Who doesn’t love cupcakes? I mean, really. Unless there’s a medical reason, I don’t know anyone who won’t grab a cupcake and happily eat it when there’s one around. If you read my last post, to kick off Cupcake Week, then you know I’m a fan of using a boxed cake mix for my cupcakes. Yeah, I know from scratch is better, but, as my kids will tell you, I’m lazy. I like something quick that only requires a little effort to pull together.
But sometimes I want something a little different.
I’ll confess, my favorite cupcakes are chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s simple and classic and so very delicious. I think if I had them more, I’d be a fan of Oreo or s’mores or chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. Cookie dough. Ooh, Twix. No, no! Cream cheese brownie cupcakes!
I might have a problem.
Here’s the thing… There aren’t boxes out there for every cupcake flavor you can imagine. If you like to experiment, you might be lightyears ahead of me on this adventure, but I don’t take the time to bake that much. I think I need to change that!
If you’re like me and you like to modify the boxed cake mix to create your own new & delicious cupcake flavor, it’s just as easy as the boxed mix. These are my favorites…
Vanilla Boxed Cake
I never use yellow cake, but I think that’s a personal preference. If I use food coloring, the yellow cakes never look right, so I stick with vanilla or white cake mix as my go-to mixes. I prepare the cake mix like we talked about on Monday, then I make a few changes to fit what I want my cupcakes to taste like.
Fruit is easy to add to vanilla cake mix because the flavors won’t compete. My daughter loves strawberry and blueberry. Dice up strawberries and add them to the batter, or add whole blueberries. You can add almost any fruit to a cake mix. Even better, save some to put on top!
Chocolate chips are simple and delicious. My husband likes chocolate, but he prefers vanilla, so a chocolate chip cupcake works well for him. Other options would be butterscotch chips (yum!), peanut butter, white chocolate, or nuts. Any of them will work really well in a vanilla cupcake and give you a little surprise when you bite in. My kids love adding sprinkles to the batter!
Changing the flavor of the vanilla cupcake is easy to do and can really make your cupcakes stand out. The vanilla is a good base for a lot of other flavors. Add maple or almond extract to add those flavors in a subtle way. Use lemon extract and zest or orange or lime to make it stand out more. Add pumpkin pie spices for a fall flavor or a different pudding mix to bring things to a whole new level. Think about what your icing is going to be and compliment the flavors. You’ll have everyone asking how you made it!
Chocolate Boxed Cake
I love chocolate. There’s nothing wrong with chocolate in my opinion, but I know there are times when it’s nice to change things up a bit!
You really can’t change the flavor of chocolate, but you can bump it up. Add chocolate chips to make it even sweeter. Throw in some dark chocolate chunks for a rich surprise or white chocolate chips for a visual delight. You can even throw in colored chocolate wafers or shavings, but that’ll end up more for the visual effect than the flavor. One thing I’ve read, but haven’t tried, is to add pop (or soda as some of you say) to the batter. Chocolate root beer float? How about a chocolate cherry coke?
Adding things to the batter can make chocolate that much better. A dollop of a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and an egg on top (before baking) will settle in the middle for a rich surprise. You can do the same with marshmallows or a mixture of marshmallow fluff and vanilla icing. Crumble up cookie pieces or candy bars and add that to the mix. Really, the possibilities are only limited by your taste buds and imagination!
Make It New & Delicious
There are options out there. You can fall down a rabbit hole of possibilities if you search Pinterest. You might be starving by the time you start baking! People are so incredibly creative out there. I like to experiment a little bit, and I think today might be a good day to do that. I’m heading to the store. I’ll see what I can find!