee all too much, yet I was shoveling this frosting back like someone was paying me to do it (and YES, I will HAPPILY do this for money, if anyone’s wondering…)

Mocha Almond Fudge Brownies

1 box fudge-brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
2 Tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
About 4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup almonds, toasted (I had slivered on hand, but chopped or diced would work–just not whole)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray; set aside.
2. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Stir in ONE teaspoon of instant coffee granules and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan and bake according to the box, about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Once cooled, cut brownies into squares and set onto a platter or plate while you prepare your frosting. This makes them easier to frost rather than while they’re in the pan.
3. Pour the 1/4 cup of milk into a glass measuring cup and microwave for about 40 seconds or until hot and boiling. Immediately stir in the remaining 2 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules until they dissolve. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together your softened butter and the 1/2 tsp of almond extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Pour in HALF of the milk mixture and beat to combine. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, up to 2 cups. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat to combine. Continue gradually adding the remaining powdered sugar until a nice frosting consistency is reached.
5. Pipe frosting onto cooled brownie squares, just as you’d do a cupcake. Top with toasted almonds and store covered in the fridge…if they’ll make it that long.

Holy Jamoca, these are good. They remind me of a chewier, gooier, and richer version of its addictive ice cream counterpart (though no less addictive).

Needless to say, I think I’m a genius. And I think I should be getting a call from someone rich and famous anytime now to offer me a position as a full-time genius by rewarding me with lots of cash, lots of fancy cars, and that glorious (sexy, may I say) hot pink Kitchenaid mixer.

This week will be FULL of awesome posts, so keep your eyes peeled for those and the new video which we begin filming tomorrow! So excited.

Happy Tuesday!

xo, Hayley

Trick or Treat Candy Bark

As I’ve briefly mentioned before, I have a serious irrational fear of smelling bad.

Due to this odd fear and a minor humiliation for such things, I haven’t mentioned this to the general public; instead preferring to keep it hush-hush among myself, my family, and my boyfriend. They’ve all been aware of my smelling problems, dating back to when I was just a wee little girl.

Long ago, when I seemed to survive on Happy Meals alone, I would be soexcited to get my Happy Meal toy with purchase. But before I had the chance to play with it or experience some spontaneous, rousing toy-playing, I had to smell it.

Why?

Because for some weird reason, Happy Meal toys smell freaking weird.

Like sweaty french fries. Or weird cheese that had been rubbed on someone’s feet.

Just… weirdness. I did not like it.

So I had my parents throw Happy Meal Barbie in the dishwasher. Clean toy+no cheesy feet smell=problem solved. Commence playing.

As I got older, I began to hone in on my smelling know-how and became keen on easily identifying what certain things smelled like… even if it didn’t make sense to anyone else but myself. Like the one time my family and I went to a furniture store and I proclaimed it smelled like eggs, Elmer’s glue and mayonnaise (swear by it). Or the time I smelled my best friend’s ear drops and suggested they smell like the word ‘mute‘. Crazy? No denying that. But after we spent 10 straight minutes laughing and crying, she said “you’re right.”

See? Obviously the scent-guru.

And as I got even older, I developed serious issues with how I smell.

Not that I smell bad. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I always smell good. Mainly because I have that irrational fear of smelling bad.

You know those people who are completely oblivious to their own stench? Yeah, I’m not one of them.

After catching an impolite whiff of someone in my sophomore PE class smelling like nacho cheese and chicken noodle soup, I decided I would be my own smelly advocate, ensuring I always smelled delicious, 24/7, no questions asked.

This has become quite a laborious task, as every couple hours I check myself in the bathroom for certain smells I would not like to be identified with. And I spritz myself with body spray as necessary. (Yes, of course I carry body spray on my person at ALL TIMES. How nice of you to ask).

A few days ago, my American Lit classroom smelled undeniably like spaghetti and ass. Since I was wearing a chiffon dress (and everyone knows chiffon absorbs smells… maybe… I don’t know) I became absurdly paranoid about smelling like spaghetti and ass. I mean, smelling like spaghetti alone would be awful. But then it smelled like butt. The two combined were disgusting, and there I was, sitting in the middle of class, smelling myself as discreetly as possible, as I did not want ANYONE to associate that smell with ME.

How. Gross.

So I sprayed myself. Secretly, of course. And surrounded my person with delicious smells like flowers and unicorns and happy things completely irrelevant to spaghetti and ass.

CRISIS AVERTED.

And I lived happily ever after, spritzing myself throughout the day, relishing in my own smell-goodyness.

Speaking of smelling good, today I went shopping at the Dollar Tree with my sister and mom, and I came across some candy corn scented candles. And candles that smelled like chocolate. I mean, wtf, how cool, right?!

So right then and there, among yummy treat candles and bags of candy (all for a dolla, holla!) I was inspired to make some candy bark because that’s what people who are inspired in Dollar stores do.

I’d originally come across a picture for some candy-bar bark on Pinterest, my new obsession, and by visuals-only, decided to create it. The picture had lots of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness, and who wouldn’t want that?! So I made it. And it’s delicious. And because I was thinking not only in terms of flavor, but in terms of smells as well, it smells awesome, too. Bonus, obviously.

