Baseball in the Capitol

I meant to tell you that I broke down and bought some ridiculous/awesome clearanced mittens while we were in Georgetown.  The tips of the mittens are neon.  So so neon.  Sometimes I would get dizzy waving them in front of my face.   Here’s Rachel and I at the Air and Space museum.  Let’s be honest.  You can’t really see much in this picture other than my mittens.  So neon, right?photo-12

Ok, so moving on to Friday.

We went to a Nationals baseball game!  It was only an exhibition game, but still exciting to see a new (to us) ballpark and to take in our first baseball game of the season.  And it was against the Yankees (booooo).  So it was pretty clear which team to cheer for.

Highlights of the Nationals Stadium:

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  • Walking in an immediately meeting presidents.  Awesome!

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  • Reading about the history of baseball in DC (seriously, what was up with the way players posed for their pictures?

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  • Eating cupcakes at the stadium.  Seriously an inspired idea.

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  • In Minnesota, mascots do the race to target field.  In DC they have the presidential race.  It filled our hearts with much joy.

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Lowlights:

The wind.  It was out of control.  We were beyond freezing.  And desperate times call for desperate measures.

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Oh, and we meandered by the white house in the morning.  That will be a much cuter ending to this post.  Here is me and Rachel. And you can even kind of see the white house behind us.  Oh selfies.  (Fun fact, I recently learned that selfies is a thing the people say.  I was on a photo scavenger hunt and I used context clues to figure out what it meant.  Because I’m hip and with the times.image_2

Banana Split Cupcakes

This year I am so lucky to teach Sunday School with Rebecca, Bethany, and Brieanne.  We have a crazy big class of kindergarten and first graders.  Fortunately they are awesome little genius children who are super fun to hang out with and don’t mind squishing around a table together.  

Here are some of the reasons these girls are awesome to teach with – if you have children you should probably recruit them to teach your kids Sunday school.

(p.s. I’ve had some great co-teachers in the past, so if you are one of them, please know that I like you too!) 

  1. They are all really easy to get along with.
  2. They are all hilarious.
  3. They are all GREAT with kids.  Seriously – our styles of teaching just mesh so well together.  And we all have the same standards we hold the kids to, so it is seamless transitions from week to week as we rotate the teaching schedule.
  4. They plan super fun lessons.  Things like making temples out of graham crackers and frosting when learning about King Solomon, and going into a small dark room and spritzing the air with water when learning about Jonah.
  5. They are so excited about teaching the little kiddos about Jesus.  Their joy is contagious.
  6. They are basically just generally all around awesome.

Naturally I decided that we should probably be friends outside of Sunday School, away from all the small children.  So I invited them over to bake!  

It was a great time.  I don’t know if there has ever been so much laughter in my kitchen (and I’ve baked with some pretty hilarious friends before).  

We tackled an insane looking recipe from Annie’s Eats: Banana Split Cupcakes.  I picked it for two reasons: it looked like a lot of work, so it seemed like a good team effort cupcake; and there was a general love of banana floating around our e-mail thread. 

What does this cupcake consist of, you ask?

A banana cupcake.

Filled with a strawberry and pineapple.

Topped with whipped cream.

Drizzled with chocolate ganache.

Sprinkled with sprinkles.

And with a cherry on top.

Can you say AMAZING??

And yes, we are quite proud of ourselves. 

A Double Dessert Review

I feel the need to share with you about two most recent things I have baked.  I feel this way because I generally share my baking successes and failures with you all.  And good news: today I have two baking success stories to recommend to you.

First of all, I think we can all agree that nothing says Christmas like Toffee Crunch Cupcakes.  Ok, maybe I can think of a few things that might say Christmas a little bit better: gingerbread cupcakes, eggnog cupcakes, peppermint mocha cupcakes, etc.  However unfortunately I did not think of these things before I saw how amazing the Toffee Crunch Cupcakes looked.  And they looked delish.  They are a smidge time intensive, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Step 1: Bake the cupcakes.

Step 2: Make the chocolate ganache.  Chill the chocolate ganache.  Frost the outer ring of the cupcake with chocolate ganache.  Roll this in toffee chips.

Step 3: Make caramel merengue frosting.  Frost the cupcakes.

Click here for real directions/the recipe a’la Annie’s Eats as per usual. 

