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I have been baking my a** off. Excuse my language but I think I may be gaining weight due to over-baking! Although I recently joined a website called Sparks People and it is helping me keep those calories down, and providing some healthier recipes for my baking escapades as well. My latest adventure has been chocolate cupcakes. I have always been told practice makes perfect so I am perfecting a chocolate recipe that I found on Allrecipes.com. I also have been trying to find the perfect icing recipe for creating beautiful cupcakes. I made a delicious strawberry icing yesterday but I am finding that all of my icings come out too runny. They do not spread well and are hard to craft a beautifully iced cupcake with when my icing is running down the side. My newest creation turned out great, not too pretty though so I did not take a picure but I will share the recipe.

Berry Banana Cake/Cupcakes

Simple, White Cake (you can use a box cake-mix or your own favorite recipe, this one worked best for me it was easy and light)

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/-3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C)

Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and mix. Add vanilla, mix. Combine flour and baking powder in a seperate bowl. Add to the creamed mixture and mix well, stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30-40 min. or 15-20 min. for cupcakes.

Yield 12 cupcakes or 9 by 9 pan ( I used a pie pan)

Let cool.

Strawberry Icing (from Marthastewart.com)

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

Pinch of coarse salt

3-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Microwave strawberries 4-1/2 to 5 min. You can either use a fork and mash them by hand or use a food processor. If you do this by hand strain out the chunks. In seperate bowl cream together butter and salt until butter is light and fluffy. Continue mixing and add confectioners sugar until well blended. Add vanilla and 3-4 tablespoons of the strawberry puree. Add more or less sugar and puree depending on desired sweetness and strawberry-ness!

In a seperate bowl mix together one box of instant banana pudding mix with 1-1/2 cup of milk. (The box will call for 2 cups of milk, only using 1-1/2 cup makes the pudding thicker so that it does not soak into the cake mix.

Next, take a knife and cut out a bowl shape in the top of the cake or in cupcakes. Pour in pudding mix. Refrigerate 10-15 min, or until pudding settles. Add icing and enjoy. Optional: Use fresh strawberries and bananas to decorate the top.


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