Trick or Treat Candy Bark *inspired by a picture on Pinterest

1 bag Milk Chocolate candy melts
1/4 bag White Chocolate candy melts
About 8 fun-size Butterfinger candy bars, roughly chopped
About 8 fun-size packages Peanut M&M’s
About 1 cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, roughly chopped
About 1/2 cup candy corn

1. Cover a baking sheet with foil; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, prepare your milk chocolate candy melts according to package directions, until nice and melty. Spread onto your foil-lined baking sheet in a thin, even layer, spreading to your desired thickness (I went thinner since it’s piled with candy).
3. Immediately sprinkle melted chocolate layer with your chopped Reese’s, chopped Butterfingers, M&M’s, and candy corns, gently pressing some of the larger pieces into the bark to better adhere. Place the baking sheet into the fridge to chill and harden, for about 15 minutes.
4. Once bark is hardened, prepare your white chocolate candy melts according to package directions in a small bowl. Spoon melted white candy into a sandwich-sized baggy, seal tightly, and snip off the corner of one side of the baggy. Remove bark from fridge and drizzle bark with melted white chocolate. Place bark back into the fridge to harden white chocolate, about 10-15 minutes. Remove bark from fridge and carefully break into pieces. Store airtight.

The smell of chocolate, peanut butter and candy is quintessential to Halloween, methinks, and this bark is no exception. Delish!

Plus, it’d be so cute tied up in cellophane bags and handed out to teachers, coworkers, friends, or as favors at a Halloween party since it’s such a cinch to make.

Oh, and if you don’t already have a Pinterest, I HIGHLY recommend you get your booty on board. Stuff’s addicting, but so inspirational and fun! Add me!

And! for those of you who have seen my video (and I’ve received some awesome feedback–thank you!!) there will be ANOTHER video posted this week!! I had so much fun making it, have had so many great compliments, and have so many ideas for another! Keep your eyes peeled :)

Happy Sunday!

xo, Hayley

Silly Monster Cupcake Toppers

I have issues with eye contact.

I think I always have.

There’s just something eerie and not-okay about staring someone down through their eyeballs.

Eyeballs are very vulnerable parts of our body, susceptible of unnecessary poking from mascara wands, jabbing from eyeglass legs, hidden pockets for pesky, hard-to-remove stray eyelashes, and apparently, metaphorical gateways to our soul.

I’m not okay with someone staring them down.

Have you ever talked to someone who didn’t mind molesting your eyes with theirs? Awwwwkward.

I saw a new doctor a few days ago about some pesky kinda-headaches-kinda-migraines I’d been having. In order to evaluate what I was truly experiencing, she asked me a serious of symptoms questions to gauge the diagnosis. And as I rattled off my signs, she STARED INTO MY EYES. And as she explained my diagnosis she STARED INTO MY EYES.

I wanted so badly to turn away… to look at the cartoon drawing of a heart and wish I was slip-and-sliding down an artery rather than being intently watched by this doctor.

I swear I didn’t make anything up! Now can you stop penetrating my soul with your pupils, thank you.

And then there are those stare-y people.

I get it. Sometimes, someone walks into a room and no matter the reason, you’re transfixed by them. They don’t even have to look or smell nice; in fact, they can be quite hideous or perhaps they have Sasquatch legs and they’re wearing a dress and you’re analyzing each thick black stubble wondering why the hell they thought it was okay to unfriend their razor.

Either way, you stare. Hopefully for not an extended period of time, but some time regardless. And then you realize, “wow, I’ve been staring at this girl’s ugly hair-ass legs for too long, why am I semi-psychotic?” and you go back to reading your book/judging new people/pondering your cosmic significance.

But conversely, sometimes you’re the object of someone’s visual attention. And they DON’T. STOP. STARING. And you’re like, seriously, I shaved my legs, I don’t smell like spaghetti, and I am 99.9% sure there’s no spinach in my teeth/toilet paper on my shoe/skirt tucked into my panties so WHY ARE THEY STARING?!

I don’t know the answer. I was hoping you knew, ’cause frankly these folks freak me out.

A few days ago I was at school and was the apparent subject of someone’s attention. She kept staring at me, to the point where I’d even subtly look up to acknowledge her staring and kind of make a disapproving face to let her know she’s annoying and this is not okay. I also briefly considering telling her the old “take a picture, it’ll last longer” line but then I considered the pros and cons of her having a picture of me and found there were no pros, all cons so I stayed quiet and raised my eyebrows and silently judged her and her lack of visual manners.

Maybe I’m truly some fascinating specimen and am unaware of my visually stimulating powers but sheesh, can you tear your eyes away for a second? It was like she was psycho-analyzing the way I ate my pretzel bits and I was, quite frankly, kind of worried that based on my chewing technique, she may have dug up some weird part of my past or something.

Awesome. So now this weird staring girl knows like, my whole childhood history based on how I chew my pretzel bits. I shouldn’t have freaked, but I did. I punched her in her staring face.

Just kidding.

I left for class and was glad I never had to be seen by her again.

Some poor new victim probably sat down in my exact chair, becoming her eyeballs’ new vantage point.

Poor new girl.

Anyways, I made these cupcakes for last year’s Halloween and I loved them so much. I had a brief moment of “oh, Hayley, you’re so damn clever and fascinating.” But now that my skills have vastly improved, I see what I could do differently to make these even cuter… and to make your life even easier.

