Easter basket surprise cupcakes

24 to 30 cupcakes
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix (see note)
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¼ to 1 1/3 cups water (depending upon the brand of cake mix)
  • ½ cup cooking oil (corn, canola, or safflower oil)
  • About 1½ to 2 cups commercial marshmallow creme or reduced-fat marshmallow creme

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

  • Coconut dyed green as desired (optional)
  • Jelly bean candies as desired
  • 24 to 30 pipe cleaners (optional)

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, water, and oil. Beat at low to medium speed of an electric mixer, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, for 3 minutes. Spoon batter into muffin pans (2½ to 2 3/4-inches in diameter) lined with paper or foil baking cups about one-third full. Carefully spoon about 1 to 1½ tablespoons marshmallow creme into the center of each, being careful not to touch edge of cupcake batter in each paper baking cup. Carefully top each with additional batter, trying not to disperse marshmallow creme, filling paper baking cups only two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 18 to 24 minutes or until done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out to finish cooling in paper baking cups on wire racks. When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost tops of cupcakes with frosting. May garnish the top of each with tinted green coconut. Decorate the top of each cupcake with jelly bean candies as desired. Fasten a pipe cleaner to each cup cake as a handle, if desired. Store cupcakes in an airtight containerNote: Favorite two-layer yellow cake or sponge cake recipe may be used in place of cake mix, if desired.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frostingenough to frost 24 to 30 cupcakes
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners’ sugar (about 4½ cups), sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half or milk or reduced-fat or skim milk (approximate), divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 drops green food coloring or as desired (optional)

In a deep medium bowl, cream butter thoroughly. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and salt, beating well. Add remaining sugar and 1 tablespoon half-and-half. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla and remaining half-and-half as needed to achieve correct spreading consistency. Beat in food coloring, if desired.

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