Mini Cheesecakes, (or what I brought to Easter dinner)

Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes

Good morning, folks,  Happy Spring,  Welcome to Monday, and here I am back….did you miss me?  I certainly missed you!

Last week was a whirlwind of busy-ness, and I didn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so our meals devolved into left overs and quick and easy ones that are already on these pages somewhere.  Can you believe one evening we even had Chinese Takeout?   Well, what can I say?  We like it every so often (in a pinch).   The point to all this being …I didn’t have anything new to share with you,  until Easter weekend rolled around, that is.

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The family gathered at my niece’s house–she wanted to try being the hostess for the first time.  I like to encourage our younger family members to try hostessing and entertaining,  and so I said,  “what can I do to help with dinner?”   The answer:  “Oh, Aunt Carolyn, will you please make dessert?”   YES!

I had seen a picture of miniature cheesecakes in a magazine that were so cute, I really wanted to try them.  They were individual ones, made in muffin tins, with the tops decorated with toasted coconut and mini chocolate eggs to look like little nests.  I knew the children would really like them…and the adults too!  They were super easy to make and came out just right.  I was so pleased.  Those pictured below were decorated with help from a 3-year-old, so they may not look perfect.  A few extra “eggs” may have been eaten along the way, but it was fun doing it with a little girl to help me!

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The crust under the cheese filling is meant to be made with graham cracker crumbs, but in our family we have an allergy to graham crackers, so I always use a shortbread cookie instead.  In this case I used Nilla Wafers, crushed to replace the graham crumbs.  I also used a low-fat cream cheese in place of the regular, for a reduction of some fat and calories.  It all worked out beautifully.

As the cheesecakes bake, the tops of them get cracked, but as they cool, and the tops sink a bit, the cracks close up, and they are covered by the toasted coconut “grass”, so don’t worry about that small detail.

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It has occurred to me that these little cakes would be a perfect dessert for a buffet.  With Mother’s Day coming up soon, bridal showers and graduations too, just change out the type of little candies in the “nest” to fit the occasion.  So cute!!

MINI CHEESECAKES

Yield:  Makes 18 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (or other type of cookie crumb)IMG_9528
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 pkg. cream cheese, softened (8-oz. each)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut
  • 54 tiny speckled chocolate eggs

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325*F.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.

2.  Mix graham crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and melted butter in a small bowl until uniformly moistened and crumbly.  Press 1 Tbsp. crumbs into the bottoms of muffin cups.

Crumbs in the bottom of the cups.

Crumbs in the bottom of the cups.

3.  Beat cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar with mixer until smooth.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.

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Spoon over crusts.  (Each cup takes about 2 Tbsp. filling)

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4.  Bake at 325*F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until centers are almost set.  Cool completely.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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To toast coconut:  pour the 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut onto a baking sheet and bake at 325*. for 5 minutes.  Watch carefully to prevent over browning.

Toasted Coconut.

Toasted Coconut.

5.  Top each cheesecake with 1 Tbsp. toasted coconut shaped into a nest.

Fill each one with 3 tiny speckled chocolate eggs.

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SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, Lightened Up

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

With the chill that’s been in the air the last few days now, I’m finally getting a desire to eat some of the foods and flavors that we typically associate with fall.  Enjoying a pumpkin latte at Starbucks is pretty high up there on my list of favorite things to do and I have been know to also order a pumpkin spice cream cheese muffin to go with it.  Nothing like a little pumpkin overload.  😀

Now, I know that those muffins contain a whopping number of calories, fat and sugar, but they are so delicious.  As an occasional treat they are OK,  but I would like to enjoy them more frequently in a healthier version.   As luck would have it, I recently came across a recipe on-line for a copycat of the pumpkin muffins, and so with that as a basis, I set out to lighten it up, and see if I could still retain the luscious taste of the original muffin.

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In my opinion these are pretty close to the original.  If not an exact duplicate, they are close enough to be equally enjoyable, and a whole lot healthier.  My makeover included replacing the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat, replacing much of the oil with applesauce, reducing the sugar, and using low-fat cream cheese for the filling.  In addition, I made a crumb topping that includes oats for extra texture and a little more fiber.  These muffins have been a hit with everyone who has had them, and I feel much better about sharing them, knowing that they are not such calorie bombs!.