Originally, I used green-tinted frosting to completely coat a large marshmallow. In my (professional) opinion I think it’d be easier and more consistent if you just dipped your marshmallows in green candy melts, allowed them to partially dry, and then stick your eyeball sprinkles on. MUUCH easier than rotating a marshmallow around on a toothpick while you literally brush on icing!

However, you can do these however you wish. I promise I won’t watch you from afar and judge you.

Silly Monster Cupcake Toppers

24 baked and cooled cupcakes
Homemade buttercream or 2 cans vanilla frosting, tinted in the color of your choice (I did half purple, half orange)
24 large marshmallows
1 bag green candy melts
Eyeball sprinkles
Bone sprinkles
Black shimmer gel tube
Black sanding sugar

1. Frost cupcakes with your pre-made buttercream or your canned frosting in the colors of your choice. Roll sides of cupcakes in black sanding sugar, or another Halloween-type sprinkle/sugar. Set aside.
2. Prepare green candy melts according to package directions. Stick a toothpick into the bottom of each marshmallow and carefully dip them into the melted candy, coating it evenly and completely. Allow excess to drip off. While candy is hardening but still kind of damp, attach two eyeball sprinkles on the center of each marshmallow. Carefully attach bone sprinkles into the side of each marshmallow, pressing just slightly to adhere to the sides.
3. After candy melts have hardened, use your black shimmer gel (or regular black icing) to pipe hair on the tops of each marshmallow. You could also dip the tops of their “heads” in black candy melts after the green has dried, if that’s easier for you.
4. Carefully spear the center of each cupcake with your marshmallow monster.

Impress your friends. Let them stare, and possibly, take a picture to last longer. You’re welcome.

Have a happy day!

xo, Hayley

Chai Spice Cupcakes AND A VIDEO!

It was only a few years ago that I discovered what I truly sound like on camera.

Prior to this, the only on-camera footage I had was of me as a child… irrelevant evidence against my knowledge.

My best friend, Katrina, and I began making dorky home-movies on her dad’s video camera, and, it was then that I heard my voice for really, the “first” time.

After watching our play-by-plays on the camera’s tiny screen and dialogue began, I wondered to myself, “who’s the drag queen talking in the background?” Cut to me, center focus in the lens, and it’s me with the drag queen voice.

I-begyapardon WHAAAT?! I have a drag queen voice?! No way!

Way.

Because as filming continued for years, my voice did not change. Its pitch and tones ranged, of course, but the main sound stayed the same: raspy, deep, and not at all “girly.” The Biebs has a girlier voice than I do. That’s uncalled for.

It’s not like having a raspy voice is a bad thing; lots of singers have raspy voices (Amy Winehouse did, Adele does, Christina Aguilera…kinda, okay not really). It’s not like I’m the only girl on planet earth with a deep voice.

…Right?

Plus, my raspy voice has come in hand in making weird manly voices for friends as a prank or joke, or avoiding class participation when I’m sick since my voice is the first thing to go when I catch a cold.

And when it wavers back, I enjoy sounding like an adolescent boy, squeaking and squawking. It’s cute, I swear.

But finally I had to come to terms with my voice. It’s not all bad. I could have no voice, and that would really stink. Or I could have a high-pitched helium voice that makes me sound perpetually happy.

On a random note, I wish I could hear those helium-voice people deliver bad news. I just cannot seem to wrap my mind around the idea that they’ve probably told someone off, used the lord’s name in vain or broke up with someone. I feel like those people are only capable of saying really nice things, as if rainbows and unicorns shoot out from their vocal chords whenever they open their mouths.

Weird? Okay. But don’t tell me you haven’t thought the same thing (maybe minus the rainbows and unicorns part).

Anyway, I decided it was time for me to make it big and become famous and celebrity-chef status and whatnot so I recruited my boyfriend to make me a cooking video… with very little bribery, he agreed! Plus, it was a chance for him to use his camera and exercise his Photoshop/After Effects talents. A win-win, obv.

I’m pleased to present to you my first-ever cooking video blog! Try not to make too much fun of me as my ego is already greatly inflated… Food Network should be calling literally any second.

I hope you enjoy!!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-L1nxrB-X8]

Chai Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla Buttercream *recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Big Book of Cupcakes

1 box French vanilla cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup liquid chai tea latte concentrate (you can find it at your local coffee shop or in the coffee/tea aisle at your supermarket)
1 small box sugar free/fat free vanilla instant pudding mix
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
Cinnamon-Vanilla Buttercream (recipe & ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, eggs, oil, chai concentrate and ONE tsp cinnamon until well blended, about 2 minutes. Stir in pudding mix until combined. Portion batter evenly into muffin cups, about 2/3 full, and bake approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Buttercream

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
Remaining 1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tsp milk
About 5 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and vanilla until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting begins to form. If it’s to thick, add milk, one teaspoon at a time to make it creamier and more consistent. When you’ve reached your desired consistency, beat in cinnamon until combined.
2. Spoon frosting into a piping bag attached with a star tip, like mine. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes, and garnish with fall-type sprinkles, edible pearls or gummy ginger candies, if desired.

Eat them now and forget about leftovers, because these are deadly good.