So easy, right?  I may have been a bit late to Christmas Eve because I didn’t factor in all the heating and chilling needed for these multiple frostings for one cupcake.  But it all worked out in the end.  Look how amazing they are!  And I cannot even tell you how tasty they are. Somehow the toffee does this magic trick where it creates a chocolate cupcake that isn’t so rich you want to die.  It is the perfect amount of not-too-rich that you just want to keep enjoying it.  And the frosting.  Mmm.  Delectable.  So block off a day on your calendar and then run, don’t walk, to this recipe.

Second up is the tuxedo NYE cake.  I know we’ve talked about this before.  We’ve talked about how transporting a 3 layer cake is a bit treacherous.  And we’ve talked about how it can be done with careful driving and a trusty cake-holder.  But I did realize that I never mentioned that the only way I deviated from the original recipe is that I put chopped up strawberries on the frosting in between each layer of cake.  And in my opinion, that totally made the cake.  LOVED.  And have we mentioned that this cake is so good that even your non-cake-loving friend will not only eat it, but also like it??

Also with this cake, there is some cooling time involved between steps, so plan your day accordingly.  People will be impressed by your fancy baking skills, and honestly it wasn’t that hard.  You can do it!

Click here for the recipe.

Now the two questions that remain are what should I bake for my church’s annual meeting and what should I bake for my cousins’ post-Christmas dinner.  Any suggestions?

If I were a different me…

If I were a different me, I would live in New York City in a neighborhood like this. 

And I would work in a bakery like this. 

Pretty much this would be my dream job – making beautiful and delicious treats for people to enjoy all day long, surrounded by walls that are my favorite color: fancy antique blue. (special thanks to the Leberts for teaching me the name of this color!)  Magnolia Bakery’s website says, “With its vintage American desserts and decor, customers often remark that walking into the Bakery is like taking a step back in time.”  Combine that with fancy sweets, and it is pretty much perfect – vintage with a splash of fancy happens to be my favorite.  I love the clean feel, the cozy sweet scent in the air, and the antique baking supplies decorating the walls. 

I would make seasonal delights like this: a gingerbread cupcake with a vanilla bean meringue frosting (I decided that maybe I bake too much when Rachel asked me what kind of frosting was on my cupcake, and I could tell just by looking at it that it was a meringue.) 

And I would make things that aren’t my favorite, such as carrot cake cupcakes, for others, because not everyone has the same favorite tastes. 

After work, I will sit in the window seat and drink my peppermint tea while gazing out at the bustle of the city.  It will be bliss. 

But I am not a different me.  So even though I think that life would be perfectly lovely, I would miss my sweet kiddos who cry when they apologize for kicking me, and who tell me every day that I still look like Princess Peach.  I guess I will stick with the teaching gig, but it is fun to dream.  I will stick with baking in my own little kitchen, and gazing at fancy antique blue objects at my friend’s house.  It is almost the same, right? 

Well done, Magnolia Bakery.  I will do my best to visit you again one day. Good job on opening and running the bakery of my dreams.   Slow clap for you. 

Back on the Kitchen Road Paved with Happiness and Sprinkles

Over breakfast one morning at a women’s church event, I was chatting with Michelle, and decided she is pretty great and that we should probably be friends.  She said if I ever was looking for a baking mentee, she would be interested, and I said, “I love baking dates with friends!  Let’s get something on the calendar!”  and she said, “Ok!”  and we went to our calendars and cookbooks (aka the internet) and decided to make a delicious fall cupcake.  Well, she said fall and I said cupcake.  I’d been eyeing the Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcake from Annie’s Eats for a while now, so it worked out perfectly.  I’d say our baking ventures were a smashing success.  Here is a photo of the incredibly delicious finished product.  (Seriously, so good.  I can’t recommend this recipe highly enough!) 

At one point in the morning, we made an grocery emergency run to the store.  It is not my favorite grocery store, as the lines are often real slow.  This morning though, the lines weren’t the problem, but rather, the lady in front of me was.  I didn’t really appreciate her turning around, insulting me, and then doing impressions of me that sound like a Valley Girl.  If you think that is the way to win friends and influence people, you have some learning to do.  I might suggest starting here.  Suffice it to say, me and Mean Grocery Lady are never going to be besties.  I chose not to kick her in the shins, but on the way home, Michelle did point out that if you are wearing green velour pants, you probably should not be dispensing unsolicited (or solicited) advice.

