Category Archives: cakes and cupcakes

5 Minute Watermelon Fruit Flan

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5 Minute Watermelon Fruit Flan

   

So I saw this picture on pinterest, and thought “we can do that” (which by the way, I think about almost everything I see on Pinterest) but the difference is we actually tried this one…. The boys were away all week at camp, and we thought they needed a special dessert to come home to.

We bought a plain shell from the grocery store, as well as some raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, chocolate chips, and vanilla pudding. I think you are supposed to use custard, but I couldn’t find it ready-made in the grocery store, and didn’t want to have to buy and make it from the powder, or scratch… So I thought vanilla pudding would work just as well!   

So, we cracked open two pudding cups and spread them around.   

Then we peeled and sliced some kiwi, and placed them nicely around the edge. It took two kiwis.   

Then we cut up strawberries and tried to place them so the skin was facing out.   

And we thought some raspberries would be yummy too, so we scattered them around.  

And we filled in the middle with strawberries.Then added chocolate chips for the seeds.      

The boys couldn’t tell that it was supposed to be a watermelon, but they were impressed anyways…I think it was easier to see the watermelon resemblance when it was sliced.    
And the most important thing was that it was yummy! 

Btw, I am just about finished the diningroom. Have also just redecorated Dylan’s room- working on a sports theme! Can’t wait to show you pics!

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Quick, no time to wait for cupcakes to cool, marshmallow icing

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Quick, no time to wait for cupcakes to cool, marshmallow icing

Whenever the kids go over to friends houses, I always like to send a snack for them to share. Sometimes it’s a bag of chips, and sometimes it’s something that we have made. Depends on the kind of day we are having….

This morning before Sam went to a friends house, I decided to bake some cupcakes. But, somehow inbetween showering, giving John a haircut and making lunch, I left it to less than an hour before she was supposed to be there. So, I decided to try this idea of melting a marshmallow on top of the cupcake as the icing. I have seen it online and on Pinterest, so I thought I would try it. 

Here is another link with instructions Melted marshmallow icing

 

So, I made a regular batch of cupcakes, using my favourite family recipe. (A couple eggs, 1/4 cup of oil, some water and a box of Duncan Heinz!) I put them in the oven, and about 4-5 minutes before the cupcakes were finished baking, I took them out of the oven and put a marshmallow on top of each one. I actually only did half of the cupcakes, just in case this didnt’ work! No time to make another batch…

   

Here is what they looked like after a couple minutes….

  

A few of them started to topple over, so I used a wooden spatula to flatten and straighten them as they started to fall… 

And here is what they looked like fully melted, after about 4 1/2 minutes.

   

As you can see,me tried to add some sprinkles, but the marshmallows had a crispy coating, so the sprinkles rolled right off 😦 

   

But, they were really yummy. Gooey and stringy even when cooled! Not the prettiest cupcakes I have ever made, especially without the sprinkles, but as a timesaver when you are running late, I would do them again. I didn’t hear anyone complaining! 

 

My Annual Better-than-Cadbury Easter eggs

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My Annual Better-than-Cadbury Easter eggs

I figured out the other day that I have made these eggs every year for probably 15 years. That tells you how good they are! They are not runny in the middle like Cadbury cream eggs, but I think they taste way better…plus now thay are sort of an expectation with friends and family. It’s nice to be wanted, even if it is just for my Easter eggs!

You need a can of condensed milk, a little less than a cup of butter, two teaspoons of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and about 10 cups of icing sugar.



We melted the butter in the microwave for about thirty seconds, then mixed everything together in a really big bowl. In this case, Sam had a friend sleep over, so we split it into two. Did I mention that we started making these at 7:30 am after the sleepover? Yup. 

So, when the kids are mixing, it can get pretty messy, it takes a while to mix in all of the icing sugar. But after all of the icing sugar has been incorporated, it should be the consistency of play dough.   

See our nice, clean table? You should have seen the floor! Lol 

 

To make the yolks in the middle, take out about 1/4 of the mixture and add yellow food colouring. Btw, I don’t think I have ever go the ratio right… I always end up with a few all yellow eggs, or I have to mix more yellow! 