I hope you guys enjoyed my cooking video as much as I did!

Thanks SO much to my excellent, AMAZING boyfriend, Jessie for being patient during numerous takes and listening (while pretending to feign interest) in the process of preparing batter. Plus, he created the entire video from scratch–including the adorable details, like my cupcake name banner–so sweet! You’re the BEST!

OMG. Look at that smile! Even sweeter than these cupcakes, that’s for damn sure! <3

xo, Hayley

Spooky Skeleton Cupcakes

 

I can feel myself getting old.

It’s terribly scary and I don’t know what to do about it.

I can feel the responsibility creeping up on me… the wrinkles… the sleeping patterns… the crow’s feet– whatever they are, they sound painful. And I probably have them.

I am obviously no longer a kid anymore. Not even a teen. I can’t pull all-nighters and somehow walk away unscathed. I can’t eat a bunch of junk food and pretend like it doesn’t have calories. I can’t enjoy going clothes shopping anymore, because I just become morbidly depressed and end up sobbing in a ball of sweaters inside of the dressing room.

Growing up sucks.

Today, I went to the doctor’s because I’ve been having some gnarly migraines lately. She told me, “at your age, I start seeing lots of patients complaining of chronic migraines.”

SEE? She used the word ‘chronic.’ Only old people get told they have chronic diseases–I see it on the posters around the doctor’s offices all the time, of some jolly old man with the words ‘CHRONIC HEART CONDITIONS’ above him. I don’t know why he’s so jolly because that sounds terrible. But I see it. And I was termed ‘chronic.’

BRB, crawling in a pile of sweaters to cry.

And then there’s shopping. It’s tremendously stressful nowadays, minus the whole no-moolah part.

Although I don’t really need to lose weight, I wouldn’t be opposed to dropping five or ten pounds. But then my friend, who’s older than me and much skinnier, said she was my current weight and lost 20 pounds in like, six months. WTF.

So after grabbing coffee with her, I cried a little and then pretended to catch the exercise bug and rode my bike for like 20 minutes. And then I came home and had two plates of spaghetti.

I’d like to think I burned an amazing amount of calories that would result in an instant 20-pound drop. I’d also like to pretend my clothes and sneakers were what caused my weight to suspiciously raise on the scale at the doctor’s office. Surely Converse sneaks, a V neck and some denim shorts weigh like, 10 pounds, right?

…I mean, sneakers carry a lot of weight. And these shorts aren’t exactly the lightest denim on the market.

So whenever I do venture into the mall now, I try to avoid the trendy things since my mom says “You have too many costumes; you need to start buying practical clothes.” (Read: WORK WEAR)

And today, my grandma told me a nice outfit to go to interviews in would be slacks.

SLACKS? NO!

I don’t even own those.

How come everyone sees me as an old woman already!?

Besides the occasional random hip pains I get, I hardly feel old. I mean, when I went to that craft fair at Apple Hill last week, I didn’t succumb and buy refrigerator magnets made out of dried prunes… surely this is a sign I’m still young enough not to appreciate dried fruit magnets?!

And I’m not (yet) excitedly tuning in to watch Wheel of Fortune or anything… so I must still be youthful, right?!

I’M ONLY TWENTY! Can we at least wait another forty years before I hate shopping, spot wrinkles, set QVC on my DVR and get understandable hip pains? Please?

In the meantime, because of my great distress over my current condition, I made skeleton cupcakes. Age-appropriate? Not so much… but they’re darn cute and perfect for Halloween.

(Mm, who doesn’t love non-pareils?)

I originally just Googled ‘skeleton cupcakes’ and this picture came up. Based on the picture alone I was able to make them, but my stupid skeleton arms wouldn’t quite stay put, and my skellies’ rib cages are a little on the flatter side, but hey–every skeleton cupcake ages differently, don’t they? :)

Spooky Skeleton Cupcakes

24 cupcakes, baked and cooled (I tinted a vanilla batter orange to be festive)
2 cans vanilla frosting or prepared homemade buttercream (may want to double if you’re going to pile frosting on high)
Halloween sprinkles or non-pareils
24 small lollypop sticks
12 large marshmallows, cut in half with kitchen shears
About 72 whole yogurt pretzels, plus more if you make arms
Edible food marker in BLACK

1. Frost your cupcakes nice and high with your buttercream or canned frosting. Carefully pour sprinkles into a large bowl, and moving your wrist in a circle, dredge the sides of the frosted cupcake in the sprinkles, just coating the edges. Set aside.
2. On the textured (not the cut) side of a marshmallow half, draw faces with your edible food marker, ensuring the ink doesn’t bleed and spread too bad. Spear the bottom of each marshmallow head with a lollypop stick.
3. Stack three yogurt pretzels on top of one another on top of each frosted cupcake. Stick the lollypop through the bottom hole of all three yogurt pretzels, securing them to the lollypop stick. Make sure your skeleton has enough room for a neck!
4. If you wish, cut pretzels in half and gently press into sides of the skeleton’s pretzel “body” for arms.

Aren’t these fun? They make me feel so young and worry-free again.

Make them, and you’ll probably feel the same way.

Happy Tuesday!

xo, Hayley

Apple-Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake Donuts

Yesterday (Saturday) was the one good day in Hayley’s Colossally-Bad End-of-Week.