Part of her spiel had to do with being unprofessional and teenager-like.  I about died laughing yesterday when we were playing sight word memory in kindergarten, and a little girl looked at me and said, “how come you can play the game with us even though you are a teenager?”  to which another child responded incredulously, “You are a teenager?”  Clearly Mean Grocery Lady’s influence is spreading…. 

I digress.  Back to the cupcakes.  In summary, they were delicious, Michelle is awesome, and you should bake these cupcakes.  You could even invite Michelle and Mean Grocery Lady over if you want to recreate the full baking experience.  At the very least, I would recommend reading her re-cap of the morning.  She talks about the actual baking experience, including how to find your baking best friend (BBF) and highlights fun steps like, “paint the top of the cupcake with freshly brewed coffee”  (this is perhaps my favorite baking step ever.  Like, totally.)

Click here for a link to Michelle’s fun post

Click here for a link to the original recipe

Sprinkling a cupcake with disaster.

Rachel’s birthday was on the most beautiful fall day ever.  We decided we’d make it a day of fall fun followed by hanging out with friends at her house to party it up that night.  Naturally, cupcakes were in order.  After all, it was a birthday, right?  I asked Rachel what kind she wanted and she found this recipe for Apple Pie Cupcakes.  I thought to myself, “those look pretty tasty!  But I just think they could be even better.”  So I did some googling and found THIS: Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.  Picture it (or look at the picture below): a cinnamon cupcake with apple pie filling and caramel frosting.  A little bit of fall heaven, right? 

Sometimes I say, “Read this and find out how to make delicious treats!”

Today I will say, “Read this and learn how NOT to make delicious treats.  Then after you read, click on the link to the original recipe and learn how the pros competent people do it.”

The first thing to keep in mind is that you probably shouldn’t bake if you are feeling 100%.  I mean, what fun is that?  Where is the drama if you are awake, coherent, and healthy?  Boring!

The second thing is you definitely shouldn’t check and make sure that you have all of your ingredients.  Absolutely do what I did and just start baking.  I’m sure you’ve got what you need!  Then, when you realize that you don’t have corn starch, you can have a total meltdown and flee your house, nearly in tears, leaving a confused roommate in your wake.

Another thing is you probably don’t want to have an awesome roommate who will help you finish the cupcakes when she sees how emotionally unstable you are while working around dangerous things like knives and hot ovens.  

Oh, and before I forget, try to not mix the batter well.  It will be so much more fun if you think it is odd how runny the batter is, double check the recipe, shrug your shoulders, and move forward with the baking.  Merrily scoop the batter-soup into the cupcake liners.  Then shake your head with dismay and sorrow as you reach towards the bottom of the mixing bowl and come up with chunks of batter-glop that clearly should have been mixed with the batter-soup.   At this point you can oh-so-carefully pick up each soupy-filled liner, and squeeze the batter back into the mixing bowl to try again.  Now you have effectively wasted enough cupcake batter to go from a double batch to a 1.5 batch of cupcakes.  Think of all the time you are saving yourself in the frosting stage!  Less cupcakes = Less work.

Now just put the cupcakes in the oven to bake!  While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the apple pie filling.  After the cupcakes are cool, use your handy dandy cupcake-corer to take out the middle of the cupcake, spoon in some apple pie filling, and swirl the caramel buttercream frosting on top!  

As a final touch, I would recommend drizzling caramel on top.  If I were you, I would do this as messily as possible so that everyone who eats your delicious creation is a sticky (but happy) mess.

Happy Baking!  Enjoy the little taste of fall-heaven in your mouth after you complete the above steps of fall-not-so-much-heaven.  

p.s.  If this baking plans sounds awful to you, but the cupcakes sound delicious, please click here for the actual recipe and directions for a successful baking experience.  And note that because I am lazy, I used the frosting recipe found here.  I actually really would recommend this recipe to you.  The cupcakes were amazing.  I don’t know how to describe them except to say that taste like everything that fall should taste like.

things that make the first day okay

School started today!  I wasn’t necessarily feeling 100% thrilled about it, but then I got this card, and it reminded me that I SHOULD be 100% excited, because school is 100% awesome.  I got some other much needed encouragement from friends:

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And some great advice: “I’m sure all your children will immediately fall in love with you, and if they don’t, tell them to go home”

And so I decided that I should pass the encouragement on to others.  You might be wondering, “Laura, what form did your first day happiness take?” To which I respond, that is a silly question!  “Naturally, I made First Day of School Cupcakes!”

