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Kick-Ass Cupcakes for Grad Party

OK, what are the latest (yes, I know there are old threads - let's do another!) amazing cupcakes that you've made?

I need them for my friend's son's graduation party.

Chocolate is already being done, as is lemon-raspberry.

I am thinking about retooling an old almond paste cake recipe with some browned butter, then frosting with butterscotch and topping with salty candied sliced almonds.

Does this sound stupid?

My other thought was gingerbread with orange cream cheese frosting.

Your ideas? Recipes?

Thanks!

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  1. Almond paste sounds great. Gingerbread reminds me of winter. How about going trendy to help them remember what was popular when they graduated, maybe salted caramel with bacon?

    http://www.lifewithlisa.com/caramel-s...

    Maybe do the chocolate to look like Hostess cupcakes to remind them of childhood?

    Recently, I've been popping in a scoop of cookie dough in the middle of cupcakes and that has been popular.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      Do you put the cookie dough in before baking? Any adjustment to baking time needed?

      1. re: cheesymama

        Yes, I put it in first, then batter over it. I always put them in shortest baking time and then check from then. It takes about the same time.

        Despite all the fun flavors, the most popular these days among kids is red velvet. I don't care for it myself but kids go crazy for them. What about mini red velvet cupcakes? I always think cupcakes are too big and minis are the perfect size.

      2. re: chowser

        Cookie dough, really? That sounds really interesting!

        I'm not doing the chocolate ones, so I can't do the squiggle......;-(

        Thinking about the bacon....

      3. The last three times I've made an assortment of cupcakes, vanilla bean was the first to go every time. It may seem plain jane, but people go for them. I do make mine with actual vanilla bean in both the cake and the frosting in addition to the normal amount of extract though. Plus, it gives people who aren't wild about chocolate (those people do exist) an option if they aren't wild about lemon (I love lemon, and while my lemon cupcakes are very popular, vanilla always runs out before lemon). People also get weirdly nostalgic over funfetti (I never saw the appeal, but is not horrible if you take your favorite homemade recipe and add your favorite brand of sprinkles instead of the boxed mix).

        I like your ideas in theory (really, I love gingerbread, almond, brown butter and butterscotch), but both of those options seem...heavy for June. Gingerbread is just heavy with spices traditionally seen in holiday baking and butterscotch reminds me of schnapps by the fire and ice fishing. Otherwise, in warmer weather, I tend to lean more towards things like coconut lime, margarita with a little salt in the frosting, champagne (sometimes with a strawberry or raspberry leaning), pineapple upside down (I tend to make it a little less syrupy/buttery in the summer) or pineapple coconut, snickerdoodle (not as heavily spicy as spice cake or gingerbread), creamsicle, or some almond variation like honey almond or apricot almond.

        3 Replies
        1. re: amishangst

          You make some great points. I would love to do the vanilla, with cooked flour frosting...the parent here wanted more exotic flavors...I might approach it with her.

          I was thinking about coconut or toasted coconut - the lime part sounds really refreshing!

          I've never ice fished or had schnapps!

          1. re: sandylc

            if not coconut lime, key lime is always a nice summer refresher… scoop out a little filling reservoir in the top of a graham flour or vanilla bean (with or without lime zest) cupcake and fill with key lime curd, top with a swirl of lightly sweetened whipped cream and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs

            peach cobbler -- vanilla or almond cupcake filled with peach preserves and topped with a streusel

            drumstick cupcakes? topped with buttercream dipped in a magic shell of sorts, sprinkled with nuts, and topped with a cone… or bake in a cone

            cheesecake cupcakes?

          2. re: amishangst

            margarita idea sounds great. also agree on good vanilla!

          3. I saw some dulce leche cupcakes at a local bakery recently which seems to be a popular flavor.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ruthie789

              i was also thinking of an awesome kahlua and cream cupcake i had at crave cupcake in houston. but, not for the underage set, of course.

              i also adored this one from crave -- man, was it fabulous! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842374 -- an intense vanilla buttercream on a dark chocolate cupcake. WOWZA!

            2. The almond sounds good to me but if not that, what about cinnamon toast crunch cupcakes? I am not a cereal eater but I confess that I love that stuff and sneak a square periodically. These look really good to me:

              http://www.kailleyskitchen.com/2013/0...

              1. You could have a vanilla cupcake and fill with different fillings, strawberry is my favorite, with different icings.