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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Never Say Never

One of the great benefits of being accepted to college Early Decision, is that by mid-December the deed is done.  Your kid is in, and assuming they don't completely screw up, they're all set for the fall.  Early Decision is a magical thing. It takes all the drama out of the senior year.  I'm a big fan of anything that removes drama from my life.

Since Kate has known that she would be attending Bates College (Go ' cats!) since December, she's had lots more time for time wasters like Pinterest.  She has a million "boards" and is constantly "pinning" things.  I'm not sure what the whole point of this is, other than to confuse me, but Kate loves Pinterest.  Whatever...

Apparently Kate has an entire "board" dedicated to baking.  This is amusing because the only thing she has ever baked is a funfetti cake.  Nonetheless,  she recently sent me a link to a cake she thought I should just whip up.  It was a polka dot cake and I have to admit that it was very cute.

Since at the time, I had no need to make a 9 inch polka dot layer cake, I filed the idea away under "never".  When, I ask you, would I ever need to make a polka dot cake?  

Well, you should never say never, because I recently used that cake as inspiration for some Valentine's Day cupcakes for Kate to take to school.

Yes, it's true, I made polka dot Valentine's Day cupcakes and the girls at TESJFG (don't ask) just loved them.  In fact, they were dazzled by my creativity.  Go figure, because I'm sure they all have Pinterest and I'm equally sure they've all perused each other's boards.

Now, here's my disclaimer.  I used cake mix.  Yes, it's true.  I, a purist when it comes to all things food, used cake mix.  This was one of those situations where I was going for the look.  Kind of like when you gird your loins and go into Forever 21 because you know they'll have the cheapest possible version of whatever awful trend your daughter can't live without.  It's easy and it's not a big commitment if it doesn't work out.

So, roll your grocery cart down the cake mix aisle and pick up a couple of mixes and prepare to dazzle.

Like I said.  Never say never.

Recipe:  Polka Dot Cupcakes

* Note:  You will need a cake pop pan to make the polka dots.  They usually have them at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but mine was all out.  Luckily for me, there was a Walmart right next door and they had them in the "As Seen on TV" department.  I never, in  million years, thought I would buy anything from the "As Seen on TV" section of any store, let alone Walmart.

* Another Note:  I made these cupcakes for Valentine's Day, hence the use of red velvet cake for the polka dots.  If you want to make the polka dots other colors, use white cake mix and separate the prepared mix into as many colors as you want.  Use food coloring to to color each portion.

Now... We're ready to start....


1 box white cake mix and ingredients listed on the box
1 box red velvet cake mix and ingredients listed on the box
2 boxes vanilla pudding mix


For the polka dots:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare the red velvet cake mix as per instructions on the box.  Make any of the adjustments listed in the instructions for the cake pop pan.  (Mine instructed to add a box of pudding to the batter to make a denser cake pop.)

Grease and flour the cake pop pan.  Fill the pan with the batter according to the instructions that come with the pan.  Put the top on the pan and bake the pops for 15 minutes.  You may have an "eruption" of extra batter poking out of the top of each cake pop, but it will come right off once the pops have cooled.

Once cooled, remove the pops from the pan and set aside.

For the cupcakes:

Continue heating oven to 350.

Line cupcake pan with paper liners (24).  

Prepare cake mix according to package instructions.  I added a dash of almond extract along with the pudding mix, just to dress up the mix a little.  Use egg whites to make the white cake, so that there is no yellow tinge from the yolks.

Put a little of the batter in the bottom of each cupcake cup.  Put a cooked cake pop on top of that.  Add more white batter so that the cup is about 2/3 full.  Don't worry if the polka dot is not fully submerged in the batter.  It will puff up during baking.

Bake the cupcakes according to the package instructions, making sure that they spring back when you touch them.

Remove from the oven and let cool.  Frost as desired.  


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