I will be the first to say that I think they turned out ADORABLE.  But before I go on, I must explain something to you.  And perhaps make a strong request.  Kindergarten teachers do not like it when you call their grade “kinder” and their students “kinders.”  I guess I can’t speak for all teachers everywhere, but where I work, we recently discovered it is pretty much all of our biggest pet peeve.

 If, while leading a staff workshop, you continually refer to kindergarten as “kinder”, the kindergarten teachers may begin to increasingly dislike you, as well as angrily cheer, “you say kinder, we say garten” at their table under their breath.  You might think, “But Laura, It is cool to abbreviate!”  I will let you call my cupcakes “adorbs” instead of “adorable.”  No problem!  You can call me “teach” instead of “teacher” – that just reminds me of my grandpa and makes me smile.  But when it comes to my grade level, please take the additional 0.7 seconds, and say the whole word.  No one wants a kindergarten teacher as an enemy.  Alright, moving right along.  I feel better having gotten that out. 

However, having been through a harrowing experience (such as the hypothetical one mentioned above), if you are a kindergarten teacher trying to think of something cute to write on little chalkboards on cupcakes, feel free to laugh an evil laugh as you frost “kinder” on each chocolate covered graham.  You are hilarious.

So, the nitty gritty: the cupcakes and frosting at these Strawberry Cupcakes from Annie’s Eats. The chalkboards are chocolate covered graham crackers and the words are frosting.  The apples are cherry sour candies with melting chocolate piped stems and leaves stuck on top.  If you care more than I do, I’d recommend shorted stems to promote the apple look over the cherry look.  But if you don’t care more than I do, just do what feels right, and assume people will go apple because it is with a chalkboard.  The chalk is a white good ‘n’ plenty.  

Delicious!  (well, in theory, I haven’t actually tried them yet.  But I do have one in the fridge with my name on it.  Well, it actually says Kinder, but I know it is meant for me).

Eat a cupcake and survive your first day of school.  That is my motto.  Or, since I have clearly just admitted that A) I have not eaten a cupcake and B) I did in fact survive, perhaps my motto can be found in this conversation that was repeated all day:

Student: I want to go home now.

Teacher: Yep, me too.  We still have more learning to do though.

Or this one:

Student: I like coming to school.

I’ll let you decide which one better reflects my thoughts and feelings on being back at work 😉 

In the jungle, the mighty jungle…

Welcome to part 3 of baby shower baking, in which I tell you about making the jungle animal cupcakes, and then we can safely move on to bigger and better things, like the MN State Fair, returning to work, Friday Fundays 3,4, 5, and attending lame Twins games. 

First off, I made two different types of cupcakes.  The main show: the jungle animals, were oreo cupcakes – one of my favorite semi-homemade cupcake recipes.  Here is a link to the recipe from Beantown Baker.  And I’ll fully admit I used store bought frosting.  Sometimes you just have to admit that if there isn’t enough time in the day, and people will enjoy them regardless.

The flamingo cupcakes were strawberry cupcakes, a’la Annie’s Eats.  The frosting was to die for.  I was a bit scared about it, because the last strawberry frosting I made was a bit runny, and the directions seemed a bit intense for this strawberry meringue frosting.  However, having made it, I will say that it tastes like strawberry ice cream, and is among the top five decisions I made in 2011.  Yum!  I used the cupcake recipe posted here and the frosting recipe posted here.

Alright, on to the business of decorating.

I got my inspiration from two sources.  You can find more detail directions on the water animals in this book: What’s New, Cupcake.  The land animals were inspired by Betty, and you can find the deets here.

To decorate the lion cupcake: 

  • I used two shapes of orange frosting
  • The mane is caramel corn
  • The eyes and nose are mini chocolate chips
  • The mouth is piped on from a ziplock bag with the corner clipped
  • The whiskers are pretzels, broken into thirds
To decorate the monkey cupcake:

  • He is frosted with chocolate frosting
  • The mouth area color I created by mixing a little chocolate and a little vanilla frosting together
  • The ears are Junior Mints
  • The mouth is frosting piped on
  • The eyes are a dollop of white frosting piped on with a mini chocolate chip on top
To decorate the zebra cupcake:

