Friday Favorites No. 319

It's been a busy week! Hopefully you had a chance to check out my newest Hoop Art of the Month, which shows the temperatures here in my little town of Boring for the last year. Based on the fact that it snowed AGAIN yesterday, this year's should be just as interesting!

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Any other planner addicts out there? I don't know what I'd do without mine. Oh, yeah...nothing because I wouldn't know what I was supposed to be doing! I kinda want to caffeine mine up with these printable coffee stickers from DIY Candy.

I remember making a rubber stamp in an art class back in school. It was fun then, and I see no reason why it wouldn't still be now. This tutorial from Gathering Beauty sounds pretty easy, and imagine all the possibilities!

If you ever buy fabric, you might be with me on this. I can do math, but after a few hours in a fabric store (not just me, right?) I tend to lose some basic life skills. This printable yardage conversion card from Sew4Home would come in very handy for those times when fractions and decimals all start to blur together.

I have nothing against frosting, but there are times when it just isn't necessary, like these decadent-looking bananas foster upside down cupcakes from Flavor Mosaic.

Shortly after I joined my quilt guild, which was still new, they offered a charter member enamel pin to order. I bought one, pinned it to my name tag I wear to meetings, then had to find another pin to balance it on the other side. Lately I've found myself wanting to add to my tiny collection as other members have. I ordered this Maker pin from NightOwlPaperGoods on Etsy yesterday, and I can't wait to see it in person!

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

We all know pumpkin is a fall flavor.  Sure, you can buy cans of it year round, but eating pumpkin in summer is like eating a strawberry in January.  You can do it, but it just feels weird…unless you’re my daughter. 

The kids wanted cupcakes instead of layer cake for the wedding, and there’s a local cupcake shop that makes them gluten-free once a week.  For a while, Codi was a Bella Cupcake Wednesday regular.  When it came time to place the wedding order, the one flavor she was absolutely sure about was pumpkin chai.  Thankfully, Bella was accommodating and agreed, even though it wasn’t pumpkin season for them.  Out of the four flavors, it ended up being the most popular.  Well, being the experimenter that I am, I decided to attempt my own version.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 1
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 1

First of all, let me say I cannot compete with Bella Cupcake.  I didn’t get a chance to try one of theirs (like I said, popular) but I already know these don’t taste the same.  However, for an amateur, starting-with-boxed-mix version, these are delicious. 

I made these gluten-free, but you could certainly use a regular cake mix.  Just adjust the amount of eggs and water to reflect what’s required on the box.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 box of vanilla cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup instant black tea
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 2
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 2

Dissolve the instant tea in the water.  Mix all of the dry spices into the cake mix.  Add the butter, eggs, pumpkin and tea/water.  Continue with the mixing and baking instructions on your box for cupcakes.

I had to try this recipe three times before I had one with the flavor I was looking for.  For the first attempt I replaced some of the water with liquid chai concentrate, and they were very pumpkinish and had very little chai coming through.  It was all we could do to scarf down the whole batch.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 3
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 3

The second time, I referred to my Spiced Chai drink mix for the spices to add.  I went a little light because I didn’t want them to be too overpowering.  They were good, but it was still hard to taste anything but pumpkin.  When I read the drink recipe a second time, I realized the number of servings was nearly the same as my cake mix, so I went all-out and added the same measurements for the spices.  You can even see the difference in color between the two batches.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 4
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 4

Bingo!  These are definitely spicy, but a good dose of cream cheese frosting on top tones them down just enough.  I’m pretty sure nothing has ever said fall quite as loudly as these do.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 5
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 5

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I almost hate to say this, because I know there are MANY people out there who disagree, but I like boxed cake mix.  It can be used to make lots of things besides cakes and comes in so many delicious flavors.  We’ve been making a big effort to eat healthier around here lately, but I believe in moderation rather than deprivation, so sometimes cake makes its way in there. I came across this recipe from Big Red Kitchen this morning, which was the catalyst for everything to follow.  It sounds delicious as is, but my mind immediately spun toward one of my husband’s favorites – carrot cake.  He finished my living room today (yay - photos to follow after I mop the floor!) so I was happy to be able to show my appreciation through sugar-loaded baking.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 0
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 0

The original recipe above only uses two ingredients.  I used both of those, but added a few more of my own.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

1 box cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla, because it’s what I had)

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

15 oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups shredded carrots

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the dry ingredients, then add the wet.  Mix until combined.  Pour into a muffin tin or 12 small canning jars, sprayed with pan spray.  The batter is very thick, so you’ll want to spread it out a bit.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 1
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 1

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes if you’re using jars.  It will probably take less with a tin.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 2
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 2

I originally planned to sprinkle these with powdered sugar and stop there, but I knew the family would like them better with cream cheese frosting.  Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turns out, all I had was a tub of pineapple cream cheese.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-oz tub pineapple cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1 – 2 teaspoons almond milk (any liquid will do)

Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar with a mixer, adding milk as necessary to gain the desired consistency.  Frost cupcakes.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 3
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 3

I can’t even begin to tell you how good these are.  They’re a little sweet, so next time I’d probably use plain cream cheese, but the pineapple flavor with the carrot cake is worth it.  It also makes them rich enough that one is enough, which is a good thing when it comes to desserts.  I put them in the refrigerator a couple of hours before anyone ate one, and they’re especially good cold.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 4
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes 4

I’m anxious to try these with some other flavors and fruit.  Chocolate and banana anyone?

Friday Favorites–Cupcakes

My poor son had his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday.  They hadn’t even come through his gums yet and were mostly sideways, so they had to put him under and dig all four of them out.  He looks a little chipmunkish and hasn’t progressed beyond soup, pudding and milkshakes.  New Year’s Eve is coming, and I was trying to come up with something he’d be able to eat that wasn’t chewy or crunchy.  The light bulb came on today – cupcakes.

Since this round-up is out of sympathy for my boy, most of these are based on his favorite things.  The hardest part will be deciding which to make for the weekend.

With eggnog season winding down, this Eggnog Cupcake from Annie’s Eats might be our choice  - while we still have some of it in the fridge.

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This is how I know the boy is mine – he loves coconut just as much as I do.  He and I would have these Pina Colada Cupcakes from Glorious Treats all to ourselves.  Hmm…

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If a cupcake is based on a breakfast food, you can eat it for breakfast, right?  I wouldn’t mind testing that theory with these French Toast Cupcakes from Housewife in Training.

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You can never go wrong with this combination, so there was no doubt these Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction had to make the list.

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Whenever I’m in the mood to make cookies and I ask the house in general what kind they should be, my son always pipes up with “Molasses!”  He would love these Gingersnap Cupcakes from Picky Palate.

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I can’t say I really care how these Cupcake Poppers from Betty Crocker taste.  They’re just pretty.

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Just looking at these Lemonade Cupcakes from Cooking With Sugar makes my mouth water.

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This is one of the flavors of pudding my son has been eating this week, so these Cookies and Cream Cupcakes from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen might have to wait a bit, but this recipe is still a keeper.

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Root beer was my son’s favorite drink before I let him start having caffeine.  He still likes it, but not as much as he likes staying up all night playing video games once in a while.  He’d probably still like these Root Beer Cupcakes from Whatever Dee-Dee Wants on those nights he actually wants to sleep.

root beer cupcakes 1

Speaking of his new favorite drink, how about some Mountain Dew Cupcakes from All Things Cupcake?  There’s a New Year’s Eve cupcake if ever there was one!

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I sooo want a cupcake now.  Time for a pre-holiday test run.  You know, for the sake of research.