cookie monster cupcakes!

I’m sick and tired of subtweets.

Subtweets are basically the epitome of digital passive-agressiveness… precariously bordering on downright aggressive.  According to Urban Dictionary, “subtweet” is short for “subliminal tweet” which is directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name — i.e. talking about someone behind their back (but actually directly in their face on Twitter).

Subtweeting happens all the time at my school.  There is a group of people who think they’re awesome that they always have these “witty” observations about everyone else.

Examples:

“Wearing sunglasses and carrying a purse to school. #whodoyouthinkyouare.”

“I feel so awkward for some people #awkward”

“I love it when girls act like they’re still in middle school. It’s so adorable.” (condescending tone)

The funny thing is, sub-tweeting is probably the most middle school move of all.   So what if a 14-year old is concerned with their eye-health, and likes to carry a purse?  So you feel “awkward” for someone… thanks for sharing! I feel awkward for you, spending hours a day thinking of “witty” little things to say about people on Twitter!  I can see that you “love it when girls act like they’re still in middle school” — that’s what you’re doing!  Yay for self-love!

Subtweeting works the exact opposite of how you want it to.  First, subtweeting just makes you uncool. Second, you’re blatantly admitting that whoever you’re subtweeting about has the influence to occupy your mind. 

Can’t we all just relax a little bit?  Let the sunglasses crew
wear their sunglasses, let the awkward people be awkward, and you all
can just go about acting like middle-schoolers and not bother the rest
of us who just want to read our tweets in peace. I think we should all just eat a cookie and relax, even better, a cookie monster cupcake!   I was inspired to make these by a tweet I saw — I would have seen this tweet sooner if it wasn’t for all of the subtweets I had to scroll through!  *sigh*

But alas, I have realized that this blog post is sort of a “subliminal blog post” against all “subliminal tweeters.”  Oh well, before I dig myself deeper into this icky, subliminal hole, let me show you all how to make cookie monster cupcakes! Yay!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1 batch of your favorite cupcake recipe
24 small chocolate chip cookies, such as Chips Ahoy.  If you’re feeling ambitious you could even make your own!
48 white candy melts (for the eyes)
48 chocolate chips or brown M&Ms (for the pupils)

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
blue food coloring. 
Prepare the cupcakes, and allow to cool fully. 
In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and confectioner’s sugar until blended and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract and blue food coloring and beat for five more minutes. 
Fill a piping tip fitted with a star tip with the blue frosting, and pipe onto cupcakes.  Press two candy melts onto each cupcake as the “eyes” and glue on a chocolate chip with frosting as the “pupils.” Cut each chocolate chip cookie in half, and place upright on the cupcake as the mouth.  Enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

lemon raspberry cupcakes

Surprises are funny, you either love ’em or you hate ’em.
Scratch that. That’s not true at all.  It just sounded like a good hook for this post.
Personally, I’m in the middle.

Sometimes, I like to be in the know.  For example, I set
different ringtones for different people. It takes the anxiety out of
texting. I know whether to stop and reach into my bag on a crowded
escalator, whether to start whistling and
pretend it never went off, or whether to go into full-on panic mode. Do other
people do this? Discuss.

filled with raspberry jam

Other times,  I love to be surprised — like when I bite into one of these seemingly simple cupcakes and discover that they’re filled with my favorite raspberry jam.
One thing’s for sure, I love to surprise people.  On Friday, I organized a surprise birthday dinner for my friend Erin’s 16th birthday.  I told her I wanted to go shopping with her at Bloomies (I bought a pair of shoes for the cause 😉 — but I had actually invited ten of our closest friends for a big surprise dinner at Maggianos. There were a few times that my plan was almost went awry — like when she suggested we go to the mall instead of Bloomies, when I almost asked her in P.E. class what she was going to wear to her surprise dinner (god Erica…), and when the hostess almost led us to our own table for two at Maggianos.

However in the end, the surprise worked out perfectly, and the look on her face when she saw all of our friends was priceless.

Do you like surprises?
With love,
Erica

Lemon Cupcakes:
Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding
mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat
for about two minutes until well combined.
Distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes
spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin
tins for about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients
2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.
Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated.
Finally, mix in vanilla and lemon juice.

To Assemble
Ingredients
Your favorite raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries

Once cool, core each cupcake with an apple corer or a pairing knife.  Fill with raspberry jam.  Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting and garnish with a raspberry.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

red velvet cupcakes

Somehow it has become socially acceptable to dislike Valentine’s Day.  Some people say that it’s a meaningless marketing scam run by card and chocolate companies.  Others try to be witty, saying that we should profess our love every day of the year.


You all need to relax.  I hate Halloween — but you don’t hear me complaining!
I remember in lower school we would get to decorate a big envelope with glitter, puffy paint, and heart shaped doilies. Everyone in the class would exchange cut-out Dora the Explorer valentines and Hershey’s Kisses.  
…and everyone liked Valentine’s Day. 

