Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Nailed It! Or maybe not!!


Happy Easter!!!! I am wondering what types of wonderful Easter dishes you all came up with out there. Hubby and I decided to hit up a restaurant this year for Easter Brunch.  It was wonderful….but of course I couldn’t resist making us something special for the day. Since we both love Cadbury Crème Eggs (as mentioned in Saturday’s Post: Cadbury Egg Martini) I thought these cupcakes I found on Pinterest were a cute idea. The cupcakes are from www.mybakingaddiction.com and Jamie, the writer of this blog, tells you to use whatever chocolate cupcake recipe you like.

 Has anyone been seeing these photos on Pinterest?

That is totally what happened to me with these cupcakes!!!

 Here you see the cupcakes from Jamie on www.mybakingaddiction.com

Here you see my cupcakes!!! Oh boy!

I guess this is a good time to disclose a little secret….my food doesn’t always look the greatest…I am horrible at decorating baked goods and even my plating skills are atrocious. I’m slowly getting better…I’ve been practicing especially with the frosting and decorating and Hubby seems to have a good eye when it comes to “plating” dishes, so he is always willing to help out with that. Who doesn’t love a beautiful dessert? But, have you ever picked out the most gorgeously decorated cupcake from a display only to have it taste so-so? At least I can say, my food may not look the prettiest but nine times out of ten it tastes great!  To me, this is what ultimately matters, but as I grow as a cook I am realizing the importance of making my food look pretty.  When something tastes as good as it looks you will always have a perfect “10”!

Anyway, for my cupcakes I used my Devil’s Food go-to recipe…and I can’t remember exactly where it came from but it is a variation of the very popular Hershey’s chocolate cake with the boiling water (you know the one :)) However, since these were strictly for my Hubby (more about my “Slimmed Down” version later!) I decided to make a small batch. I’ve been pretty successful calculating recipes to make only 2-4 cupcakes, but based on how the cupcakes turned out I’d say my math was not 100% accurate (I never was good at math…thought I was finally getting better though?!) The first thing I noticed was that although they were moist, the texture of the cupcake was way too crumbly and they were crumbling all over the place. Instead of the top puffing up they spread out over the baking cup, making a mushroom like shape. Also, they did not turn out as chocolatey as they should have…however this was not such a bad thing because they took on more of a milk chocolate flavor, which went well with the candy theme.  By the time they were ready to be frosted, I just didn’t have the energy or desire to break out my icing bags and so I just tried my best to spread the icing on with a knife…which as you can see did not turn out the greatest.

All in all, however, when it came time to tasting them Hubby gave them a “4” out of 5 rating. He said they still tasted good despite their appearance. The one thing he did mention, however was that they were very sweet. In retrospect I could’ve taken into consideration the fact that Cadbury Crème Eggs are super sweet so it would’ve probably been beneficial to decrease the sugar in the cupcake just a bit. But if you don’t mind very sweet stuff (like me!) then it’s really not a big deal. The icing is just your basic vanilla buttercream and tasted great!

So here are the full recipes for the Devil’s Food Cupcakes & the Vanilla Buttercream. If you’ve got lots of Cadbury Eggs leftover from Easter, you can throw them in the cupcakes like the ones in the pictures.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes (Makes 24 cupcakes)

1 ½ cups unsalted butter

¾ cup cocoa powder

½ cup boiling water

2 ¼ cups sugar

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups cake flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside for later use.
  2. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl and whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in vanilla and then add eggs a little bit at a time beating in between each addition until well combined.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Whisk milk into cocoa mixture.
  7. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with the batter.
  9. Bake in the oven 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  11. Frost as desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3  cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp. heavy cream

  1. With an electric mixer, mix together the sugar and the butter until well blended, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Add cream 1 tbsp. at a time and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, adding more cream if needed to reach desired consistency.
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Irish for A Day: Lucky Charm Cupcakes


Baking has always been something I’ve been pretty good at. Not to toot my own horn, but I can make some yummy baked goods (making them look pretty, however, is a different story). I haven’t been doing much baking lately because when I do bake all my willpower goes out the window and I will indulge in a cupcake (or two or three…but more like 6!)…and why is it that my Hubby will say he’s hungry for cake and then when I make one, he eats two pieces and never touches it again! Which then presents me with only two options 1) throw it away or 2) eat it myself (can’t freeze it because it just doesn’t taste the same)!

Most recipes for cakes, cookies, cupcakes, etc. are just way too much for my small family of two. I was always scared to try to scale recipes down since baking is so much more technical than other types of cooking. Eventually, though, I did start “halving” my recipes, but still this was too much of a good thing for only two people. So, I started going even further with my calculations and scaled back to make just enough for two. I’ve never been great at math, nor have I ever liked doing it. So, I cringe when I break out the pencil and the calculator to start making the conversions, but am filled with satisfaction when I’ve done it correctly!

So that’s what I did yesterday. Even though I am not Irish and typically don’t do anything to observe St. Patrick’s Day, I kept seeing recipes for Lucky Charms cupcakes, and I thought I would try them out. I really didn’t find any recipes on the web that were all that special so I ended up using “The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake” recipe on the “Cupcake Project” website. I considered following the recipe exactly and using real vanilla beans, but it just seemed like a waste of money since I was going to be adding Lucky Charms cereal and didn’t really know how it would turn out. I scaled down the recipe to make only four cupcakes.

To me, baking is pretty straight forward if you can read and follow directions. If you are not someone who bakes a lot make sure you follow the recipe exactly and follow the directions the way they are written. Be careful not to overmix your badder. When baking, be sure not to over bake or your end product will be dry.

For the frosting, I used the recipe recommended on the Cupcake Project site. I again scaled this down to 4 servings and did not use real vanilla beans.

Don’t worry….my willpower held strong yesterday and I only made these beauties for my Hubby.

For myself, I made some “guilt-free Hungry Girl” cupcakes. I used her Vanilla Cupcake Recipe and just added 1/4 cup of Lucky Charms to the batter.  They were ok, but had a strange texture and I felt like you could taste the diet lemon-lime soda….but these are the sacrifices I’m willing to make to get myself ready for bathing suit season! 🙂

One last tip…something that I didn’t come across when looking for the Lucky Charms recipe, but wish someone would have mentioned…would be to add the Lucky Charms that are on top right before serving. After I frosted the cupcakes I added the Lucky Charms to the top and by the time we finished dinner and were ready for the cupcakes, the cereal had turned stale and this definitely took something away from the overall taste.

I hope you enjoy them…even though St. Patty’s Day is over, Lucky Charms are great any day of the year so give them a try!!

Lucky Charms Cupcakes (Makes 4 cupcakes)

Adapted from “The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake”

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup + 3 tbsp. cake flour

1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 large egg (beat egg and divide in half. For more accurate measurement weigh the beaten egg on a food scale and divide in half.)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 tsp. sour cream

2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. whole milk

1/4 cup Lucky Charms Cereal

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with 4 cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt).
  3. Add the butter and beat with a mixer for about 3 minutes. You should end up with a fine crumb like consistency.
  4. In a separate small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
  5. Add this to this to the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. Slowly add the milk, mixing on low speed until just combined.
  7. Fold in the Lucky Charms cereal.
  8. Fill cupcake liners about half full.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting(Makes enough frosting for 4 cupcakes)

Adapted from “Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting”

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp. milk

  1. In a mixer, combine the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add the milk and mix until desired consistency is reached. Add more sugar or milk to adjust the consistency.
  3. Add 2-4 drops of food coloring (green for the Lucky Charms cupcakes) and mix until combined and frosting is green.
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