The on-line recipe makes a total of 24 muffins, which is way too many for me and Mr. D., so I cut it in half and made only 12 muffins.  The full recipe is presented here for those of you who like to make larger quantities, but can easily be halved if you want to.  The muffins freeze very well, and rewarm nicely in the microwave.   In fact, they are more spicy and intensely flavorful when warm.

LIGHTER PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS

Yield:   24 muffins

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. honey

For the muffins:

Five spices plus cocoa and molasses make them intensely flavorful.

Five spices plus cocoa and molasses make them intensely flavorful.

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2  tsp. ginger
  • 4  tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

For the topping: *

  • 4 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour
  • 7 Tbsp. old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp. turbinado (coarse) sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

1.   Make the filling:  combine the cream cheese and honey in a small bowl.  Beat with an electric beater until smooth.  Scrape onto a piece of wax paper, and shape into a long roll (log), not any wider than a muffin cup.  Place into the freezer to chill while you mix up the batter and fill the pans.

Make filling, roll into a log and chill it.

Make filling, roll into a log and chill it.

2.  Make the muffins:  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients ( flour through baking soda).

In  another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, oil and applesauce.  Blend well.  Add to dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated.

3.  Make the topping:  combine all ingredients except butter in a medium bowl.  Whisk to blend.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is course and crumbly.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Have the topping all made and ready.

Have the topping all made and ready.

4.  Assemble muffins:  fill each muffin cup with a small amount of batter ( 1 – 2 Tablespoons) just to cover bottom of the liner.

A little batter in the bottom of each cup.

A little batter in the bottom of each cup.

Remove filling from freezer and cut into 24  slices.  Place one slice of filling in each muffin cup.

Put a slice of filling into each cup.

Put a slice of filling into each cup.

Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing it on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.

Cover with remaining batter.

Cover with remaining batter.

Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each muffin.

Sprinkle on topping.

Sprinkle on topping.

5.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  A toothpick inserted near the center should test clean. (Avoid the cream cheese filling.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Imagine biting into one of these!

Imagine biting into one of these!

This will be extremely difficult to do, but the filling gets very hot, so please resist temptation.  😀

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins,  unbelievably delicious.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, unbelievably delicious.

*  Topping is completely optional.  These muffins are great with or without the topping.  Chopped walnuts or pecans could be mixed into the topping, or sprinkled on top in place of the topping.

P. S.  I wish I had made 24, because now they are all gone and I just have to make more.

SOURCE:   Heavily adapted from Food.com

Shrimp Taco Dip

If you’re getting the idea that I made a lot of appetizers recently, you’d be right.  The holiday weekend brought with it invitations to two cookouts and when that happens I like to volunteer the same kinds of dishes to both events.  So it was appetizers and desserts that I brought to each cookout.

Shrimp Taco Dip with Tortilla Chips.

Shrimp Taco Dip with Tortilla Chips.

This particular appetizer was one that I found in a new cookbook that I got when I was on vacation last fall.  It fuses the flavors of a shrimp cocktail with a taco dip.  I must say that it turned out to be very popular and it disappeared quite quickly. I find that when I bring a dish to a gathering, I either forget to take a picture of it, or when I do remember it has already been half eaten, which is the case here.  So please forgive the lack of a decent photograph of this yummy dip that I served with reduced-fat baked tortilla chips. All the ingredients in the dip are on the low end of the calorie/fat scale so that I could enjoy  having some  along with everyone else.

Over half gone by the time I got to take this picture!

Over half gone by the time I got to take this picture!

I would also like to tell you about this cookbook that I found in a little gift shop when I was in North Carolina last fall.  It is one of a series whose titles all begin with the words, “Any Bitch can —”  with Bitch being an anachronym for Babe in Total Control of Herself  My book is called “Any Bitch can lose it”.  That is meant in a good way!

