Graduation, the Baking Edition

So I teased you with York Pieces and peanut butter fudge cookies last week, and since I'm a teacher now, I think it's time for a quiz.  Add in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  How could these three ingredients relate to cupcakes and graduation?
Need a hint?  Look no further than What's New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  I kind of borrowed/tweaked their idea.   You have no idea how many people asked me if it was my original idea.
They have hair sticking out from under their graduation caps.  I can totally see why she would have done it that way -- once the caps are on, it looks as though there's a bunch of graduates sitting there in front of you.  However, I liked the simpler look.  So I just surrounded mine with blue sugar -- my school color, of course.

Anyway, if last weekend was Graduation/moving/saying goodbye craziness, this weekend was party craziness.  Honestly, I would have chosen to postpone the party for a while . . . now that it's over, it seems like graduation is really OVER for real, minus the graduation confetti ALL over the house.  In high school, graduation went on forever, since everyone lived in the same area, and  parties went on for weeks and weeks.  Yesterday basically just ended my graduation season.  Now that it's happened and it was a great day, I think I'm content with it being done.  It seems complete some how.

Ok, enough reflecting for today.  Too much thinking, not enough food.  On to the baking.
I am ashamed to admit that I used cake mixes for the cupcakes.  But, I feel justified.  First of all, I needed four dozen (that's a lot, in my book), AND I got out of school on Friday, went to pick up a dress for a wedding I'm in, drove home in the Friday-afternoon-of-Memorial-Day-weekend traffic and then had less than 24 hours to make and decorate cupcakes, sleep, help set up a party and visit with family.  So, I think I was justified in using cake mix.  Oh, and a hint about cake mix cupcakes: if you follow the directions and only fill the cups up 2/3 of the way, you will get 24 cupcakes.  Exactly.  Every time.

I made half chocolate and half vanilla.  And they actually got eaten at about the same rate.  I'm impressed.
At that point, it was time for bed.  Decorating cupcakes and being exhausted are a bad combination.  Like drinking a big cup of coffee right before bed.  So starting the next morning, it was time to decorate.  Baking the cupcakes is all well and good . . . it involves using a KitchenAid mixer, measuring, the like, but decorating is really the FUN part.
The humidity added a little chaos to the whole baking thing.   You know it's humid when the cupcakes leave a layer of cupcake goo on the counter when they fall, top down, of course.
I just frosted them in regular vanilla frosting, putting a mini Reese's cup in the middle somewhere.  I chose not to put them all centered in the middle, something the weather almost made me regret later, but I liked the whimsy that it did eventually create.
Then, I spread a dab of frosting on top of the Reese's cup and stuck on a peanut butter fudge cookie.  If you can't find these, any square, chocolate covered cookie or candy would work (think After Eight Mints).
At this point, it was starting to get pretty hot and humid, so I put them in the fridge to solidify while I finished the other flavor.  Thankfully, there really wasn't a problem keeping the "mortar boards" on -- I was concerned that they might slide off, but they didn't.  The humidity and hot did make them sag a little after being out for hours at the party, but there were no major casualties.  Hey, after a long, hot ceremony, mortar boards tend to slip down anyway, don't they?  They were just being accurate to life.
Then, I used York Pieces to make the button on the cap -- I just piped a couple very thin lines of some dyed frosting (blue, of course!), and stuck it on.  I think they are a little smaller than M&Ms, so I like how they looked, but obviously, the fact that they come in blue and white was an important consideration in their favor. The fact that they taste wonderful didn't hurt either.
Then, voila!  A sea of mortar boards.  JDR came in and asked me, "Did you really make cupcakes for your own party?"  And my reply was, "of course I did!"  -- when else will I have the opportunity to use the graduation cupcakes?
Also, just FYI, one of the best post-party-leftover quick meals possible: leftover crackers and cheese with a granny smith apple.  Try it sometime.

Comments

  1. Enjoyed this article. Wish we could have been there.

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