The Cupcake Party

Strawberry Cupcake


Out of a desperate need to unfunk myself, I threw the kids a cupcake party. How does that work? Well, I gave myself 24 hours to clean house, bake and transform into a slightly less-perfect June Cleaver. By doing so, I am utterly incapable of thinking about any of those things from my previouspost.

The key to nearly everything these days is simplicity and while I am typically committed to making good food from scratch, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Yesterday was one such case. I had already reorganized the pantry, taken the vacuum entirely apart to clean it, and mopped. The kitchen was spotless. Homemade cupcakes and frosting were out of the question. In my pantry stood 1 box of strawberry cake mix and 1 can of chocolate frosting. Nothing against these ingredients but this was a cupcake party; it should be special, right? Over Spring Break, my mother in law had given me the idea of adding a teaspoon lemon zest to a box of Lemon Cake Mix. Could the same be done for Strawberry Cake by adding jam? According to, the answer was yes.

I followed the instructions on the back of the box and added 1/2 cup of homemade jam. The resulting cupcakes were very moist and could easily past for homemade. Yay! Now for the icing. With a small spatula, I scraped the canned frosting into a bowl and whipped it 2 shades lighter.  The whipping incorporates air into the mix and often doublesyour frosting. I loaded a pastry bag with the whipped frosting and screwed on a star tip cap. The bag was twisted closed, the air was squeezed and I secured with a clothespin.

I was about to put the pita pizzas in the oven when our friends arrived. The hardest part about having a cupcake party has got to be getting the kids to eat a good meal first. We served berry iced tea, pita pizzas and a fresh fruit salad. This was all stuff we had lying around. No special trips for this party. Lunch was fabulous and I was beginning to wonder why we stress out about party fare in the first place. It doesn’t need to be artisanal to be good.

Finally, it was cupcake time. Each friend was given 3 cupcakes.  The kids were delighted to be using real pastry bags to create their designs. Sprinkles took it to a whole new level. I had intended for them to eat 1 or 2 and take the 3rd home. However my son had nearly demolished his before the icing and sprinkles made their way around. That pretty much set the pace for the rest of them. I poured my mommy friend a glass of  chilled wine and herded everyone outside to burn off the buzz.

The kids had a great day with their friends and I enjoyed the afternoon with my bestie. We need more days like this, I think.


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