SHRIMP TACO DIP

Yield:   about 2 cups

Just a few ingredients go into this delicious dip.

Just a few ingredients go into this delicious dip.

Ingredients:

  • 8 – oz. less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 T. skim milk
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 2 T. Taco seasoning
  • 1  (4 – oz.) can tiny shrimp, drained, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.  Mix the cream cheese and milk in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Stir in the chili sauce and taco seasoning, and combine well.

2.  Add in the shrimp, scallions, green pepper and cheese.  Stir to incorporate evenly.  Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

3.  Spoon into a serving bowl and surround with reduced-fat tortilla chips.

Shrimp Taco Dip with Tortilla Chips.

Shrimp Taco Dip with Tortilla Chips.

SOURCE:   Any Bitch can Lose it.

Very Berry Strawberry Cookies

Very Berry Strawberry  Cookies

Very Berry Strawberry Cookies

This is the time of year when strawberries are reappearing at the market and they look so beautiful; red, ripe and juicy.  They never fail to get my creative juices flowing.  The native berries that grow here where I live have not ripened yet  (usually not till the end of May), so until those are available I will use the California-grown berries available at the market.

However, I have found from past experience  that baking with strawberries does not produce a true, vivid strawberry flavor.  They are so much more enjoyable in their natural state, luscious and juicy with just a little sugar on them.  So for baking I have been exploring ways to get a true strawberry flavor.  I think I have found the answer, and it happened quite by accident.  One morning I was eating Special K cereal with Red Berries and was struck by how strong the berry flavor was.  These freeze-dried strawberries had the color and flavor I have been looking for.  So I searched the dried fruits section of the supermarket and there I found bags of freeze-dried strawberries.

Freeze dried strawberries can be pulverized into powder.

Freeze dried strawberries can be pulverized into powder.

Bingo!  I was on to something.  Reasoning that if I could crush or pulverize those freeze dried berries and mix the powder into the dough,  I could get the strong flavor I wanted.    I love to experiment,  so I was excited to give this a try.  The results, I’m happy to tell you, were quite good.   Using a recipe I had for a basic sugar cookie that also uses some cream cheese, and adding the strawberry powder to the dough,  I got a tender cookie with a pretty pink color and real strawberry flavor.  They are just great on their own, but you know what?   You can also mix this strawberry powder into cream cheese frosting and make sandwich cookies for a double-whammy of strawberry goodness.  (Notice that I’m not mentioning calories here!)    Ok, Ok, let’s be reasonable.  Let’s enjoy these cookies with a dish of strawberry ice cream instead!!!

The perfect accompaniment to Very Strawberry ice cream.

The perfect accompaniment to Very Strawberry ice cream.

VERY BERRY STRAWBERRY  COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 4 1/2 dozen 2″ cookies, or 27 sandwich cookies

For the Cookies:

  •  1 cup  ( 2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup  ( 4 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature.  Reduced fat version is OK.
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup strawberry powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups flour,  I used half white whole wheat flour;

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese  (4-ounces)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons strawberry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon strawberry jam
  • milk or cream as needed for spreading consistency

To make the cookies:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.  Begin by crushing the dry strawberries.  I used a mortar and pestle and was able to get a fine powder with little or no lumps.  If you have difficulty getting it smooth, you can always sift the powder to remove any lumps.   Measure 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons if making the filling.

3.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, salt and baking powder, strawberry powder and sugars.

Mixing up the cream cheese, butter, sugars and strawberry powder.

Mixing up the cream cheese, butter, sugars and strawberry powder.

4.  Once the mixture is nice and light and fluffy, beat in the egg and then mix in the flour.

5.  Scoop by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets.  Flatten each cookie into a 2″ circle with the bottom of a glass dipped into sugar.

Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and flatten into  2-inch circles.

Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and flatten into 2-inch circles.

Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, until barely golden around the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.  Makes about 54 cookies.

To make the filling:

1.  Beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy.  Add the strawberry jam, and blend into the cream cheese.  Add the sugar and strawberry powder gradually  along with small amounts of milk or cream to achieve a spreading consistency.