Shall I give a recap? If I must.

On Wednesday, I bombed an American Lit quiz because my puny mind could not understand Puritan language and I didn’t absorb any information whatsoever about the previous night’s readings. Just so you know, Puritans are awful story-tellers. If you ever have the opportunity to read a Puritan story, don’t. You will burn less brain cells watching Jersey Shore.

I also found out my petition to never have to take Algebra 2 was denied. Hey, it was worth a try, but I was seriously bummed. The school is corrupt.

Then on Thursday, the cupcake factory let me go. It was totally out of left field and I was kind of disappointed, obviously. Although (temporarily?) being unemployed is allowing me to fulfill my dream of being a housewife, I’m already kind of bored. I was hoping that when I became an actual housewife, I’d, you know, have a husband to help out with the finances. Asking my mom for gas money is not exactly what I was hoping for in this luxurious career of housewifery.

And on my first day of unemployment, I enacted my housewifery and cleaned the house top to bottom. So that was kinda cool. Except because I was on a mad cleaning rush, I got a bad headache and briefly turned into the person I hoped I wouldn’t become while being briefly unemployed: the lazy, TV-watching, bon-bon eating girl. Except instead of bon-bons, it was jalapeno tortilla chips. And my outfit was almost verging on muu-muu territory. It was bad, you guys.

Then, this morning, I had this awesome idea of making donuts. So I got up bright and early, put on my baking cap (metaphorical, but a real one may be nice) and got to work. But my donuts fell apart, and my donut pan was scorched in the baking process, and I burnt my hand while attempting to pour my black tea into a pitcher…but poured it everywhere but into the pitcher.

Needless to say, I was a liiiiittttle depressed about it.

But yesterday, yesterday was the golden moment in this crap-storm week. My lovely boyfriend Jessie took me up to Apple Hill, this awesome nook of apple farms in El Dorado County, about an hour away from home.

Growing up, my family and I went to Apple Hill every autumn to go on hay rides, pick apples, and obviously, eat anything and everything apple-related, especially their freakin’ delicious homemade pies.

Apple Hill is kind of like a mixture between a craft fair, a pumpkin patch, and a fall festival. There’s the awesome food, the sweet farmer’s market, the hay maze and pumpkin train, and then the craft booths that sell anything from delightfully tacky merchandise featuring different breeds of dogs, to homemade magnets made of dried fruits, to the most creative: Imaginary Sticks.

Wanna know what an Imaginary Stick is?

Well, according to the merchant, it basically appears to be a stick (yep, any ol’ stick) painted with craft glue and puffy paint with a couple sequins glued on for good measure, sold for the purpose of “using it for your child’s endless imagination.” For $4.

Jessie and I paid no mind to the weird grandma craft booths and instead, took pictures of cool things like buttons and caramel apples.

Isn’t he cute? And slightly creepy… but that’s overpowered by its cuteness.

And of course, there were lots of apples.

And I thought that maybe, just maaaaybe, I could try to recreate Apple Hill’s signature apple donuts.

It was crazy–maybe Imaginary Stick crazy–but it was worth a try.

I was almost hoping they wouldn’t taste good so I couldn’t be stuck at home on this crappy day, eating fistfuls of donuts while watching Bravo reruns and hating my life. But they were moist, flavorful, spicy and delicious, and were gone in seconds, thanks to my starving family of apple-donut-eaters, eliminating my need for pulling out the muumuu and wallowing in my own self pity.

My family is so supportive.

Anyway, wanna know how to make these super yummy donuts? So simple.

Apple-Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake Donuts

2 3/4 cups spice cake mix
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tsp melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon, plus 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups finely diced baking apples, peeled (I used Golden Delicious)
Glaze (recipe and ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease donut pans with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, add cake mix, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and your spices and blend with a mixer on low-speed for about 2 minutes. Stir in your chopped apples. Carefully pour batter into a large gallon-size ziploc baggy, seal out the air, and snip the tip off of one of the baggy’s corners (make sure your cut is large enough to squeeze out the apple pieces!) Pipe batter into donut cavities, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, approximately 7-9 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not overbake. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert the donut pan and wiggle it gently to allow donuts to fall out onto a wire rack.
3. Prepare glaze, and dunk slightly cooled donuts into glaze, turning to coat completely. Remove from glaze, and allow to dry, about 10-15 minutes. Or, if you prefer, instead of dunking donuts in glaze, roll them, while still-warm, in a mixture of cinnamon sugar and allow to set for about 5 mins on a wire rack. <–also a yummy alternative!

Quick Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a medium saucepan, bring above ingredients together and whisk until smooth. Allow to cook on medium-low heat until thin and warm. If mixture begins to boil or thicken, briefly remove from heat and whisk to thin out again.
2. Dunk slightly-cooled donuts into glaze, turning with a fork or spatula to coat with glaze. Allow donuts to cool on a wire rack after being glazed for about 10-15 minutes to harden glaze.

I reeeeeally enjoy these donuts warm, but they are excellent at room-temperature for a lunch-time snack. The cinnamon sugar ones are my number one, but my family seemed to enjoy the glazed ones, too!

If you’re a NorCal reader, you MUST visit Apple Hill soon! And if you’re not a NorCal reader, make these donuts and pretend you did!