Fast-forward 5 years, and (unlike a few of my friends) I still like Valentine’s day — maybe I’m a bit biased because I love arts and crafts, chocolate, and sparkly, corny love notes. 

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a day to be sad that you’re single, or rolling your eyes at every lovey-dovey couple you see.   It’s a national holiday, so you might as well get into it. I can’t think of a better way to do that than with cupcakes. There’s something special for everyone (and it all starts with these cupcakes).

If you have a significant other, good for you.  Make a batch of these cupcakes, turn on a good movie or romantic music. Valentine’s Day = done. 
If you’re crushing for someone, an you see a glimmer that he or she might feel the same — maybe you can finally get something going.  What better way to do so than with a cupcake that says “text me” on it.  Bazinga.  Valentine’s Day + new number = done. 
If there is a boy who’s always on your bus, and you’ve been wondering what his name is, what books he reads, and what your children would look like, speak up today! Better an ‘oh well’ than a ‘what if’ right?! If you get a positive vibe, you can go back to your place and give him one of these cupcakes.  New love  + Valentine’s Day = done. 

If you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your girlfriends,  thank them for listening to all of your boy woes for the past year.  Nothing says “thanks for listening” quite like red velvet.

If your friends are all with their boyfriends or they don’t condone Valentine’s day (their loss), it’s all good. Just make these cupcakes and share some with all of the people in your life who touch your heart every day — teachers, little kids in the neighborhood, the ladies at the local community center, and the postman with the really nice smile. 
 
It’s Valentine’s Day, why not spread a little love?

With love, 
Erica

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients 
1 (18.25 ounce) package red velvet cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coffee granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350

degrees F.   Line 24 muffin wells with paper liners.
Beat together the cake and pudding
mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and instant coffee mixture until well combined.
Distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells. (I like to use an ice cream scoop)
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the
cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside
muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

 Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients 


 

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup crisco


8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature


2 teaspoons vanilla extract


5-6 cups powdered sugar


1-3 tablespoons milk

 
Place butter, crisco and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth.
Add
vanilla extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a
time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed
and beat until it begins to get fluffy.


Slowly add the milk until you reach desired consistency.


Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

pina colada cupcakes



I do a lot of wondering
It’s just how my brain works. I’m always asking questions.
Maybe it’s because I’m young, maybe it’s because I’m restless.  I’m probably a little bit of both.




If you could peek into my brain at any given moment, it would look something like this:


What hair color do they put on the driver’s license of a bald man?  How many times will I fall in love? Why does extra sharp white cheddar cheese taste so good on stale Ritz crackers?  Do my socks match today? Why can I never find the tape? If tomatoes are a fruit, isn’t ketchup technically a tomato smoothie? Why do I ask so many questions?  Did I forget to log off of the library computer? Are cats and dogs are really smart and just acting dumb to freeload off humans?  Did the teacher notice I was on Pinterest all class? Can Pokemon only say their name, or are they named after the only thing they can say?



Why do my hands always smell like buttercream?


Ok, so I know the answer to the last question…




It’s because I’ve been going through a total cupcake craze. Borderline full-on obsessed.  I just can’t get enough of piping neat little swirls of buttercream.  I love the big cloud of confectioner’s sugar hovering around my stand mixer and all of the sticky, Ziploc bags of frosting (my mom on the other hand isn’t so enthusiastic…). The first thing I do when I step in the house is preheat the oven to 350 and fill a muffin pan with paper liners.  This has been going on for a while.  I need help.  But for now, just take a look at these Pina Colada cupcakes while I run to the store to buy more confectioner’s sugar.


With love,
Erica




Pineapple Cupcakes:


Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)


Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs
and sugar until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2
minutes).

On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended.
Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined and smooth.
Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and fill about 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes in a pre-heated 350*F oven for about 22 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Frost with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Recipe yields 24-28 cupcakes.


Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting


Ingredients 

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup crisco
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1-3 tablespoons milk

Place butter, crisco and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth.
Add
vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a
time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed
and beat until it begins to get fluffy.

Slowly add the milk until you reach desired consistency.
Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

To Assemble:

Additional Ingredients
sweetened coconut
maraschino cherries

Frost each cupcake with a swirl of coconut cream cheese frosting. Roll in sweetened coconut. Top with a maraschino cherry.  




© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

nutella cupcakes

February 5th is World Nutella Day. Hold on… today is February 5th, and I just serendipitously have a Nutella recipe to share with you all. 

I missed International Bacon Day,  Biscuit Day, and even National Julienne Fries Day (August 12 in case you were wondering…).

I
keep track of time by tests, track practices, hours wasted on
Pinterest, and the occasional high school party — not by the food
blogging calender of seasonal recipes and National Fondant Day.  I baked
with pumpkin in July.  I made pina colada popsicles last week.  #YOLO 

But today, the odds were in my favor. And my crazy little baking whim just happened to coincide with an international holiday.

This is not just any old Nutella Recipe, this is the ultimate glorification of the chocolaty spread. This recipe uses two entire jars of Nutella.  Tempted?  Keep reading.