   

If you are using liquid food colouring, you will have to mix in some more icing sugar because it will get all wet and sticky. Mix in the yellow food colouring a few drops at a time until the yolk is the colour you want.

I gave the girls the job of rolling the yolks. You can really make these eggs as big or as small as you want. I like to make them smaller because then I can eat twice as many. Also, they are very sweet and rich tasting…makes sense considering they are literally made of basically sugar and butter.

  

Then, to make the egg white, you basically flatten a piece of the white mixture, put the yellow yolk in the middle, and wrap the white around.    

Then roll it around in the palm of your hand to make it egg shaped and smooth.

 

I had the girls roll a bunch of the yolks, and I broke off a bunch of pieces of white, rather than making them one at a time. This makes it much easier to make them a uniform size.

   

When the eggs were formed, we put them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then put them in the fridge to cool for an hour. Man, I would love one of those fridges with a pull out drawer. Trying to fit three full cookie sheets of eggs into our fridge takes a bit of skill! We ended up making over 100 eggs from the recipe. If you make them small, it makes a lot!

 

After about an hour in the fridge, we took them out and melted some milk chocolate. I’m not going to lie, this part is a little tricky. If you put the eggs right into the chocolate, they get all slippery and melt, and end up a weird shape. So I use two spoons, one to hold the egg, and the other one to spread the chocolate over.

   

Then, tap about 10 times to get of all of the excess chocolate, and lay it carefully on the cookie sheet.

  

This year, we decided to use colourful sprinkles. Sam, my sprinkle girl, has the sprinkle technique perfected, so she added all of the sprinkles after I did the dipping. Then they need to cool down in the fridge again for about an hour.  

I used mini cupcake holders to put them in….    

 

I also dug up some cute little boxes. The kids wanted to share and I brought some into work.

Here is the platter I brought to easter dinner at my mom’s yesterday…

   

As you can see, I added some chocolate dipped pretzels around the outside, which the kids thought looked like a nest.

 

Here is what they look like from the inside… I guess it would simplify thing a lot if you skipped the yolk, but isn’t the yolk cute?

Anyways, to those who celebrate, Happy Easter! 



5 Minute Butter Tarts! Yummy.

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5 Minute Butter Tarts! Yummy.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I am all about things being easy! Maybe 5 minutes is a bit of an exaggeration, because I didn’t include cooking time, but these butter tarts are really easy to make, they literally take five minutes to prepare. Especially when you buy the pre made frozen pie shells…. Trust me, people are just as impressed with homemade butter tarts even when you didn’t make the shell from scratch. And, sshhhh, you don’t need to tell everyone how easy they are!
All you need to do, is melt 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave, then mix in 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1 egg, plus 1 tsp vanilla.

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As you can see, I was lucky enough to have help today. Which was helpful because the hardest part about this recipe us that you need to mix this really well. Mix it until it starts to turn a lighter colour. You can see the difference in the pictures below:

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Then pour it into the pie shells. If I can give a bit of advice here, I would tell you not to over fill them, they bubble up and will overflow if they are filled too much.

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We watched them closely, just in case…

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So, I think you can see in the second picture how they have bubbled up. Here is how they looked right out of the oven, and after they have cooled a little. I actually had to double the recipe above to make enough to fill all of the shells.

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They were delicious. You could also add raisins, although I would get complaints around my house if I did. No one in my family is a fan of raisins in baking, we’re more of a chocolate chip kind of family. But, I read online that if you do add raisins, you can soak them in boiling water for about 5 minutes before mixing them in. This allows them to plump up and soak up some of the water.
I have a few extra pie shells in the freezer now, that I am going to keep on hand for the next time I need something to make quickly. These are definitely on my make again list!
Enjoy!
P.S. I don’t normally give glimpses into future posts (because sometimes my plans are a whole more ambitious than my reality…. If only I didn’t have a darn job!) but… I just bought stuff to tap our maple trees to collect sap for maple syrup! I am so excited! Keep posted, I am just doing some research to find out if I need to wait a few weeks… Anyone made maple syrup before? Any advice?

Meringues from Mayonnaise!

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Meringues from Mayonnaise!