Happy Fall (and here’s to better days!)

xo, Hayley

Birthday Cake Blondies with Cotton Candy Frosting

When I was younger, I went to a friend’s birthday party. To protect the innocent, we’ll name her (for unnecessary purposes), LaShauna.

LaShauna was my age and we hung out because our grandmas were friends. LaShauna and I had different interests in toys; hers erred on the side of horses and animal figurines, whereas mine were completely devoted to all things Barbie.

Whenever we’d play Barbies (because hello, when we’re at my house, we’re playing Barbies) LaShauna would grow tired of Barbie playing and break out her plastic horses. And I would wonder why the hell someone would want to play with a boring-ass plastic horse over Barbies.

Barbies have so many options–they can be doctors, professional shoppers, movie stars, super models, vets… You can dress them up, make them play house, and stage scenarios that children should not know about, like infidelity between Ken and Skipper or Kelly dolls having fist fights and murdering each other.

Horses do not have options but to pretend whinny and gallop in the air. That’s. About. It. Yawn. So I’d always ask my grandma to take LaShauna home early because her and her horses could not hold their own against my imagination and my crazy Barbie-playing obsessions.

ANYWAY.

LaShauna had a younger brother who happened to be my younger brother’s age (three years younger than me). And whenever my brother and I were invited to LaShauna’s birthday party, I noticed that, despite being LASHAUNA’S birthday, her little brother got a present, too.

I mean, WHAT THE HELL. It was LaShauna’s birthday. Her DAY OF BIRTH. Her right to receive ANY and EVERY present on that day of the year, and, if she was gracious (which she was), would hand out small party favors consisting of tops, yo-yos and Tootsie rolls. With the exception of these small favors, no one but the birthday person in question should be receiving full-fledged presents.

But nooooo. Someone would always buy LaShauna’s younger brother a Hot Wheels racing track set or some cool talking dinosaur action figure.

And I remember thinking, even as a mere child party-guest, that was not right. It was LaShauna’s birthday; not her pesky little brother’s. WHY THE EFF was he getting presents?!

Growing older, I’d continually notice this trend at other friends’ birthday parties. The younger brothers or sisters would also receive gifts from jolly old grandparents or aunts and uncles while their birthday-sibling had to sit and watch.

BLASPHEMY.

If my little brother got to open presents on MY birthday, hell would break loose. It’s my day, bitches. MINE. I did NOT put my mom through hours of pain-staking labor to be born on January 24 BY MYSELF to have to share it with some dumb younger sibling. They have their own day, dammit!

(If anyone stole my thunder at MY Tweety bird party, I would smack a ‘ho)

(You can see I have a **slight** problem with sharing. Blame it on my lack of going to kindergarten)

If there’s one thing (of many) I hate, it’s a self-entitled child, begging for a present when it isn’t their birthday.

Just consider me the birthday vigilante–always looking out for the birthday boy or girl, seeking justice for their being-spoiled privileges on this day every year.

(See those eyes? Those red eyes scream “BIRTHDAY VIGILANTIST”)

And thanks to my mom and dad, for never, ever buying my siblings presents on my birthday. Because of your neglect to acknowledge their existence on my day of birth, you made me a very happy girl… and fed my need to never, ever like sharing.

…Because I still hate it. Ask anyone. I hoard my stuff and never, ever share.

…And because I still love birthdays. Probably because I never had to share my glory with some undeserving, obnoxious kid.

I originally saw this post for Cake Batter Blondies on Girl Meets Life while perusing the world wide web for a cake batter fix. I was going to be a freakin’ genius and make cake batter cookies, but apparently they make funfetti cookie mixes now so obviously Pillsbury stole my thunder. That’s okay, because these are waaaaay better.

They’re ooey, gooey, and smothered with rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips in a cake-battery crust.

Oh, and did I forget to mention they’re smeared with a layer of pink cotton candy flavored frosting? How shameful of me to forget that detail…

Birthday Cake Blondies with Cotton Candy Frosting

1 box Funfetti cake mix (can substitute with white cake mix)
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles (or more, if you’re addicted like me)
1 can vanilla frosting (can use homemade vanilla buttercream)
1 small capful Cotton Candy oil
2-3 drops pink food coloring 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, oil and egg until slightly combined. Slowly add milk, stirring after each addition, until a soft dough forms and the cake powder is absorbed. Stir in chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles (make sure you reserve some sprinkles for the icing tops!)
3. Bake blondies for approximately 25-28 minutes or until the center is set and it’s a light golden brown color. The center may appear slightly gooey–that’s okay, they’ll finish cooking as they cool and they’re supposed to be chewy and gooey :) Allow to cool completely in pan.
4. Scrape out vanilla frosting into a medium bowl.  Add the capful of cotton candy oil and a couple drops of pink food coloring and mix together with a spoon. Spread frosting onto cooled blondies and sprinkle with remaining rainbow sprinkles. Store covered in fridge.

I wish it was my birthday, so I had an excuse to hoard the entire pan, eat them by myself in my bedroom while watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and swat people’s hands away when they attempt to sneak a square… but alas, it’s not my day so I must share.

…But I won’t tell if you make them, hoard them, and eat them, even if it isn’t your birthday, either. Just whatever you do, pretty please make them?

