Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quickie Christmas Cupcakes

If there is one thing a busy artsy craftsy perfectionist person such as myself has to learn, it's to let go a bit, learn some shortcuts, and make sure you enjoy the little things.

For example, in a busy holiday season such as this one, I find myself embracing the idea of cake mix and pre-made cake decorations, though I admit a little bit of me is sad that I didn't make everything from scratch... and sculpt miniature gum paste toadstools... and crack the secret to a dye free red velvet cake.

But the satisfaction of seeing cheery and cute Christmas cupcakes in my kitchen in no time (compared to the usual Alicia method of 'let's make this as complicated and meticulous as possible') was absolutely worth it!

I've actually never used cupcake picks I didn't make before, and certainly not the cool, kitschy plastic ones that I remember my mom always bemoaned when I was a child (she was not into the whole 'stick some plastic on a cake' thing). But when I saw these, I had to have them!

I just love these plastic button mushrooms and holly decorations I got from Bake It Pretty. There's just something about that retro, plastic greenery I find so very cheery and happy! I just look at it, and it makes me smile.

And I start humming Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.

I can't resist it!

This time the cupcakes were made from a red velvet cake box mix that was on sale, so on a whim, I bought it. I admit, it was the idea of how Christmasy red cupcakes could be that won me over.

Those who know me know about how I am utterly puzzled by the popularity of red velvet cake -- it tastes like nothing to me but vague chocolate and red food coloring. And then there's my unending quest to the mythical recipe for red velvet cake that I'll save for another blog post and another day... but the red cake part is darned cute!

Despite the absolute mess of dealing with a bright red batter (it looked like I had skinned something in my sink), it was pretty painless and the payoff was very holly-jolly, indeed.

But somehow, I did manage to make the cream cheese icing from scratch. As they say (though not in this context) 'the girl can't help it.'

It's a very good thing these didn't take long though, because I'll need my energy tomorrow to prepare for Noche Buena. I've got to get my stirring hand ready for that natilla! Pin It


Ira F. Cummings said...

Sounds like you are looking into it Alicia, but the history of red velvet cake is pretty interesting. I won't get into it, but the secret to not using Red #5 is beets. For real.

These cupcakes look awesome, and my first thought was "piranha plants" from Mario! But yeah, holidays work too.

alicia policia said...

Yeah, my Red Velvet Cake Chronicles didn't make it to the bog yet, but it very well may!

I've tried beets, but have only received pinky brown cake as a result. And it was a LOT of work! Hence, this time round, sale box mix = quasi instant gratification.

Anyway, I'm of the opinion that the 'origin' story of red velvet cake is a myth -- the one where it was the cocoa's reaction to acidic ingredients that turned it red...

But I'll go further into the why of that some other day... Just a hint, it involved litmus paper.

Anyway, piranha plants -- very cute! I hadn't thought of that!

Ellen said...

What a great idea! thank you! ...smiles.

Bobbi said...

I am a huge fan of boxed cake. It's sooooo easy. But for a cake connissuer (sp? iPhone isn't helping here) like yourself, I'm sure your could hardly stomach the idea of red velvet boxed cake.

Oh, and I am heading over know to check out the plastic decorations!! Thanks for linkage!!