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Deadline Friday for Cupcake Wars

August 8, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor ( , The Herald-Star

Cupcakes, the most chosen dessert for children's birthdays and carrying away from home on picnics, have become more than a trend over the years, they have become an industry.

From mini-size to ones almost as big as a saucer, cupcakes can be sent for a birthday or anniversary, as a thank-you gift or just to say you care. Or they can be served at home just because you want a one-serving size dessert.

Sprinkles, a popular cupcake business started by Candace Nelson, a high-tech banker who was out of work and needed to earn money, is said to be one of the original cupcake bakeries, according to Family Circle magazine.

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Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes with Strawberry icing are a real treat. The Jefferson County Farm Bureau is looking for teams to participate in a Cupcake War at the Jefferson County Fair on Aug. 16. The deadline is Friday. Details are in the story.
-- Esther McCoy

There are many types and sizes of tiers that can be used to arrange cupcakes, from the graduated tree effect; square holder; and shapes for all occasions, as with a bell shape for a wedding or anniversary or an animal shape for kiddie's birthdays.

With the high interest in cupcakes, the Jefferson County Farm Bureau promotion and education committee decided to hold a "Cupcake War" at the Jefferson County Fair on Aug. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Since Ohio Farm Bureau is promoting the book "How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?" the P&E committee wanted to carry the theme on throughout in the contest. Cupcakes, with a minimum of 24 and a maximum of 48, are to be arranged in the shape of a lunch box, with the food items found in a nutritious noon meal.

The contest is open for youth between seventh and 12th grades and adults. One member of the three-person team should be a member of Farm Bureau. If not, the county Farm Bureau will give a gift membership to the team, according to Mary Ellen Grafton, P&E chairman.

The deadline is Friday for entering by calling Grafton at (740) 282-8397 or the Farm Bureau office at (740) 266-6603.

It should be an interesting contest. You can bid on the finished product and have it for your own enjoyment.

This recipe from Candace Nelson was in the June Family Circle magazine. She is the one who opened the cupcake shop called Sprinkles.

Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes with

Strawberry Frosting

1 cup bourbon

1 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

11/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard cupcake pans with 24 muffin liners. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, simmer bourbon and butter. Slowly whisk in cocoa power until mixture is creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile whisk sugar, flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sour cream with an electric mixer. Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture.Combine on low speed. Slowly add flour and sugar mixture, combining on low speed until completely incorporated. Fill baking cups three-fourths full. Bake for about 22 minutes. Cool before frosting with the following icing.

Strawberry Frosting

1 cup whole fresh or frozen and thawed strawberries

2 cups unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold

Pinch of coarse salt

7 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Puree strawberries in the bowl of a food processor. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar and beat until well combined.

Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons of strawberry puree, saving remainder for another use. Do not overmix; consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. Use to frost the cupcakes and freeze any that might be left for another use. How about putting some between two graham crackers for a jiffy dessert?

Angelina Dickson gave me this recipe back in the spring. She received it from one of the ladies from her church and tells me that they are "most delicious."

Kool-Aid Cupcakes

Box of white cake mix

6 tablespoons Kool-Aid, sugar sweetened soft drink mix, any flavor. You need 4 tablespoons for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the icing

16-ounce can vanilla frosting

1 cup thawed whipped topping.

Prepare cake batter as directed but blend in 4 tablespoons of the drink mix. Put into cupcake pans. Bake as directed on the box for cupcakes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove to cool completely. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons of Kool-Aid with frosting in a medium bowl until well blended and gently stir in whipped topping. Top cupcakes with frosting and keep refrigerated until ready to eat. Be sure to refrigerate the remainder.

This recipe came from the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association Cookbook for 2008. It was made into a round cake, but I chose to make cupcakes and frost with caramel frosting.

Honey Chocolate


2 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

3 squared unsweetened chocolate, melted

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift and measure flour, adding soda and salt. Sift together three times total. Cream shortening and gradually add honey, beating well after each addition to keep mixture thick. Add a fourth of the flour mixture and beat until smooth and well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate and blend. Add remaining flour, alternately with water, beating very well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat again. Put into 24 cupcake sections that are filled with paper liners and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Frost with Caramel Icing.

Caramel Icing

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 tablespoon corn syrup

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup butter or margarine

2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

4 tablespoons hot milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil first four ingredients to 235 degrees on a candy thermometer or to the soft ball stage when a small amount is dropped in cold water. Combine butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk; beat until smooth. Pour hot syrup over confectioners' sugar and butter mixture. Beat until thick and creamy. Spread on cupcakes. If it starts to get too thick, add a few drops of milk and beat well.

This recipe was on the Internet and is a version of the Rice Krispie bars but in a cupcake paper and frosted.

Crunch-A-Bunch Cupcakes

3 tablespoons butter

10-ounce package, about 40 regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Canned frosting

Assorted sprinkles and candies

Line 12 2 1/2-inch muffin pan cups with paper or foil bake liners and set aside. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and strawberry extract. Add Rice Krispies cereal and stir until well coated. Evenly divide warm mixture into prepared cupcake pans. Using buttered hands, gently press down, leaving tops slightly rounded. Spread with frosting and sprinkles or candies if desired. Serve immediately or store uncovered in refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Remove from refrigerator one hour before serving.

Note: For best results, use fresh marshmallows. A 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream can be substituted for marshmallows. Diet or reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended. It will make the Rice Krispies soggy. These are 150 calories per cupcake, unless the frosting is spread on very thick.

This recipe is from a 1940s Crisco Cookbook. It was given to me by a friend, but I remember my mom having a Spry shortening cookbook that featured Aunt Jenny that was much like this. This book, although a bit battered, reminds me of that book, and I made many cakes and cookies from it.

Old-Fashioned Cocoa Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

2/3 cup Crisco

2/3 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, soda, Crisco and 2/3 cup milk for 2 minutes. Stir in the baking powder, egg and egg yolk, 1/3 cup milk and vanilla. Beat for another 2 minutes. Fill cupcake tins, lined with paper liners, one half full. Bake in 375 oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Since there is one egg white left, you could make a fluffy frosting that is known as Boiled Icing in the book but it reminds me of the 7-Minute Frosting that my mom would make.

Boiled Icing

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put sugar, water, salt and corn syrup in sauce pan and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil, covered, for about 3 minutes. Beat egg whites until stiff. Uncover syrup and boil without stirring until a small amount forms a firm ball in cold water, 242 to 244 degrees on the candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour slowly over beaten egg whites. Beat until it is fluffy and of a consistency to spread.

(Mccoy can be contacted at

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