Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seedling Cupcakes

After mentioning these cakes in the previous post, I had many requests for a recipe and instructions. Fear not, these cupcakes are quite simple and are a little taste of spring when there's a sub-freezing windchill outside! The cakes are also perfect for a spring or summer birthday, and would be fun for your pint-sized guests to "plant" themselves. 

Here's what you need:

1. 4-ounce canning jars (I used Ball's quilted jelly jars). They usually run about $10 per dozen depending on where you purchase them. That might sound expensive if you need 24, but remember you can reuse them endlessly. 

2. Your favorite cake recipe. I used my chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting recipe.

3. Butter or non-stick cooking spray, to grease the jars.

4. A jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

5. Chocolate cookies or wafers. I used Newman's Own Organics Double Chocolate Chip Cookies - YUM!

6. A toothpick, or something similar, to help you "plant" your seedlings.

7. Edible herbs or flowers. I chose mint since my options were limited last winter when I baked the cakes. A variety of herbs or flowers would be awesome, especially in the summer when you have so many choices.

8. Popsicle sticks, optional. The sticks allow you to personalize the cakes and make them look more like seedlings. I wrote "Happy" and "Birthday" on mine. Writing the recipient's birthdate as you would a planting date would look cute as well.

Prepare the cake mix as directed and spoon into greased jars. Filling the jars two-thirds will leave you with a few less cupcakes than the recipe states. Place the jars on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet to make getting in and out of the oven easier. Bake the cakes as directed. Some recipes specify different oven temperatures for dark metal vs. glass pans, so be sure to read carefully.

While the cakes cool, wash and dry your herbs and flowers. Cut them into small sprigs. Crush the chocolate cookies in a plastic bag or between sheets of parchment with a rolling pin. Sprinkle the crumbs over the frosted cakes. With a toothpick, make a small hole in the center of the frosting for your plant. Carefully place the springs into the cakes and finish off with a popsicle stick.

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