It’s another day in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The streets in our neighborhood are still a horrid mess, but the recovery process has begun in earnest. It’s very exciting that some public transportation is going to up and running by tomorrow morning, as it is operational a few days earlier than predicted. Matt and I still cannot do much in the way of work, but we did get out for lunch today.
Our neighboring town has a strip of various shops and restaurants; it was nice to walk around, grab a tasty meal of Cuban cuisine, and engage in a little retail therapy. We saw many little kids decked out in their Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating around the commercial establishments. Thanks to Sandy, many residential streets around the city aren’t safe to walk in the dark, so businesses participated in the Halloween tradition. Kids in costume walked up to cashiers, yelled “Trick or Treat!” and their plastic pumpkins were rewarded with various candies. It was really sweet and heartening, that a neighborhood would band together after a devastating natural disaster to ensure kids still had a fun and proper Halloween. Made me a very proud New Yorker.
These turned out delicious – a perfect treat for fall. I do feel slightly guilty for using a boxed cake mix, as I try to always bake from scratch. In cleaning out my pantry recently, I found a box of yellow cake mix that had been in there for God knows how long. And even though I’m a big proponent of cooking real food from scratch, I still hated the idea of throwing it out. So I used it for these cupcakes, with apologies. No matter, everyone loved them. I hope you can enjoy these before fall comes to a close.
Source: Look and Cook, by Rachael Ray
1 box yellow cake mix, plus required ingredients
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Regular sized cupcake/muffin liners
Mix the cake batter according to package directions, except swap whatever liquid called for with an equal amount of apple cider. Line two (12 count) muffin tins with the liners. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the liners evenly with the batter. Bake according to package directions. Let cool in the muffin tin for about five minutes, then transfer them to cooling racks and let them cool completely.
Make the frosting: in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add the powdered sugar. Once combined, add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix until smooth and creamy.
Fill a pastry bag with whatever tip you choose (or fill a plastic food storage back and snip off the corner tip) with the frosting about halfway. Twist the end, then pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
Note: I went a little overboard in piping on the frosting, and ran out before I got to the last two or three cakes. So please be mindful of that!