So here’s the story… I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t set out this morning to make meringues, it wasn’t on my list today. Actually neither was making mayonnaise, all I actually wanted was a tuna sandwich. But here’s how it happened…
I opened a can of tuna to make a tuna salad sandwich, but then I realized that we didn’t have any mayonnaise. So I thought, “I’m pretty crafty, I can make my own mayo!” So I googled “how to make mayonnaise and found a recipe (with cooked egg yolk- just can’t do the raw egg thing) and, to make a long story short, I followed the directions, but 4 egg yolks later I ended up with a runny yellow liquid that I had no intentions of mixing with my tuna… It was pretty gross, don’t know where I went wrong…

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So, I felt a little guilty for pouring the mayo mixture down the sink, but the good news is that I ended up making a great tasting tuna melt by substituting ranch dressing for the mayo. (It was actually really good!)
But, I’ll save that post for another day….
After enjoying my delicious sandwich, I realized that I still had 4 egg whites left over from my mayo disaster. I couldn’t throw them out too! So, I thought, “I’m pretty crafty, I can make something out of these egg whites.” So I googled, “what can I make with egg whites.” And this recipe for meringues came up… So that’s how I ended up making meringues! I can’t tell you how many times I have said this, but how did people survive before Google? Seriously.
This was my first time making meringues, and I was pretty impressed with how easy they are to make!
Start with four egg whites and beat them until they are foamy, which only takes a minute or so.

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Then, very slowly, a sprinkle at a time, add two cups of icing sugar…

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And beat on high until the egg whites hold their shape when you hold up the beater.

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I spooned the mixture into a piping bag, because I wanted them to look a little fancier. Then squeezed out a tablespoon at a time on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

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By the way, here is a great trick I have figured out when using piping bags… Use a plastic clip on the end to stop the icing from squeezing out the end. I can’t tell you how many times I have ended up with a handful of icing without realizing it.

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With the clip you can also easily roll it around as you use up the filling inside.

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Anyways, it turns out that the piping bag was probably a waste of time because the meringue wasn’t stiff enough to hold the shape. A spoonful would have looked the same.
So I learned that the trick to meringues is to cook them for a long time at a low temperature. So, set your oven to 200 degrees, and the timer for about two hours. Essentially, the oven almost dries out the meringues. Be sure to leave the oven open a bit, I used a wooden spoon to prop the door open.

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Then after waiting two long hours, they were ready. Slightly browned and crunchy on the outside. They were delicious!

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The recipe actually made a few dozen meringues. I probably made them a little smaller, but still, there were tonnes of them! Next time, I might even halve the recipe. Nah… Who am I kidding….
Enjoy!

Easy team spirit cupcakes

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Easy team spirit cupcakes

What were we thinking? Today we had Dylan’s entire basketball team over for the afternoon… That was 13 ten and eleven year old boys running around our house!
They were going bowling first, so we were hoping that they would use up a little bit of their energy at the bowling alley! Not sure if that went the way we planned, they were bouncing off the walls (literally) by the time they got to our house 😃

I figured the best way to keep a large group of boys happy is to keep their bellies full. So we bought a bunch of snack foods, and I thought we needed something to show our team pride. So I decided on cupcakes. I have done variations of these cupcakes over the years. They are quick and easy, but look really cute! And who am I kidding, 10 and 11 year old boys are not going to stop and admire and compliment the hours I spent meticulously decorating their cupcakes, I am quite aware that there is about 10 seconds from the time they spot the cupcakes to the time where they shove them in their mouths. So I might as well do something quick and easy!

I started with baking the cupcakes. I always try to scoop out the cake mix as evenly as possible by using an ice cream scoop.

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Then, I dug up some orange candy melts, they are the chocolate disks that come in different colours.

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I melted a handful of chocolate chips in a mug of hot water. While I was waiting for the chocolate to melt, I laid out the Orange candy melts on a piece of parchment paper so the flat sides were up.

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Then, once the chocolate chips were melted, I snipped a tiny corner off of the sandwich bag, then used it as a piping bag to decorate the candy melts to look like basketballs.

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I also wrote their jersey numbers on a red candy melt. (And extras for the coaches)
Once the cupcakes were out of the oven and cooled, I evened them out by trimming off any lopsided parts with a knife. Then I piped some plain chocolate icing in a spiral pattern.

