Sunflower Cupcakes :)

(Thanks Manuel for this great pic!)

These cupcakes just make me smile.  They are so cheery and summery and they were pretty fun to make, despite being quite an adventure with a lot of obstacles…

I got the Hello, Cupcake book about 6 months ago, and had previously only made a few of the cupcakes. I flip through it every once in a while, but I feel like I need a special occasion to make such fancy cupcakes.  Finally, I found out we were having a work party and I immediately jumped on the chance to make something exciting.

I was planning on using regular old Duncan Hines cake mix and Betty Crocker frosting because a) I knew it would be enough work decorating and b) I have yet to find a yellow cake recipe or frosting recipe that beat the store-bought.  Yeah… I know. I can’t help it, I love me some chemical filled, food-colored, quick and dirty desserts.

However, I didn’t have any cake mix around the day I was making the cupcakes (a day before decorating), so I decided to try out this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  But then I didn’t have any cake flour or buttermilk, so I used all-purpose and half milk, half yogurt. THEN I filled the cupcake tins way too full (I always get over excited with dreams of big fluffy cupcakes).  This resulted in cupcakes that burned on the edges and undercooked in the center.  I salvaged most of them, but had to through away about 6.

When it came time to decorate, I found that it was way too hard to use canned frosting to do the petals.  The frosting was way too gooey and the petals looked awful.  I made a run to the store and got two tubes of that good ole Cake Mate decorating frosting and it worked like a charm. ALSO these cupcakes are supposed to have leaves made out of fruit roll-ups, but the box I bought contained zero green ones… so I had to skip that. The flowers are just made with regular and mini oreos, and the lady bugs are red M&Ms with black frosting piped on.

These cupcakes were a big hit and definitely worth the effort, despite all the little hurdles I had to cross. I didn’t love the actual cake – which may be the recipe or may be my substitutions/mixing skills. Someone said it tasted like cornbread… hmm.   It was definitely tasty, but I will have to continue my search to find a homemade rival to Mr. Hines…. If you want to try it for yourself, head on over to Smitten Kitchen.

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