A Lot of Cupcakes

When you choose to take a service trip to Uganda, it costs a lot of money. Even if the program you are going to travel with keeps their costs low, flights and food are generally going to stay pretty expensive. For a college kid the price tag on a trans-Atlantic tip can be pretty frightening, however there are things that can be done to help lower the cost.
Luckily I have a generous church family that quickly step up and offer financial support (I love that my church values international missions) and through them I have nearly 80% of the funds that I need. Of course I don’t have a lot of spare change floating around, so I have had to come up with ideas on how to fundraise the rest of this money. What on earth could I make and sell that would be enjoyable for me to do and people would actually want to buy?

Oh yeah. CUPCAKES.

Now, I love to bake and cook, and at school I did not get a lot of opportunities to do so. That made it a little scary when someone asked me to make 50 cupcakes for a children’s party that would happen two days after I returned. I hadn’t made cupcakes in like four months, I didn’t have a reliable chocolate cupcake recipe, and I had to do all these cupcakes and frost them in one day, because the party was in the morning. What was I going to do?

Yeah, I was going to plan. I was going to pre-measure my ingredients, I was going to wash dishes as I went and keep the space decently clean. And that’s what I did.
Because I needed 20 cupcakes of both chocolate and vanilla I did two batches of each (both of the recipes make anywhere between 12 and 14 cupcakes), and since the order included 10 strawberry cupcakes, I did one batch of those.

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It did take nearly all day to get through all five batches and two batches of frosting. What helped me was the pre-measuring, really.

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And knowing ahead of time what the plan was going to be. I knew that I did not want to make another batch of frosting after I made the second one, and since it was vanilla (and I knew I had more than twice what I needed for the two dozen cupcakes on my table), I just added some cocoa powder to it and all of a sudden it was chocolate frosting. Imagine that.

Part of what saved me was that I was listening to the radio while I was working. I knew that talk radio would keep me from getting bored with the repetitive task at hand, and so I was able to stay focused and chug right along. I was chugging so hard along the tracks of the cupcake-making train that I forgot to take pictures after I made the vanilla cupcakes. Such is life.

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I still have about 20% of my funds to raise in the next few weeks that I am home, so I’ll be baking some more. At least this time I know how to handle a large order with out a freak out.

These are the links to the recipes that I used. I find these recipes very effective, I have them printed out and have made each of them multiple times:
Vanilla
Strawberry
Chocolate 

PS
You may be wondering what happened to the extra cupcakes that were left over from the batches that weren’t sold for the Christmas party, and I can tell you that they went to a good place. The bellies of some firemen. There was a fire in town the same day as the party and so I gave the rest to the duty crew that responded.

PPS
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Freyja had a little too much fun while helping decorate the tree.

Freyja had a little too much fun while helping decorate the tree.

The Best Sign of Appreciation

Cupcakes.

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People feel very appreciated when you give them homemade cupcakes. And they should,  I really do appreciate my teachers. And to show them I made some strawberry cupcakes for teacher appreciation week.

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“Round these here parts the weather has been a roller-coaster ride, but mostly it has been spring like (at least the past two days). I felt like strawberry was the best direction to head with the cupcakes.

So to make these cupcakes you should go check out this page and follow their instructions. It’s pretty simple, even though it does require cake flour and I have never used it before.

I’m sure you could use frozen strawberries to make the puree that goes into both the cake and the icing, but fresh works out best. The flavor will still come through, but you know, it might not be the same.

These have a real strawberry flavor that just shines. It really tastes like strawberries, and doesn’t taste artificial like what you get when you make the box mixes.

Also, the light pink color of the cake comes right from the puree, and even though I added a little red coloring to the frosting to liven it up, you really don’t have to.

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If you plan on frosting them with a knife, I would have to recommend cutting the icing recipe in half because you will end up with extra and it will spill out of your container when you try to close it.

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And it will end up on your counter. Nobody wants that.

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Overall, these cupcakes are spectacular, and would make any teacher (or mother (because tomorrow is mother’s day)) feel greatly appreciated. Because I do appreciate them, whether they force me to do my pre calc or my physics or teach a subject that I really enjoy, and they should really know how much they mean to me.

If you really don’t want to follow the link, this is the recipe, From Blissfully Delicious, again, it’s a wonderful recipe and a great blog

“Ingredients

Cake

2 cups fresh and ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed and hulled

2 1/3 cups cake flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla

Strawberry Butter-cream Frosting

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp

4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1/4 cup fresh strawberry puree reserved earlier

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper cupcake liners into standard-size muffin pans. Puree the strawberries in a food processor. Measure 3/4 cup for the batter and reserve 1/4 cup for the butter cream.

Sift the cake flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and baking powder and blend on low just until combined. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix on low until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix on low, scraping bowl as needed. Mix on medium a few more seconds until well combined. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop batter into mini cupcake liners.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Bake about 20 mins for standard cupcakes. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove from pan and allow them to cool on a cooling rack.

Strawberry Butter-cream Frosting

Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the confectioners sugar about a cup at a time and beat just until blended.

Add the puree and vanilla, scrape bowl as needed and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes (mine was perfect at about a minute).

Frost cupcakes and decorate as your heart desires.

Yield: 72 mini muffins or 20 standard cupcakes”