  • First let’s say a word about making black frosting.  I did some googling, and the option I went with was starting with chocolate frosting and then adding blue and purple food coloring.  This worked pretty well!
  • Slice along the top of the cupcake liner to create a slit in which you can insert a Nilla Wafer.  Put a little frosting in the hole and/or on the wafer before sliding it in to help it stay put.
  • Frosting the cupcake with white frosting
  • Frost the wafer with black frosting
  • His ears are a black jelly bean cut in half
  • His eyes and nostrils are mini chocolate chips
  • His stripes are black frosting piped on
To decorate the tiger cupcake:

  • Like the lion he is frosted with two shades of orange frosting.  Ooh, here is a note about the orange frosting: I used a lot of red and yellow food coloring to achieve the color orange.  This meant a lot of mixing.  This meant that by the time I was ready to frost the cupcakes, the frosting was a drippy mess.  I put it in the fridge for a bit to firm it up and worked on some other cupcakes in the meantime.  Alright, let’s carry on…
  • His ears are Dots candy
  • His eyes and nose are mini chocolate chips
  • His stripes are triangle shaped and made of black frosting piped on
  • His mouth is also piped on
To decorate the alligator/crocodile cupcake:

  • Note: I made the head in the morning, went canoeing, came back and baked the cupcakes, frosted them, and plopped his head on the top.
  • To make the head shape, I cut off the sides of a Nutter Butter cookie/cracker/sandwich thing to create a triangular face for him.
  • To make him green, there were a couple steps.  1) Put some sugar and green food color in a ziplock.  Shake.  Put the now green sugar in a bowl.  2)  Frost the Nutter Butter, dip in sugar bowl to coat.
  • His nostrils are mini chocolate chips
  • His eyes are green Fruit Loops
  • The book showed teeth piped on with white frosting, but I couldn’t be bothered.
  • I frosted the cupcakes with blue frosting, then rolled the edge of the cupcake in blue sugar (created the same was as the green sugar)
  • Then I threw his head on top and threw the cupcake in the fridge so all the parts could become best friends and it wouldn’t melt apart.
Decorating the hippo cupcake:

  • This hungry, hungry, hippo was the easiest to make.  So if you are just making one animal, he might be a great option.  Adorable, yet simple!
  • Henry’s head (I just decided that is probably his name) is a Nutter Butter.
  • Use a dab of frosting to attach orange fruit loops for the nose and ears, and mini chocolate chip eyes.
  • I put it in the fridge at this point to help everything become one, and I left to canoe.
  • When I can back, I made the cupcakes, frosted them blue, rolled the edges in blue sugar, and set the hippo on top!  Done!
And, the flamingos: 

  • I started with the heads, and used a bit of pink melting chocolate to connect a pink jelly bean with half a Runts banana.  The picture showed eyes and a tiny black dot on the beak, but I was reaching the end of my decorating patience.
  • To create the wings I piped some pink melting chocolate onto wax paper in the shape of wings.
  • The neck is a pretzel dipped in pink melting chocolate and then I carefully attached the head, laid it all on wax paper and put it in the fridge.
  • After frosting the cupcakes, I stuck in all the pieces, and voila!

* With the strawberry cupcakes, I made 2 dozen flamingos and 1 dozen normal cupcakes, which I just shared with friends and family.  They did not come with the shower, but rumor has it, they are a delicious recipe worth repeating.

Oh, and I made the cupcake stand, following Annie’s directions posted here.  A couple of notes:
  1. You can buy the pre-cut circles at Michael’s in the cake decorating area.
  2. I used tacky glue instead of a hot glue gun (because that is what I had available).  It worked!
  3. If you start at night, then finish the next day, put the lid on your glue.  Otherwise in the morning you will stumble out of bed, go back to crafting, pick up the glue and think, “Jeepers, will the glue even still come out?”  You will then look straight down into it, squeeze as hard as you can, the spurts of glue will shoot out and attack your hair.  I mean… hypothetically speaking and all that…

And, I should say that the consensus after the shower was that I should open a bakery.  While I do not have plans to do that (I still am a fan of that teaching gig), if you need cupcakes (not necessarily of the animal variety) for an event/party, let’s talk!  Email me at merrydaysblog@gmail.com.

You are a trooper if you read all of this.  Congrats.  Gold star for you.

