I love any excuse to make cupcakes, so I jumped at the chance when I was asked to make cupcakes for a recent event for 50 guests. I usually stick to basic flavors, like chocolate, vanilla, red velvet and occasionally strawberry. But this time, I decided to experiment with some “designer” flavored cupcakes.
Ok, I’m a little famous in my circle of friends for my cakes and cupcakes. But I have a dirty little secret… I’m not a professional baker, and the times I’ve tried making cake or cupcakes from scratch have not turned out pretty. So, yes, I use cake mixes. Besides the savings in time and cost, I prefer fluffy cupcakes versus the more dense scratch versions. But, I do like to tweak my cake mixes a little.
I googled ideas for different flavors I’d like to try and came up with a list of 5 designer flavors, using ideas I found, sometimes combining or tweaking ideas. I chose the Lemon Meringue, which is really not meringue, just white icing – to have a tart flavor to balance all the sweet choices.
Cake Mix Tweak
To tweak the cake mixes, basically I use the 3 eggs and 1 cup of water the instructions call for, and just substitute 1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter for the oil. I have used margarine if I’m out of butter.
Watermelon and Strawberry Shortcake
I used one cake mix for these, making 10 of each flavor. I forgot to get French Vanilla cake mix, so I used a white cake mix, adding a teaspoon of vanilla, the water, melted butter and 3 egg whites. I filled 10 pink wrappers with the white mix, then added green food coloring and filled 10 green wrappers with the green mix. The mix calls for 24 cupcakes, but fill them just a little more generously for 20 larger designer cupcakes. Be sure not to overbake them. I actually turn my oven down to 325 and drop the time to around 14-15 minutes. If they bounce back when you touch them, they’re done. You don’t want brown bottoms!
For the strawberry cupcakes, I used a large icing tip to core a small section out and put a spoonful of my homemade strawberry jam inside. Then I put the cored piece back over the jam before icing.
Basic Buttercream Icing
- 1 c softened butter
- 1 c shortening
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 5-6 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c milk or cream
Beat the ingredients well in the order listed to get a smooth, fluffy icing. You may not use all the milk, just enough to get the right consistency.
I put about 1/3-1/2 of the icing in a separate bowl and added 1/4 tsp of watermelon flavored koolaid for the watermelon icing, and added pink gel color to get the color I wanted. I piped with a Wilton 1M tip, then added a few mini chocolate chips for seeds. I got this idea online here: Watermelon Cupcakes
For the strawberry icing, I used another 1/3-1/2 of the icing recipe above and added about 1 1/2 tsp of strawberry jello for flavoring because that’s what I had on hand. I prefer to use strawberry extract if I have that. I piped those cupcakes with the Wilton 1M tip in the rose style.
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
The lemon were easy – Just a tweaked lemon cake mix, topped with white buttercream icing. To keep the icing white, like meringue, I used all shortening instead of any butter. By the way, the strawberry icing was yummy on the lemon cupcakes too, if you want strawberry lemonade cupcakes.
Mocha Frappucino Cupcakes
- Devils food chocolate cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup cooled brewed coffee leftover from breakfast
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1/2 c mini chocolate chips
- 1 c butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c milk (or cream) with 1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in it
I used brown kraft wrappers for the mocha cupcakes and the root beer cupcakes, and added little striped paper straws I cut into thirds.
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
- white cake mix
- 1- 1/4 c root beer
- 1/3 c oil
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp root beer concentrate
Root Beer Icing
- basic buttercream icing recipe above, including the vanilla
- 1/4-1/2 tsp root beer concentrate to taste
Cupcake Flavor Labels
I printed the flavor titles on little chalkboard labels in my photo editing program. The font is called Chalkboard Hand Lettering Shaded. I glued the little chalkboard labels on kraft cardstock and glued a candy stick to each. They were then stuck into the first cupcake in line.
Supplies for Designer Flavored Cupcakes
Here are some of my supplies I got online. These are Amazon affiliate links for which I receive a small commission for my recommendations, but it doesn’t increase your cost. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.
- Wilton Tip 1M – This is the 4 pc set I got – better deal than just the one tip. I used the 4B for the lemon meringue cupcakes.
- Disposable plastic icing bags. This is a good deal for 50 bags. Cut the corner off and stick the tip in. Throw away when finished.
- Kraft cupcake liners
- Bright colored cupcake liners
- Lollipop sticks – 6 inch
- Paper Straws
- Watkins Root Beer Concentrate – The concentrate is stronger than extract, so use sparingly. I’m going to try to make some homemade root beer with the recipe on the box.
Hope you enjoyed this post – and are inspired to try some “designer” flavored cupcakes!