2.  Generously frost the bottom side of one cookie and top with another to make a tasty sandwich.  Makes about 27 sandwich cookies.

These are not going to last long.

These are not going to last long.

You can never have too much of a very good thing!

You can never have too much of a very good thing!

SOURCE;  a Carolyn Original based on a modified recipe for sugar cookies from Taste of Home

Carrot Raisin Bread Sandwiches

Carrot Raisin Bread Sandwiches

Carrot Raisin Bread Sandwiches

Finger Foods are obviously foods you can eat with your fingers.  No utensils required.  This category of foods is actually quite broad if you think about it, covering appetizers,  main entree, and dessert.  But during this busy holiday season when we were asked to bring “finger foods” to an event, I was initially stumped as to what to bring.  The more I thought about it, however, I remembered having a rather unique sandwich at a luncheon that I attended last year.  At that event everyone loved these sandwiches and wanted to know how to make them.

Unusual in their combination of ingredients, but very delicious indeed.  They will be remembered, and your guests will want the recipe.  They are so easy to make that I don’t even need to present the usual recipe format.  Here’s all it takes:

Get these ingredients together:   1 cup grated carrots,  1 – 8 ounce  package cream cheese,  1/2 a can cream cheese frosting,  1/4 cup chopped nuts.     Mix all together and spread on raisin bread.   Use a good quality bread such as Peppridge Farms.

1 Cup grated carrots

1 Cup grated carrots

Whip cream cheese and frosting together to blend.

Whip cream cheese and frosting together to blend.

Add chopped nuts and grated carrots.

Add chopped nuts and grated carrots.

Blend everything together so its creamy and spreadable.

Blend everything together so its creamy and spreadable.

Spread filling on raisin bread.

Spread filling on raisin bread.

Cut into halves or quarters and arrange on a serving plate.   EASY.   PRETTY.  YUM-YUM Good!

Cut into quarters and plate up for an attractive presentation.

Cut into quarters and plate up for an attractive presentation.

Bacon and Pierogi Bake

I sometimes rely  on convenience  foods from the freezer section of the supermarket when I am short on time.  They give a “jump-start” to dinner preparations, and often are more economical than what I can make at home.  Pierogis are one of those food items.  Pierogies are filled dumplings; the fillings varying from potatoes, to cheeses, to spinach, or any combinations of these.   The most common way I fix them is to boil them as directed on the package, and serve with melted butter and sautéed onions.  Teamed up with a protein item and a salad, they round out the meal by providing carbohydrates and, depending on their filling, a small additional amount of protein as well.

In this baked dish, however,  I pair pierogies with bacon and a very simple cheese sauce. Top with more cheese, bake for a short time and top with chopped tomatoes and green onions.  Serve with a green salad.  I think this dish is colorful and looks nice baked in gratin dishes for individual casseroles.

INGREDIENTS

Servings:  about 4

  • 1  package ( 16 oz.) frozen pierogies, filling of your choice
  • Cooking spray
  • 2-3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup (3 oz.) 1/3-less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat-free low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Arrange pierogies in an 11″ x 7″ baking dish, or individual casseroles, coated with cooking spray.

3.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towel.  Set aside.

4.  Add garlic to drippings in pan, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add 1/3 cup cream cheese to pan, cook for 1 minute or until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently.  Gradually add  chicken broth, stirring with a whisk till smooth.   Pour this mixture evenly over the pierogies.

5.  Top with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated.  Remove from oven, and sprinkle with bacon, green onions, and tomatoes.

       SOURCE:  adapted from  Cooking Light Magazine

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

This recipe was developed out of boredom with plain ole brownies.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a good brownie!  I’ll never turn away from one especially if served with a dab of ice cream.  But on this particular day I needed to bake something to bring to a pot-luck get-together, and since brownies are always a popular choice, I decided to dress these up  with the addition of a cheesecake swirl using cream cheese and some raspberry jam.  They turned out to be very moist and chewy, and somewhat decadent .