Happy unBirthday to you all! (or Happy Birthday to some of you!)

xo, Hayley

Alien Eyeball Cupcakes

 

Most recently, Jessie, my ragingly sexy boyfriend, has introduced me to the idea of watching scary movies with him.

Prior to being coaxed out of my scary-movie-fear, I refused to watch them but always had the nagging curiosity to see what happens. Come on. How can you not be curious to see if Jamie Lee Curtis makes it out alive in Halloween? Or if Neve Campbell will ever put an end to those pesky mask-faced teenagers in Scream?

Some things you just have to get to the bottom of.

So I admit to sneaking peeks at the endings of these movies, just so I could have some closure… and nightmares that night.

Sadly, I’m one of those scary-movie = nightmare people where if I watch any movie that even indicates breaking and entering, knife wielding, gun slinging, mask wearing, skin shaving, human butchering, creepy piano music playing or, my least favorite, creepy violin music playing… I get nightmares.

It’s like the soundtrack to Halloween permanently penetrated my head and I fell asleep to that creepy dee do do dee do do deeeee all night long.

Intolerable!

So I refused to watch them in whole, from beginning to end, and especially with the lights out. Oh helllllll nah.

Then my annoying ex-boyfriend, eager to get me to watch the new remastering of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with him, basically guilted me into watching it when I wasn’t emotionally prepared.

Guess what? I had nightmares about men wearing skin masks eating human soup for weeks. I was the human soup. I really don’t think I’d taste very good as soup, but trying to ration with a psychopath who hunts teenagers like a young Jessica Biel doesn’t seem like he’d be the most rational fellow so I doubt I could reason with him if he were to attack me.

These predicaments plagued me. It was bad.

And then, I met Jessie. And Jessie professed a love for scary, gory movies. And I had to be the weenie who said, “uhh I’ve actually never seen that. Nope, not that, either. Um, do you have any comedies?”

But one day, something inside of me decided to take my chances and watch one, just because. So we started off small, watching the hilarious, ridiculously inappropriate and hardly scary Thankskilling to which I owe my scary-movie-viewing semi-fearlessness to.

Why would a lame, obviously fake killer turkey make me wanna step up to the big leagues and watch real scary movies?

Because it helped me realize all this crap is fake.

Even if it has super awesome special effects; even if, for a split-second, I believe that a puppet riding on a tricycle can actually be capable of committing murder; even if I jump, shriek, have gas (because yes, watching tense, scary things makes my tummy…not so happy) or hide my eyes…it’s all fake.

Babysitting (which I never do, but if I did!) will not result in having a stranger murder the kids in their bedroom and torment me with phone calls. Halloween will not result in my scary, demented brother stabbing a bunch of people and attacking me while I’m wearing my bell bottoms. Taking road trips does not have to mean our car breaks down coincidentally on a(n): Indian burial ground, abandoned campsite, the property of a crazed lunatic, or an insane asylum.

Oh, and speaking of road trips… I watched Road Trip with Jessie last night.

While it wasn’t a quality film and it had a “huh?” ending, it did show boobs (an obvious merit in any scary movie) and it had some weird story line about Indians sacrificing people’s eyeballs or whatever.

Which oddly got me thinking about eyeball cupcakes of some sort.

Now, I’m no fan of those weird, adventurous foods, like eating cockroaches on sticks or BBQing tripe or anything, but eyeball cupcakes, just like scary movies, are fake–and kinda fun after all.

Plus, these taste waaaaay better than the real thing (well, I’m assuming, anyway… I don’t actually know, but I could be very, very wrong on this count)

And eyeball cupcakes are fun, creative and not at all gory. You don’t even need to live on an Indian burial ground to make them (I know, I’m totally thinking of all the conveniences for you).

They even have surprise candy fillings, too–Reese’s Pieces, to be exact, but you could substitute Reese’s Pieces with M&Ms, Skittles, Sixlets, or any hard-shelled (chocolate) candy.

Wanna know how to make them? Easy!

Alien Eyeball Cupcakes

24 cupcakes, baked and cooled in the flavor of your liking
Vanilla buttercream (enough to frost 24 cupcakes) or 2 cans vanilla frosting
Lime green food coloring, or green + a little yellow
Halloween-themed sprinkles or sequins
1 large box Reese’s Pieces (or 2 avg. sized bags)
Eyeball lollypops*

1. In a large bowl, tint your frosting (canned or homemade) with the food coloring. You want a nice lime green shade, so start with just enough green for a minty shade, and add small drops of yellow, a little at a time, to achieve a nice, bright lime color. Set aside.
2. With a small paring knife, carefully cut out the core of each cupcake, careful not to cut through the entire cake. Discard or eat cores. Fill each cupcake cavity with Reese’s Pieces until full, but do not overfill.


3. Pipe prepared frosting onto cupcakes, taking care that you cover the entire hole with the frosting–I used an open star tip, like this one. You could also spread your icing on–whichever you prefer.
4. Sprinkle iced cupcakes with your Halloween sprinkles. Unwrap and insert eyeball lollypops into the center of each cupcake just before serving. Eat immediately.

