Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finals Week

Today is the last day of school before my kids are home for Christmas break. Yea! I am so looking forward to having them home for a couple of weeks.  The kids have been studying hard for finals so I know they are ready for a break too.

It hasn't been all studying this week though.  Both kids managed to fit in Christmas parties at school. Monday I sent chocolate caramel pretzels to school with my son and yesterday I took cupcakes to my daughter's class.

I was running short on time this week so I searched the Internet for an easy Christmas cupcake that I could feed to hungry teenagers.   I found these cute Christmas tree cupcakes on The cupcakes turned out really cute and more importantly - really easy.

I decided to make black bottom cupcakes for the party.  (It really doesn't take me any more time to make cupcakes from scratch than it does to make box mix cupcakes - and they're so much better.)  This cupcake recipe came from a family friend.  I have been making these cupcakes for a long time. The rich chocolate cupcakes with creamy cheesecake filling are always a crowd pleaser.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
8 ounces cream cheese                           1/3 cup oil
1 cup + 1/3 cup sugar                             1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon +1/8 teaspoon salt            1 teaspoon vinegar
6 ounces chocolate chips                        1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour                                           1 cup water
¼ cup cocoa

Beat cream cheese, ¼ c. sugar and 1/8 t. salt.

Add chocolate chips.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, ½ t. salt and 1 c. sugar.  (I accidentally left out the cocoa - one of the hazards of baking late at night when I'm tired.)

Combine water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.

Add to dry ingredients.  (This is when I realized that my chocolate cupcakes had no chocolate in them.  I added it to the batter along with the wet ingredients and it worked out fine.)

Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with batter.

Add a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese.

Bake 30 minutes at 350.

I filled a pastry bag with green frosting and piped it onto each cupcake.  I sprinkled each little Christmas tree with white pearl ornaments.  I cut stars out of gum paste and placed one on top of each cupcake. ( I don't use premade gum paste or fondant very often because its fairly costly but when I'm in a hurry - its a huge time saver.)

There is nothing like walking into a room of teenagers with a big tray of cupcakes. The kids were super excited to see the sweet treat and I got lots of compliments on the decorations.  The party was a nice break for the kids during finals week.

 Bon Appetit!

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