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.

minion cupcakes

I had a pretty great time in preschool.  I was born with a natural gift for making play-dough snowmen and I had these sick-nasty Digimon goggles that I wore every single day.

Despite the fact that I was clearly living it up,  I (like all preschoolers) had my fair share of worries.  Those “first-day jitters,” the trauma of sharing at “Show-And-Tell” on Fridays, and the fear of being abandoned on the playground. 

To deal with all these little predicaments, my mom and I had a special daily ritual. 

Every morning before she dropped me off, she promised to come back to pick me up with a Twinkie.  Sure enough, every day I saw her cherry-red Toyota station wagon pull up to the preschool.  Sure enough, she always had a Twinkie. 

This little daily ritual made the traumas of preschool a little more manageable.   It also taught me that I am very easily motivated by food. 

Even now, my mom and I joke about our little “Twinkie” ritual whenever she drops me off somewhere.

This brings me to the recipe of the day: minion cupcakes!

These mischievous little minions are made out of Twinkies — and they are almost too cute too eat.  Emphasis on the almost.

If you don’t know what minions are, they’re these little, impulsive, bean-shaped creatures who are quite talented singers and have a contagious laugh.  (If you haven’t heard the Banana and Potato Song and want to smile, click here). I had almost too much fun giving each of my minions a different facial expression. 

So what are you waiting for?  Whip up you’re own entourage of minions today!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  1. 24 frosted cupcakes of your choice (I made funfetti with blue buttercream!)
  2. 12 Twinkies
  3. 1 bag Ready-Made Candy Eyes
  4. Brown sprinkles
  5. Black writing icing

Cut each of your twinkies in half and squeeze two dots of black icing onto the backs of the Candy Eyes to act as glue.  Stick them onto your Twinkie (note some minions only have one eye).   Draw on a mouth and goggles using the black writing icing.  Stick a few brown sprinkles in the minion’s head for hair.  Gently press your minions cut side down on top of your frosted cupcakes!

© 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.

cookies n' creme cupcakes

Milk’s favorite cookie, in cupcake form. These cupcakes are the best chocolate cupcake recipe I’ve ever made, with a whole oreo cookie baked into the bottom, all topped off with a swirl of buttercream frosting that tastes just like my favorite cookies n’ creme ice cream. The frosting was so delicious (my go-to buttercream recipe with cookie crumbs in it), I did  could have eaten half of it with a spoon! Plus, the oreo surprise in the bottom is so much fun (because who doesn’t love oreos?). The cookie stays firm and crunchy, which makes it interesting to eat against the soft, moist cake, but it gives the whole thing a really lovely crunch.
With love,
Erica

Isn’t that cool? An oreo surprise baked into the bottom!
Cookies N’ Creme Cupcakes

 Makes 15 cupcakes.

 Ingredients
Cupcakes 
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached

Oreo Buttercream

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup I Can’t Belive It’s Not Butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
4 cups powdered sugar
16 Oreos, finely crushed (I used my food processor)

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Twist Oreos in half and set aside the extra cookies for later. Place the side with cream filling in the bottom of each cupcake liner, cream-side facing up.
  • Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl and pour the hot coffee over the mixture. Whisk until smooth and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, 20-30 minutes.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside. 
  • Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth.
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, 17-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 
  • For the frosting, cream butter, vanilla and milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy. Mix in crushed oreos until well combined. Frost cupcakes! (I garnished mine with fun sized mini oreos!)

Adapted from BakerGirl 

    funfetti cupcakes for two

    After making my chocolate cupcakes for two, I was inspired to make another mini batch of cupcakes. This time, I was in the mood for Funfetti cupcakes. I love sprinkles in my birthday cake — they make a boring (but delicious) vanilla cake a million times more fun! Because life is so much more fun in color 🙂
    I decided to go all out and topped mine with a fun hodgepodge of sprinkles (hey, this is funfetti right?!) — which included little pink dinosaurs, mini race cars, and a bunch of other loud, sparkly sprinkles. Looks like a party to me!
    With love, Erica
    Cupcakes
    Adapted From Chocolate and Carrots
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 tablespoon skim milk
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 4 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon sprinkles
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Beat the canola oil, egg, milk, vanilla extract, and sugar together.
    3. Add in the flour and baking powder.
    4. Add in the sprinkles. Don’t over stir.
    5. Pour into two prepared muffin liners in a muffin pan.
    6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
     Vanilla Buttercream Frosting for Two
    Adapted from Sweet Peony
    1/4 cup (1/2) stick unsalted butter, softened
    1-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    2-3 teaspoons water
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

     
    In a medium bowl, beat butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar together using a hand mixer.  When combined and fluffy, add 2 teaspoons water and the vanilla and mix until combined.  If the frosting is too stiff, add more water.  If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar. Frost your cupcakes, and top with fun sprinkles!