**Note: I found these eyeball suckers at my local Dollar Tree store, and I’m sure you can find them, too. If not, check party supply stores or Halloween specialty shops, or substitute eyeballs with another Halloween-themed sucker, like a pumpkin or ghost. Or, you can make your own eyeball suckers by purchasing a round candy mold, like these, and preparing your eyeballs by hand with candy melts.

Though my mom will probably say “ew, those are gross!” I can confidently tell her, “mom, they’re just cupcakes.” Just like the next time I jump and shiver uncontrollably as the murderer is approaching the bedroom the female lead is hiding in, Jessie can say, “babe, it’s just a movie.”

Fake, and fun, and okay, kind of creepy.

You love it.

xo, Hayley

Toothy Vampire Cupcakes

 

Please don’t click away! I know what you’re thinking.

Vampires? Ugh, really?! They’re so trendy. Of course she’s going to do a post about vampires. Next she’s going to proclaim she’s Team Edward and wants to have his babies and blah blah blah. And here I thought I could relate to this cyber stranger! Psh.

Don’t think that. I want you to love me and relate to me. We’re not cyber strangers; we’re friends, you and I. And friends don’t let friends take trends too far, including the vampire trend.

Since Twilight came out, people have been on a serious vampire/werewolf binge. There are shirts with Team Edward or Team Jacob for sale. Clothes Bella wore for sale, advertising that for one scene, she was totally wearing this jacket! And have you walked down the young adult book aisle lately? ALL vampire books. Or werewolf books. Or witch books. Who would have thought these mythical creatures would become so trendy?!

I mean, hell, Bram Stoker was the original Stephanie Meyer–and I’m sorry to any lit buffs out there for even comparing the two.

Dracula’s clearly the original gangsta here.

And I don’t think people were getting all cozy and cuddly up to vamps back in 1897 when it was originally released.

I doubt there was Dracula merchandise at your local market. They probably didn’t have Dracula key chains or bumper stickers… and not just because things like key chains and bumpers didn’t exist, either. It was probably because NO ONE CARED THAT MUCH. Same should hold true today, in my opinion.

Most things, including vampires, werewolves, elves, and witches, are good in moderation. Sprinkle a little witchery into a movie and I’ll still watch it. Throw in a vampire story-line and I may waggle my eyebrows and judge you for being slightly nerdy, but I’ll probably read it… as long as it doesn’t involve necrophilia or bestiality, such as Twilight…then I’ll probably think you’re a psychopath.

Vampires, werewolves, and insert-your-own-mythical-creature(s) are like flip flops: they’re okay in certain situations but should not be worn out all the time. You can’t write every story involving some mythical creature love triangle, just like you can’t wear a painfully adorable outfit and accent it with hideous, scum-of-the-world-of-shoes-flip flops. It just can’t happen like that. People do judge you. Some very harshly, like myself.

So keep your vampires on the low-down, okay?

Unless it pertains to Halloween. In which case, all of the above mythical creatures are okay since now’s the time to dress up and get all your Edward/Jacob feelings out of the way by begging your boyfriend to wear some uncomfortable fake fangs for the night and instruct him to call you by the name ‘Bella’.

(Don’t be surprised if he dumps you shortly thereafter)

I originally made these cupcakes last year for Halloween, before I decided to be cool and make myself a baking blog to showcase them. They won over my friends and family on Facebook, so of course I had to bring them back to show my loyal readers here!

And guess what? They’re super, ridiculously, almost painfully easy to make. I swear.

All you need is:

24 baked and cooled cupcakes (I used red velvet because of the blood… you know)
2 cans vanilla frosting or your own vanilla buttercream frosting (enough to frost 24 cupcakes)
Wilton food coloring gel in Purple
1 tube black piping frosting or sparkle gel
48 mini chocolate chips
48 mini yogurt chips
**If using a black tube of frosting, attach with a small, round tip, such as Atecco 6. Otherwise, the sparkle gel tube is already equipped with a small, round tip, perfect for piping**

1. Start by tinting your frosting with the purple food gel. Scrape out all your canned frosting into a large bowl, and add a butter knife tip’s worth of food coloring and swirl it into the frosting, tinting it a just-a-shade-darker-than-lavender-purple color. It should not be too dark or too bright; err on the pastel-y side, if possible. Once your shade is achieved, spread frosting over cupcakes as neatly as possible to create a smooth, purple surface.
2. Next, carefully invert a mini chocolate chip and gently press into the icing for an eye, towards the upper middle of the cupcake. Repeat for the other eye.
3. Using your black frosting tube/sparkle gel, make a small upwards arc, like a smile, just below the eyes. Use your sparkle gel to also create hair for your vampire, making a small point in the center of its forehead (in between its eyes) for that traditional vampirical ‘do.
4. Lastly, carefully place your mini yogurt chips just below the smile line to create fangs, and gently press them into the frosting to adhere. Use your most pointiest chips! Store these airtight.

I know vampires are supposed to be oogy and scary because of the whole blood-sucking thing, but aren’t these just adorable? Hardly the creepy creatures we should be frightened of.

And I suppose if you wanted to go all out and make them true to Stephanie Meyer’s creation, you should sprinkle them with some edible purple disco dust, just ’cause. But that’s only if you’re feeling particularly trendy, of course.

Stay tuned for more awesome treats (both Halloween and fall-related) on the way this week!

xo, Hayley

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