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Minnesota Cooking: Cupcakes and Frosting

Updated on February 19, 2017


When my granddaughters arrived, they announced that they had been told that grandma had a peanut butter machine and that they were going to get to make peanut butter.

Peanut butter. Well, I made the peanut butter the day before when I got my new machine, so I had to think of something else that we could make that would be entertaining. Well. I thought I had a box of cake mix, and I thought that I had some cupcake papers.

I wasn't sure. Upon checking the pantry, I did locate the papers and did find the cake mix. I had purchased the cake mix for a different project, but cupcakes for today seemed like a good end.

How About Cupcakes?

Do you like cupcakes, I asked them? Yes.

Well. Do you want to make some? To which, they both said, yes. I rummaged around in the cupboard and found a cupcake tin, which is a metal pan that has twelve holes in it to hold the cupcake papers steady while you fill them with batter.

I ran some hot water and some dish soap on it, just to make sure that it was somewhat clean. Then, we dried it so we could start.

The five year old helped me put a paper in each pocket. These papers had a foil wrapper. I'm assuming that you could try to make free standing cupcakes with a baking sheet, but I'm not that adventurous or brave. We used the cupcake tin.

After the batter was made, I poured the batter into each paper. I filled them to the brim. I know somewhere it says to fill them half full, but I filled them all the way up. I even had a little batter left over. I discarded the extra batter. It amounted to another cups worth, but, we had enough.


Well, I knew that for cupcakes you needed cupcake papers. I have never made cupcakes before. I'm sure these wraps have been around since my kids lived at home. Which, has been about five years.

Good thing paper doesn't have an expiration date.

[you know, Ewww, you used an expired cupcake paper???]

Big Show

Well, so I made a big deal of showing my five year old the box and showed her the pictures that they give on the box for building the cupcakes.

Together we deciphered the pictures of oil, water and the eggs. I got out a glass measuring cup and explained about the symbols or fractions on the glass. I showed her how they matched the directions on the box.

My Dad Makes Cupcakes

I was told, as a matter of fact, that her dad makes cupcakes for them, all the time.

Ahah. That's probably why I have cupcake papers. It was probably him, then, that was the cupcake person in the house,way back when he lived with me. Long before this little child, my fellow baker, was around.

You know, if I'd ever throw anything away, I probably would not have had cupcake papers, but, being the pack rat that I am, I stil have them. Ah, well. Good thing.

The Box Said

The box showed a picture of oil, water and eggs.

I mentioned that when you make cake, you must put the dry cake mix in the bowl first and add your water, oil and eggs to it. If you put your wet in first, the dry cake mix will sit on the top of the surface of the wet stuff and will lump up.

That much I knew. I've had a horrible history with cake baking. Almost embarrassingly horrible luck with cakes. Now, bars I can make. You know, cakes that are supposed to fall and become flat.

Cakes, on the other hand, are supposed to be the embodiment of the act of adding air to your mix and are supposed to turn out puffed up and elegant.

The Chair and the Mixer

After we got the ingredients in the bowl, I had the five year old run the mixer. You know the drill. Put the mixer in the bottom, and move it around. Don't lift it up. Grandma doesn't want to clean her window off. The three year old was trying to watch. Of course, my mothering instinct kicks in full time when I have small kids around.

I had to harp on a few things: Don't fall of the chair. Be careful. Stop pushing. Let me get you another chair. Watch out. Be careful.

The Batter and the Mixer

The five year old was a brave soul, holding that mixer steady in the batter for the two minutes that was required.

Meanwhile the Oven Was Preheating

The oven was on and waiting. I believe that it had to be set at 375 degrees. For different types of cake, the cook time changes.

For cupcakes, you cook them for 19 minutes and then, check for doneness.

They are done when you do one of two things. Either take a finger and poke at the top of the cupcake. When done, they'll resist your finger like a little button. The finger method is perhaps not a safe method. The toothpick method is that you poke a toothpick into the center of the cupcake, and when you pull it out, there should be no wet batter on the pick. If it is dry, it's done.

The temperature of the cupcakes was 220 degrees when we removed them from the oven.

Cool for 10 Minutes

Before you take them out of the tin, you must let the pan cool for 10 minutes. I suppose it is like anything else. You must let the cake set.

Frosting and Decorations

I found a butter cream frosting in one of my cookbooks. I made a half batch of frosting.

2 cups of confectioners sugar

6 tablespoons of melted butter

less than 1/4 cup of milk

capful of vanilla flavoring

Mix the butter with the sugar and then, mix the milk and vanilla together and put into the frosting. I then whipped the mixture with the mixer until it was thick and creamy. This recipe is gooey to start with, but thickens with time. the outside hardening into a slightly crispy outside, with a ooey-gooey inside.

We mixed a half cup of frosting with yellow food coloring and a half cup of frosting with red food coloring to make some yellow and pink cupcakes. The rest of the cupcakes, we left the creamy white color.

I had some miniature chocolate chips, so we put smiley faces on the cupcakes. The girls took the majority of cakes home with them to share with their mother. The last four cakes, we left for grandpa to eat.

I, on the other hand, gladly gave up my cupcakes, because I am not a fan of cupcakes.

Cast your vote for frosted cupcakes


  • 1 box Cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon or capful vanilla
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 drop food coloring

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 19 min
Ready in: 39 min
Yields: 24 cupcakes


  1. Heat oven to 375 or recommended temperature for your baking dish. Mix cake mix. Pour into cupcake papers. Bake.Let Cool. Make frosting. Frost. Eat.


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