Can we talk about cupcakes for a minute? :) I love them.  I love how I don't have to cut cake at parties.  I love how you can eat two and not feel guilty about it because it's a cupcake!  I love how easy it is to make them look super fancy.  I love shopping for new baking cups, paper or silicone.  I love the way a dab of icing piped on top looks.  Love love love.  In my house, cupcakes make the party.

I'd like to share some of my secrets and tips.  I'm no professional, just a mom who likes playing around with it, but there are a couple of things I like to do :)
  1. I use a box mix.  Usually Funfetti.  So easy.  I use packaged icing, too.
  2. I used to wonder how to achieve that perfect little dollop of icing on top.  For years I just tried my hardest with a knife.  HA!  Then I found this.  Probably the best $10 you could spend.  Here's a tip: grab a 40% off coupon and go to Michaels and you can purchase it for even cheaper!
  3. I put pudding inside my cupcakes.  and I use that fancy decorator to do it!  Whip up a box of instant pudding, but instead of adding the 2 cups of milk, add 1 3/4.  It makes it a little bit thicker and I find that to be easier to fill the cupcakes with.  Bake your cupcakes regularly, and let them cool.  Make your pudding and then set in the fridge to thicken.  Fill your decorating tool with the pudding, and push a little bit into the middle of every cake.  When you're finished, ice your cupcakes and voila!  For Christmas this past year I made chocolate cupcakes and filled them with cheesecake pudding and topped them with vanilla icing and crushed candy canes.  It looked so fancy, but it was incredibly easy to do.
  4. Okay so #3 was my biggest secret :) but I love that with that decorating tool, you can color your icing any color you'd like!  I found some neon food coloring at the grocery store and it produces the most beautiful vibrant colors.  I also add it to muffin mixes for breakfast, because Emma thinks blue muffins are the only way to eat muffins.  That's maybe for another post though.
  5. This is a fun summer recipe: make vanilla cupcakes, bake, cool.  Make a box of Jello, but use only about half of the water the box tells you to use.  Poke holes in your cupcakes with a fork and pour the liquid Jello on top.  Refrigerate.  Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip on top.  It's the BEST for summer get-togethers!
Really, the most fun part is baking with my daughter and then sending her in the other room to "go get" something so I can sneak a lick or two out of the bowl :) oh, and then sharing the finished products with your family and friends, of course.  Do you have any neat cupcake tricks up your sleeve?  (edit: these photos are all examples of cupcakes I've made in the past few years!)

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