I started with my favorite, mind-bogglingly easy chocolate cupcake recipe,  filled it with generous spoonfuls of Nutella, topped it with a big swirl of Nutella buttercream (this stuff is dangerous I almost piped about half of it straight into my mouth), and a Ferrero Rocher. 

So on this glorious morning of Feburary 5th, let’s pay homage to Nutella by baking a batch of these sinfully awesome cupcakes.  If you’re in a pinch, a fresh jar and a big metal spoon would do.

What’s your favorite way to eat Nutella?

With love,
Erica

Erica’s Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever
Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients 
1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coffee granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Line 24 muffin wells with paper liners.
Beat together the cake and pudding
mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and instant coffee mixture until well combined.
Distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells. (I like to use an ice cream scoop)
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the
cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside
muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 13-ounce jar of Nutella
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1.5 pounds confectioners’ sugar

6-8 tablespoons milk


In a
large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening until well combined, thick
and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and
continue mixing until well blended.

Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend
on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 3-5 tablespoons of
heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at
high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Set aside 1/4 of the mixture to use as the vanilla buttercream.  Add the Nutella to the remaining mixture and beat for another 3 minutes.

How to Assemble:

Additional Ingredients:
24 Ferrero Rocher candies
melted chocolate for drizzling

  1. Bake chocolate cupcakes and allow them to cool completely.
  2. Hollow out each cupcake I used a cupcake corer, but an apple corer would work just as well.
  3. Fill a piping bag with a 13 oz. jar of Nutella and pipe the Nutella into the center of each cupcake. 
  4. Prepare the Nutella Buttercream, reserving 1/4 of the vanilla buttercream before adding the Nutella. 
  5. Prepare a piping bag with a round tip, and fill with Nutella buttercream. 
  6. Prepare a piping bag with a star tip, and fill with vanilla buttercream. 
  7. Pipe a swirl of Nutella buttercream on each cupcake, and drizzle with melted chocolate.
  8. Top with a swirl of vanilla buttercream and a Ferrero Rocher.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

creamsicle cupcakes

This morning, I got a text from my friend Tessa,
“2 hour delayyy! Woot woot!”

At first I thought, “thank god! no school!”

Then I realized that I had already gotten out of bed.
Then I realized that I was going to wear heels, but couldn’t now, so I had to re-do my entire outfit to match my snow boots.
Then I realized that I would need more than a long-sleeve t-shirt for track, so I had to repack my entire gym bag.
Then I realized that my schedule would be different due to the delay. So I had to repack my entire backpack.
Then I realized that I was late.

Moments like these remind me why I can’t wait for spring, when I can trade my clunky snow boots for strappy sandals,  my long-sleeve t-shirts with breezy tank tops, and my scalding hot coffee with Orange Creamsicles.  

Starting in March, the ice cream truck starts pulling up to my school.  They have Sno-Cones, Popsicles, and ice cream.  However, as a creature of habit, I always get the Orange Creamsicle.

Creamsicles are my mom’s favorite too, (like mother, like daughter) — and I couldn’t imagine ordering anything else at the ice cream truck.  I don’t know why I love them so much.  The citrusy, fresh orange juice against the mellow, rich and creamy ice cream is to die for.

It’s the perfect balance between refreshing and rich.  It’s the perfect thing to eat on the field when I have a free period at the end of the day. (Shh… don’t tell the P.E. director that I eat ice cream on the field…)

So although spring seems really far away, and you probably can’t even think about holding and ice cream cone right now,  try bringing a bit of sunshine into your kitchen with these creamsicle cupcakes! It’ll knock a bit of the dreary winter chill out of you, and give you something to do during your two hour delay from work or school.

With love,
Erica

P.S.
There seems to be a pattern here — recreating my favorite ice cream flavors in the form of cupcakes (I made these banana split cupcakes last week)

Ingredients
1 white cake mix
1 3-ounce package orange Jell-O, less 2 teaspoons to reserve for the frosting
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest.
Frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup butter; softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons orange Jell-O
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

orange candies (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, orange jello, water, orange juice, oil, eggs and zest. Beat with a mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes.
Divide batter evenly among muffin wells with an ice cream scoop (I filled mine about 2/3 full). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the
middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For
frosting, combine the softened cream cheese and butter and beat until
smooth. Add the vanilla and blend.  Gradually add the
powdered sugar until you get you desired consistency for piping. Set aside about 1/3 of the frosting mixture for the white part of the frosting.  Add the 2
teaspoons of orange jello to the remaining 2/3 of the frosting and beat well to combine.
Set up your piping bag with a large round tip.  Fill it with the orange frosting.  Pipe the orange frosting onto each cupcake, beginning along the outside edge and spiraling in toward the center.
Set up a separate piping bag with a star-shaped tip and fill with the white frosting.  Pipe on the center of each cupcake.
Garnish the top of each cupcake with an orange candy.

Adapted from Celebrations.com

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.