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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Today is the second annual ZS Thanksgiving. It is a time for the Zombie Squad to gather from near and far and spend quality time with each other while eating good food and drinking until merry. I, of course, was responsible for the dessert. I didn't have much time, so I went with a cake mix-based recipe that turned out as moist and delicious as a scratch-made recipe. I also needed to find an alternative to cream cheese buttercream, since some people attending the feast have dietary restrictions. I searched through my notebook of flavor ideas and found Honey-Ginger Buttercream. The recipe for the cupcakes are as follows:
  • 1 box Duncan Hines space cake mix
  • 1 box (3.4oz) Jello Pumpkin Spice pudding mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
1) Preheat the oven at 350 and place paper cups in cupcake pan.
2) Mix all ingredients for 30 seconds on low, then stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl (as well as the paddle). Continue to mix for 2 minutes on medium. Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture into each baking cup.
3) Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean.

While the cupcakes were cooling, I started on the Honey-Ginger Buttercream. The recipe I used makes about 4 cups of icing, which is just enough to make 24 roses with leaves.
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Beat the butter until creamy, then add the powdered sugar and beat on high until smooth.

2) Add the honey and ginger.
Love the smell of fresh ginger!
*spray the measuring cup with pan release before measuring your honey!*
3) Beat for another minute or so before adding the vanilla. Then continue to beat on high for 3-4 minutes until nice and fluffy.
The consistency of the buttercream is kind of like a stiff Swiss Meringue without all the muscle involved. So it was perfect to hold a rose shape.
And 23 more...

After I made all of the roses I needed, I used the rest to make leaves. It worked out perfectly, and I didn't have much buttercream left over.

I only used two teaspoons of ginger because I didn't want the flavor of the ginger to overwhelm the honey flavor. Feel free to add another teaspoon if you're feeling spicy!

And of course these cupcakes aren't specifically for Thanksgiving. They are perfect for any fall occasion, or if you're a pumpkin-hoarder like me, they are perfect for any time of the year!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (and have a safe Black Friday!)

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