all natural red velvet cupcakes

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Since last year, when I posted my all natural red velvet cake, which I made without red food dye, dozens of people have tried my recipe. For some, it worked well, and for some, it did not. Making a cake is hard enough without the addition of carefully balancing the pH levels, and it seemed everything affected the outcome of the color, whether it was the type of flour used, the type of cocoa, fineness of the ground beets, and on and on and on. People in Europe, for some reason, had the most difficult time with it, and I have yet to hear of a reader across the Atlantic who got a red cake at the end of it.

caramel filled hi hat cupcakes

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Or pure sugar. Just call me Paula Deen. These things are so loaded with sugar that every well-intentioned parent is going to come after me with hate mail in the comments section. In fact, if you’re from Europe, don’t even make these. They’re way too sweet.

Though I had trouble eating these with all their sugar, I must have had at least four of them. There was just something so perfect about the way the warm caramel soaked through the cake, and the way it balanced with the dark chocolate in the crispy outer shell.

bake sale week: chocolate mini bundts

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I own a mini bundt pan. I think that puts me in the the Crazy Baker category or something. When I bought it a year ago, I thought for sure I was going to ride the mini bundt cake trend that was sure to replace the cupcake scene. Since then, I have made all of two recipes, and honestly, I don’t see that many other people have been may either. I suspect it’s owing to the fact that little cakes are a beast to pry out, let alone the sticky mess putting the batter into the pan.

So even though these cakes are pretty and cute, rest assured there’s no need to feel like an underachiever if you can’t make them with what you’ve already got. I say use your muffin tins. I’m sure they’ll be wonderful.

vanilla bean cupcakes with strawberry buttercream

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My son came up with his own joke when he was two, and it goes like this:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Why?

Because he had the day off!

He still tells the joke at least twice a week.

Today, after preschool, he came to me crying because no one had asked him to play. He said to me, with tears in his eyes, “I want to be like the chicken who crossed the road!”

Apparently, he wanted the day off from getting a ride home. What ensued was a quiet tantrum of sorts, with me driving slowly alongside him, while he refused to get in the car.