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I found some fancy silver sugar, so I added a little pinch of silver sprinkle to the top of each cupcake…

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Then, because I didn’t have the patience to wait until the chocolate had hardened a little, I decorated them while the chocolate was still wet. I would recommend you don’t follow my lead on this one… I stuck my finger in and messed up a couple, but hey, it’s not like the noticed or anything!
Anyways, they seemed to go over pretty well, they all picked their number, and it was quiet for a whole thirty seconds, so I am calling that a success!
Here is the final product…

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I am going to have to do the same for the baseball team! I would say soccer too, but I think soccer balls would be tricky, maybe I can just do their jersey numbers… At least I have a few months to think about it!
Have a great week!

Cupcake decorating party

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Sam and I decided that for her birthday party, we needed a little craft or activity for the kids to do. I thought that a jewelry party would be a great idea, but Sam overruled that idea…. I missed the days when I could pick the theme, or talk them into thinking my theme was their idea :)… anyways, we both agreed that decorating cupcakes would be a fun idea. It worked really well, the kids enjoyed it and all went home with a few cupcakes too!
As with many of my cooking and baking crafts, it all started with a trip to the local Bulk Barn… We picked out a bunch of sprinkles and toppings. I also picked out some candy eyes, and lips so they could make faces, and some oreo cookie crumbs, and gummy worms so they could make dirt and worm cupcakes. Then I arranged them in plastic containers from the dollar store.

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Here is the dining room table set to go. I gave each child a knife, and plate, and as you can see, we bought little boxes to use to take their cupcakes home.

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I also put a couple tablespoons of icing in a sandwich bag for each child, then snipped off the corner to use as icing bags.

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And filled a couple piping bags, and tubes of icing.

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We were expecting about 12 girls, so I made two cake mixes, which made 24 cupcakes, or 4 for each girl.
Here are a few photos… (just of Sam…didn’t want to publish pictures of other girls without permission…)

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The girls seemed really pleased with their cupcakes, and were happy to take a few home too!
Even Dylan and a couple of his friends came in (once the girls were gone) and decorated a few… Although their goal was not to create a cute looking cupcake, but rather how to pack as much icing and candies on as possible…lol
Overall, the idea worked really well, not only did it keep the kids busy, it also saved me a lot of time, not having to make and ice a cake!

Cat Poop Cake

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Cat Poop Cake

It was my treat day at work last week, so my treat partner and I decided to go with an April fools theme. I will post again some of the other foods we served. But this dish was definitely an attention getter!
I have to say this is by far one of the best cakes I have ever made. And, I have made a lot of cakes over the years (i even iced my own wedding cake the morning we got married….I know, I know) Anyways, I LOVE this cake! The best part is that it was really easy to make and making fake chocolate poo doesn’t require a whole lot of time or talent.
When I looked on Pinterest, I found many different versions to choose from!
I have included a link to one, just so I don’t get all the credit for such a gross idea! But, I did change it up and simplified it a little. After all, making a cake look like a kitty litter box, shouldn’t be overly complicated, right?
Litter Box Cake Link

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So, I started by making a normal cake from a regular old cake mix. I baked it right in an aluminum cake pan from the dollar store, just like a real kitty litter box.

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After the cake cooled, I iced it using a container of Vanilla Icing from the grocery store. The great part is that you don’t have to be careful at all when icing it because you are covering the entire top in crumbs anyways. I just used icing so the crumbs had something to stick to. I used vanilla oreos. I just crushed them by hand, but it probably would have been a lot faster in the food processor.

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Then, to make the poop, I used pieces of Rice Krispie squares. I molded them into poop shapes in my hands, then dipped them in melted chocolate. Like I said before, this doesn’t require a lot of talent. When you think about it , poo isn’t perfect, it comes in all different shapes and sizes, so anything goes!

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The kids were totally grossed out! They looked totally realistic! Then, I started thinking that maybe I should make a variety of poop, so I broke up some of the Rice Krispie pieces, and mixed them with the chocolate to use up the last little bit of melted chocolate in the bowl.

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All that was left to do was to wait until the poop cooled, then put it on the cake. I bought a scoop from the dollar store that totally looked like a scoop you would use in the litter box.
I LOVED this cake! I just have to find a good enough occasion to make it again!

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Fake Cupcakes….reposted!