Speed Baking: not for the faint of heart

This week was the kind of week dreams are made of for me.  It was packed full of social events and baking.  I pretty much had something different morning, noon, and night, and got to spend time with lots of different family and friends.  Which is ideal, because folks, we are running out of summer, and in just a few weeks, School-Laura will be back.  Summer Laura is a lot more fun and relaxed.  School-Laura is busier than the calendar allows.  So this week I took advantage.

(Don’t ask me why School-Laura is hyphenated and Summer Laura is not.  Sometimes my fingers type and I’ve learned it is better not to question it)

After lunch with friends from work & shopping birthday shopping for my sister, but before celebrating my Grandma’s birthday in the evening, I had given myself a very narrow window to bake cupcakes for my amazing Grandma’s birthday.  Because she is the best, she deserves the best.  I had plans for homemade angel food cupcakes, from, you guessed in, Annie’s Eats.

Unfortunately my narrow baking window was made narrower by my foolish forgetfulness.  

I got home from the store about 20 minutes behind schedule, but knew I would still have enough time.  That is when I saw I had overlooked the word cake, and just read flour.  I thought, “how important could cake flour be?”  But after some speed-googling, I determined that it would not be wise to use flour for angel food cake.  A different recipe it might have been ok.  But light airy cake?  It needs its cake flour.

So I scrambled out the door to Rainbow, where the lines lived up to their usual unbearable length, and I was home at 4:55.  I needed to be at my parent’s house, 30 min away, at 6.  It was not looking good.  I’ve never baked so ferociously in my life.  I popped the cakes in the oven, organized the dirty dishes that I didn’t have time to wash so it would look less like a tornado had come through when my roommate got home, and packed up everything I promised to bring home with me.

the day 2 version of my cupcakes was so much prettier than the unpictured day 1 version

After whisking the cupcakes out of the oven, I thought, “well, you look like angel food cake, I wonder what you taste like?” and then I put half on the wire rack to cool and threw half in my cupcake carrier and ran out the door.

I had plans to make homemade whipped cream frosting, but clearly there was only time for redi-whip.  The redi-whip help up long enough to hold the fresh fruit on top, but melted away pretty quickly after that.  Sorry about that Grandma.  Love you!

The next night I brought the remainder of the cupcakes to my friend Becky’s baby shower.  It was great to see all my co-workers and so exciting to see Becky, who I haven”t seen in forever.  I did plan time between lunch with friends, baby shower shopping, and the shower itself to make some better frosting, and it was worth the effort.  Delicious and beautiful, just the way I like my desserts to be.

Click here for the recipe.

Strawberries Part 2: if only these umbrellas were bigger

In the spirit of warming houses, specifically once again my brother and sister-in-law’s new home, I woke up one morning, just before their party, and thought to myself, “I could bake some cupcakes”.  So I did.

I emailed Rachel a couple options that sounded good to me, and she picked Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes.  She chose well. 

Not only were they so fresh and delicious and light tasting, they also gave me the perfect opportunity to use these darling cupcake liners I got for my birthday. AND they went well with my unintentional, yet awesome, strawberry theme of the week.

My roommate is my unofficial taste-tester, and she said these are her favorite cupcakes I’ve made yet.  Think of summer.  That is what these cupcakes taste like.  

They are a lemon cupcake with fresh cut up strawberries folded into the batter.  After you bake these cupcakes, you poke holes in them and drizzle a little lemonade syrup onto the cake.  This ensures a perfectly moist cake with a perfectly sweet lemon taste.  The frosting is a strawberry cream cheese frosting. Speaking of the frosting, I had tons left over, so this afternoon I spread it on cinnamon graham crackers for a little snack.  Delish.

Apparently my new thing is making half the recipe normal cupcakes and half the recipe as mini cupcakes.  Sometimes a whole cupcake is just a big commitment, you know?  And the mini ones are so darn cute.  

I topped these guys with lemon slices and tiny umbrellas.  When I arrived at the housewarming party, arms loaded down with cupcake carriers, I was a bit sad at the small size of the umbrella decorations, because it had just started raining.  So many umbrellas so close, yet so unusable to protect me from the rain. 

I would highly recommend these cupcakes.  Not only are they adorable, but they were delicious.  I have one left sitting in my fridge.  Feel free to come over and eat it!  As usual, my recipe comes from the cupcake queen at Annie’s Eats.  Click here for the recipe.

They are so good that some friends took a bite, then decided that I will someday be that mom on the block who all the neighborhood kids want to come hang out at my house.  I can’t wait!