Well - it's been a while! Really busy around here with summer in full swing. I promise I'm gonna get serious and get back to blogging because I have so many things to catch you up on!
Today we're finishing Brack's 11th birthday party which had a Nerf theme. If you haven't seen it, you can catch up on it here. This is one of my FAVORITE tablescapes. And the best thing? 90% of it came from The Dollar Tree!
Brack wanted mint chocolate cupcakes for dessert. Sounded great to me, but green icing would totally mess with my color scheme! Easy enough...I just omitted green food coloring in the icing. Looked great and tasted even better!
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 c all purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
Cream oil, butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well.
Sift dry ingredients and alternate adding with milk, beginning and ending with dry. Mix for about two minutes until well incorporated.
I double wrapper my cupcakes. I find that unless you use the heavy foil cupcake liners, once they are baked, the color on the liner is less vibrant and the cupcakes often bleed through a little. So, I generally bake my cupcakes in a white or craft paper brown liner - just one. After they're done, I will use a decorative wrapper for the outside. Don't worry that it's not "tight" around the cupcake. It serves more as a decorative cup.
I also use a quarter cup ice cream scoop to scoop my cupcake batter so they turn out pretty even.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Begin checking at 15 minutes. I like my cupcakes a little under - not wet, mind you, but a little crumb on a toothpick means they're still moist. If it comes out wet, put them back in for a couple of minutes and try again.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing. I used my regular cream cheese icing recipe (one block of unsalted butter and one block of creamed cheese, both at room temp) along with a pinch of salt, about a tablespoon or two of milk and a two pound bag of powdered sugar. Cream butter, cream cheese, milk and salt. Add a healthy teaspoon of vanilla. (In this case, I used a peppermint extract instead of vanilla. The mint went great with the chocolate cupcakes!) Mix well. With the mixer on low, add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time and mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the bowl from time to time. The amount of sugar really depends on the weather. Sometimes I can get away with 4 and a half or five cups, sometimes it takes the whole bag.
I try to make my icing right before I use it. You can keep it in the fridge, but it will set up. If you have to make it ahead, take it out an hour or so before you use it and use a hand mixer to fluff it back up.
I used round punches to make the cupcake picks. I wanted them to look like targets, with "11" as the bullseye! I punched them out and then stamped the number eleven on the smallest circle. I then used a glue stick to adhere it to the blue circle. Then I used my ATG (Advanced Tape Glider) to apply a heavy adhesive to the back of the blue circle, then stuck it to the orange circle with a toothpick inserted between the two. Perfect!
Here you can see how I placed the cupcakes into another wrapper before putting them on the stand. Isn't that pretty? I had these cupcake wrappers leftover from a Miss Manners cupcake party I hosted last year. You can read more about it here.
The cupcakes were a hit and exactly what the birthday boy ordered!
Pretty sure we exceeded the weight limit on the trampoline!
Brack opening presents.
Money from grandparents - always the right size and color!
The kids were told to bring their favorite Nerf gun, but no bullets. I provided the ammo for everyone!
Time out to reload.
Usually the birthday boy or girl chooses what they want for their birthday dinner and I make it, but Brack's birthday fell on a Wednesday this year. Wednesdays we head into town to run errands before church and then meet Gerald for dinner. Brack chose his favorite - Mexican. He had a great birthday! Can't believe my baby is ELEVEN!
I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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