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Since this is one of my most popular posts…and I haven’t been writing a whole lot lately, I thought I would repost this…enjoy!
(This was my third or fourth post ever…)

Whew, Christmas and boxing day are all done, so now I have time for my next big project!
I am starting with my daughters room. She is seven years old, and has decided that she would like a cupcake room, so I have been searching the Internet for the last two weeks looking for everything I can make that is cupcakes. I found quite a few places that were selling fake cupcakes, but it took me some time to figure out how to actually make them! Here is how my daughter and I made these delicious looking cupcakes….

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The first step is to make the actual cake part, or base, which is made out of plaster of paris. We started by finding a cute paper muffin cup which matched our decor…black and pink! I used an old muffin pan, and some plastic cups to mix the plaster. We mixed about a cup of plaster at a time, in several batches. I figured this would probably take more time, but be less messy (this considering the “help” I had from my daughter!) The instructions I found said to use two parts of plaster with one part of water, but I ended up using a little more water.

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At this point, I started to think that I didn’t want the plaster showing after I iced the cupcakes, so I let the plaster set for about an hour, then mixed up another batch of plaster and mixed it with some brown water based paint. I poured the brown plaster into a baggie, clipped off the corner, ad squeezed out a thin layer of the brown plaster on top of the white, but it turns out that the plaster underneath it didn’t really show anyways, so if I were to do this again, I probably wouldn’t bother with this step…

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We then let them dry for two an a half days. If you feel the plaster and it is cold, it is still curing. It is best not to rush it at this stage. Be patient. We put them on top of a vent to dry.
After a couple of days, we were ready to ice! I used an old bowl, a paint stir stick, some tempera or acrylic paint, and an old piping bag and tip, and some drywall patching compound I had left over from the basement.
We mixed the drywall compound or spackle together in a bowl, tried putting it in the piping bag, but it was way too thick. I made a huge mess and had to empty the bag, wash it and remix. I had to add quite of bit of water to make it thin enough to be piped.

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I found out the more “icing” you put on, the better the cupcake looks. I tried experimenting with different patterns, but I ended up icing them all in a simple swirl pattern. By the time I finished the twelfth one, I had the hang of it!

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Decorating the cupcakes was the most fun step for my daughter. We used small christmas ornaments for the cherries on top and various beads for the sprinkles. I lightly tapped the beads in to make sure they will not fall off. I think they turned out great!

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At this point, you could add a loop of wire if you wanted to use them as picture, or place card holders…I think they would be too heavy to hang. Also, after they dry, I am going to spray them with a quick coat of varnish to seal them.
Let me know if you try this idea, I would love to hear your feedback!

Rainbow Cake

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It was my daughter’s birthday last week, and we had just finished up the renovation, so didn’t have a huge amount of time left over to make the three layer cake that she requested…so I talked her into something a little easier…rainbow cake.
I saw the idea before, but it isn’t actually as complicated as I thought. You need a box of cake mix, plus eggs, oil, and water, and then you need food colouring, I had red, yellow, blue and green.

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Basically, you make the cake mix as directed…

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Then, we divided the cake mix into six equal parts, I just used cereal bowls…

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Then, we added a couple drops of food colouring to each bowl. When I say a couple I mean 6-8. Oh, and be careful when you are mixing colours like purple, always use less of the darker colour, like blue, and add one drop at a time, otherwise you won’t be able to see the red at all. Start with five drops of red, two drops of blue, and mix, then add more if you need it.

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Here are the colours we ended up with

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We decided to use measuring spoons to spoon them into cupcake liners, so we measured two tablespoons into each muffin liner, and it worked out pretty evenly. We started with the pink, then orange…

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Then, yellow, green blue and purple…

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Then, we popped them in the oven. Here is what they looked like when they came out…

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They didn’t exactly look pretty right out of the oven, but take a look at when we cut them open!

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The only problem is that they didn’t rise properly. As you can see, they didn’t even come up to the top of the cupcake liner. I am guessing it was because the batter took so long from mixing until it got into the pans. The most time consuming part was spooning each colour into the liners. Mixing the colours, didn’t take that long. So, next time, I will just make one big cake! I would do it again though, the kids at Sam’s party were really impressed by this one!