I used to think that using a cake mix in baking was a big no no. After all, I wanted my baking to stand out and that meant making it from scratch, no exceptions. After having kids, however, I quickly lost my uppity attitude! So when my middle daughter asked me to do cupcakes for her school's bake sale this week, I used a boxed mix. But I decided to dress it up a little. I used the batter to make a marble cake incorporating my daughter's school colors. I also made homemade icing since I don't like the canned icing from the store. The results were great and my kids were delighted. Good thing too, since school was cancelled today and now they have to eat all of the cupcakes themselves!
1 box (18.25 oz) French Vanilla cake mix, or any white cake mix
eggs, vegetable oil, and water (follow directions on the box)
Prepare cake mix following the directions on the box. Once mixed, remove 2 cups of batter, dividing between two small bowls. Choose two different food colors and tint batters in small bowls as desired. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake paper liners. Fill liners with about 2 tablespoons of plain batter. Add 1 tablespoon of tinted batter. Layer two tablespoons of plain batter over tinted then add 1 tablespoon of other tinted batter. Finish with plain batter. Run a toothpick a few times through batter in a swirling motion to blend colors. Do not over blend. Bake according to box directions. Frost when cool.
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tsps. vanilla
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk, as needed
In a medium mixing bowl, beat shortening and butter together until well blended. Add vanilla and beat for at least 30 seconds. Slowly add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is spreading consistency. Will frost 24 cupcakes generously. Decorate cupcakes as desired.
"We're encouraging them to bring healthy snacks, but when a parent comes up with a tray of sweets, I'm not going to turn them away. I don't want to be the cupcake killer."