RASPBERRY CREAM-CHEESE BROWNIES

Servings;   16 brownie squares

FILLING INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 0z. 1/3 -less- fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg

BROWNIE INGREDIENTS

  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons raspberry preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom only of an 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. To prepare filling, place filling ingredients in a medium mixer bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended.  Set aside.
  3. To prepare brownies,  combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together lightly.  Combine sugar, cocoa, melted butter, water, vanilla, and eggs, and stir well with a whisk.  Add the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Pour/spread two-thirds of batter into prepared pan.  Pour filling over batter, spreading evenly.  Carefully drop the remaining batter and preserves by spoonfuls over filling;  swirl together using the tip of a knife to marble.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
 SOURCE:    This is the fusion of two recipes from Better Homes and Gardens The Complete Book of Baking

No-Bake Fresh Strawberry Pie

In the area where I live many of the farms are still picking  strawberries, since the days have been very warm and sunny.  I didn’t want to miss out on having some native strawberries, but I also didn’t want to use my oven unless really necessary.  This recipe for a no-bake version of strawberry pie caught my attention for those reasons.  The combination of juicy spring berries piled atop a layer of creamy filling in a chocolate crust.  What’s not to like here?

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ready-made chocolate crumb  9 inch pie crust (such as Oreo)
  • 6 ounces 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed  (I used fat-free)
  • 2 Tablespoons seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 Tablespoon raspberry-flavored liqueur (I use my own homemade liqueur, but Chambord is one you can purchase)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut in half, or pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place pie crust in the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
  2. Place cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl;  beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.  Carefully spread over bottom of crust.
  4. Place strawberry jam in a large microwave safe bowl;  microwave at HIGH 10 seconds or until softened .  Add liqueur and lemon juice;  stir with a whisk until smooth.  Add the berries; toss to coat the berries with the jam mixture.
  5. Arrange berries over the filling.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Cut into wedges;  serves  8
   

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from  Cooking Light Magazine,  May, 2012

Red Velvet “Soda Can” Cupcakes

The end of June and beginning of July has been a very busy time with parties to celebrate various milestones within our family and  with friends.  I’ve already told you about my granddaughter’s graduation party and what I baked for that.  Today’s blog is about cupcakes that I made for a friend’s 20th anniversary in professional practice; and  since it is right around the Fourth of July, I went with the Patriotic theme.

I have been reading recently in some of the blogs I follow about a quick way to make a cake or cupcakes using nothing more than a boxed cake mix and a can of soda.  Really?  That’s what I said!  So I tried it and found out they come out really moist and kind of chewy;  The texture is not as fine as a cake’s, but for a cupcake I really liked that.  The cake and soda combo I used was Red Velvet Cake Mix and Cherry Coke.  I think it will be fun to try some other flavor combinations such as lemon cake with Sierra Mist or lemon and lime soda. So many possibilities.  If you haven’t heard about this until now, try it.  It’s a novel idea whose time has come.

For the frosting on my cupcakes, I wanted white, so I made a simple cream cheese and butter cream frosting, piped on with a large star decorating tip.  Then I sprinkled them with a “stars and stripes” sprinkle mix and topped each one with a tiny flag.  So Cute!

This is all you need:  a boxed cake mix and an 8 oz can of room temperature soda.  I poured that amount from a full-size bottle, because I couldn’t find the cans.

This is what it looks like when you start to mix it up.

Use a whisk to mix it up, working out most of the lumps.

Line muffin cups with liners and fill 1/2 – 2/3s full. Do not overfill.

After baking. I got a total of 17 cupcakes, could have gotten 18, by making them a tad bit smaller.

FROSTING:

4 ounces cream cheese

6 tablespoons butter

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the frosting, put the cream cheese and butter in small bowl of mixer and blend together to cream.  Sift in the sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.  If you plan to pipe it on with a decorating tip, it needs to be quite stiff.   I refrigerated my frosting a bit after mixing just to get it stiff enough to decorate with.  Unless you are serving the cupcakes right away, it is wise to refrigerate them to prevent frosting melt in this warm weather.

Really Cute! They tasted as good as they looked.

SOURCE:  Thanks to Cookiesandcups.com

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everyone.