Prologue (to a long night)

I realized, belatedly, one night that I needed something sweet for a work conference the next day. I decided something “easy” with a cake mix was in order. I looked in the pantry and all I had on hand was a white cake mix. Now, there’s nothing wrong with white cake, absolutely not. But I’ve found through, uh, experience, that when I want to be creative with cake, unless I add things to it, white cake mix is just not the sturdiest of stuff. I’m sure it’s my imagination, but that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

So, right off you may be saying, well okay, if you’ve had disasters before with it, why did you use it again? How about cookies or brownies or something else with flour? All good points, but no, I was sure using the cake mix would be both easier and faster. All I wanted to do was stuff them with the little mini candies I had. It would be fine, history notwithstanding. I know. What was I thinking? Well, I wasn’t. So, like every other dreamer believing that maybe this time would be different, I plowed ahead.

Eternal Optimist

Baked Disaster

The baking procedure itself seemed to go all right. I filled the little muffin cups (my usual 24 semi-mini cupcake pan by Calphalon) about ½ to ¾ full then plopped a mini candy in the center. All I had to do was bake according to the actual doneness, turn the pan in the middle (as always), and then set them out to cool. Easy peasy.

As I turned the pan at the half-point, I knew things weren’t going as planned, but I ignored the bubbling and the ready-to-explode look of my creations and just shut the door. When time was up, I took the pan out of the oven. I couldn’t ignore it this time, I was in trouble. Some of the little guys had indeed exploded. Not kidding. Milky Way and Snickers were ‘volcano-ing’ out of the centers and all over the pan (I didn’t even want to look in the oven, ugh).

But I was still thinking, while trying not to panic, that I could make it work. Maybe a little frosting or chocolate drizzle could save them. I continued in my hopeful state running a plastic knife around each after a couple minutes of cooling. Despite a good amount of cooking spray, the little devils stuck and fell apart. Double Ugh.

Instead of looking something like this:

Great Expectations

They looked something like this, only worse in real life:

Sad, so sad

It was close to 11pm when I finally admitted partial defeat. I ruefully scooped what was left of the “Stuffed Cuppies” into a plastic container and let them chill in the fridge for a night (“time out” for delinquent cupcakes).

Solving the Crime

The next morning I woke-up at 5 a.m with a possible solution. I put the whole mess into my six cup stand alone mixer and threw in a 1/4 cup or so of crunchy peanut butter. I then added a small tub of toasted marshmallow fluff. Yes, marshmallow fluff. Despite my dubious history with the homemade version, see here, I was willing to give the store bought version another chance. I mean, why not at this point?

I mixed the concoction on low then folded-in some Mini-M&M’s for color. I then made large teaspoon size balls of dough and placed them onto a Silpat covered cookie sheet. Lastly, I flattened the top and re-baked for about 18-20 mins at 350 degrees until the bottoms were golden, the tops crispy and the centers still soft.

I dressed them with my go-to chocolate dip and some confetti sprinkles to match the M&M’s. I called success at about 8am (over 12 hours later) and named the colorful re-inventions “Triple Sweet Toasted Marshmallow” drops. They were a hit and no one knew what they were originally supposed to be!

You’d never know they were supposed to be cupcakes!

Confectionary Redemption

The bottom line, as I’ve said before and will say again, is get creative with your “disasters”. Usually, throwing them together in another form and adding some more mix-ins will do the trick (if all else fails, dip ‘em in chocolate). And yes, you can re-bake just as I did. The extra work is often way better than wasting all those delicious ingredients. Besides, you can learn at least a little from your mistakes. I did. Of course I did! Next time I’ll let the little cuppies bake a bit before plopping the mini bar inside so they won’t explode all over the oven. And I’ll probably remember not to use an unaltered white cake mix. Probably. Happy Baking!




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