Happy Birthday Princess!

Today in honor of dd's birthday we made rainbow cupcakes for school tomorrow.  I'd seen the recipe posted on someones blog. (Sorry I don't remember whose.)  Anyway, I made a mental note that my kids would probably think they were pretty cool.  And well with the crazy busy week I've been having I need to pull out some WOW! for tomorrow is dd's birthday and well, it is looking pretty sad. As in she really only has one token present to open tomorrow morning, and it's a pretty cheesy one at that.  Don't worry!  She won't lack for presents - it's just that they are all things she needs to pick out.  Aka... new clothes, a new bike (she's out grown her old one), etc.  And well it just didn't happen.  We never made it out shopping.  She's ok with it.  As she told me, "Mom, it's ok.  I'm not four anymore you know." And I know she really is ok with it, but still.  I have serious mommy guilt.  So that's where the cupcakes come in.  Mommy guilt.  And add to the fact that this afternoon I realized this will be that last time I bake cupcakes or brownies to send to school for my baby's birthdays.  No one brings in cupcakes and brownies for their class in middle school. Sniff, sniff. So I wanted this last year to be memorable and something different, something over the top.  Ok maybe not over the top.  That's stretching it, but at least something cool and unique and different.

An aside here.  I am not Betty Crocker.  Not even close.  But I can whip up a box mix like nobody's business.  And well years ago I learned a secret.  So long as it's fresh.  As in just made and it looks good - aka it's fun. Aka it uses three or more of these choc icing, sprinkles, mini M&M's or mini choc chips, the kids will love it.  Seriously!  In fact I even had a mom one day flag me down after I dropped my kids off at school to get my secret brownie recipe.  Apparently her son told her I made the best brownies he'd ever had. And apparently he'd been in my son's class a few years and had sampled my brownies on more than one occasion. Yup!  My box mix.  The best brownies ever!  It's all in the presentation! ;)  She didn't believe me when I said it's a box mix.  But shh...   The secret.... shhh.... you can't tell anyone...

Make a box fudge brownie mix.  Top with choc icing then liberally cover in sprinkles.  Then add mini m&m's and a handful or two of mini choc chips.  What's not to love?  Choc, sprinkles and m&m's.  Those are my favs.  Aren't they yours? 

Alright back to the cupcake recipe...
I used, are you ready for this?  A box mix.  Betty Crocker? Duncan Hines?  Not sure whose.  It was a red box if that helps.  The recipe said to use a 19 1/2 ounce mix.  Mine was 18 or so ounces.  Mine was vanilla because I bought it to make cookies. But that's another story.  Anyway the recipe said white.  Vanilla is close enough to white in my book.  So that's where you start with a box mix.  I had to make 27 cupcakes.  So I used two mixes.  I only ended up with 32 cupcakes total.  But I hate!  HATE!  As in despise the mom's who bring in whimpy cupcakes that barely even reach the top of the cupcake wrapper. Why bother?  Spring for the extra box of cake mix.  Seriously it's like $2.  I seriously don't know how you can get 24 cupcakes out of 1 box of cake mix.  I never have.  And honestly, I only got 32 because we all wanted to try them.  27 for school and 5 for quality control taste testing.  I usually only get 15 from a box.  Anyway, Where was I?  Oh ya!  Recipe:

Rainbow Cupcakes
1 white or vanilla cake mix - approx 18-19oz.
3 eggs
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
food coloring  (They recommended gel food coloring?  They said it gave a brighter color.  I didn't have any.  So I used liquid food coloring.  You know in the little bottles.  They come 4 to a pack for like $3)

So you mix up your cake mix as per the box directions.  My mix actually called for 1 1/4 cups of water.  But I left out the last 1/4 cup.  I probably should have used it.  But I was thinking I was adding liquid food coloring and I didn't want it to be too runny.  But I ended up not needing that much.  So, once your batter is mixed, divide it evenly into several bowls.  One of each color you plan to make.  I made blue, green, yellow, red and orange.  Like I said, I used liquid food coloring. 
1 tsp for blue
1 tsp for green
1 tsp for yellow
orange is 2 parts red and three parts yellow.  I used 1/2 tsp red and 3/4 tsp yellow.
1 1/2 -2 tsp red.  I started with 1 tsp red, but it wasn't red red.  So I added another 1/4 tsp and it still needed more.  My red was then almost empty so I just added whatever was left in the bottle.

Now comes the tricky part. Filling your cupcake liners.  I used a regular tsp and just sort of spooned one scoop of each color of batter into the cupcake liners.  Some got a little more of the color and some got a little less.  It wasn't an exact science.  But I will tell you that even using just one tsp full of batter of each color really filled my cupcake liners.  And that sometimes the one tsp full of batter didn't totally cover the color underneath.  You sort of have to spread the batter out with your spoon and even then you will still have some color peek through.  It's fine don't worry about it.  Ok I didn't worry about it. After a while I just wanted to be done.  :)

Bake according to package directions.  I did 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  When cool icing with vanilla frosting and top with rainbow sprinkles!  Enjoy!

p.s. I saw where someone used those choc melts (like from J's or M's) and melted little choc rainbows to put on top of the cupcakes.  I wanted to try it, but all I had were red and green choc melts.  Oh well next time!

The review:  My kids thought the plain baked cupcakes straight from the oven where ugly.  The other comment was they look like xmas cupcakes.  I had a bunch that had green bubble up to the surface and mix with color I put on top - red.  Red and green look like xmas.  Makes sense to me.  Then I iced them and added sprinkles - well the kids added the sprinkles.  Then we ate them.  OMG!  They were so veryyyy veryyy yummy!  And oh so pretty!  My kids were truely impressed.  How do I know? My other dd said that she was making them and bringing them to middle school next year for her friends for her birthday.  Yep!  That's the highest compliment you can get.  A middle schooler's approval. And yes, they were that cool!  If I do say so myself. 

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