A Festivus for the rest of us!

On Saturday, my fiancé and I hosted our second annual (he’s been throwing one for years) Festivus party! If you’re unfamiliar with the origins of Festivus, Google it, and hopefully a clip of the Seinfeld episode is on YouTube. I grew up watching Seinfeld with my parents, and they to this day watch the re-runs after work while preparing dinner. Most people I’ve come across either love or hate Seinfield, but both my family and my fiancé’s family are fans.

Last year was unfortunately kind of a flop, as the first snow storm of the year rolled in, and we wound up only having two guests! This year, with no reports of potential snow, I knew I needed to make sure we had enough goodies. The party was more than just a Festivus celebration, it was also the first time most of our friends were seeing our new place! Needless to say, the pressure was on.

I always make some type of cupcakes. This time, instead of making full sized, I realized they would likely go faster if I made mini’s instead. I like to make them seasonal, or at the very least boozy. While I left out the booze this time, you could definitely add it in if you want, since I made eggnog cupcakes, courtesy of Southern Living! Based on the recipe I used, I wound up with 60 mini cupcakes. Plenty for all of the party-goers, and enough to bring into work on Monday as well. In addition to the cupcakes, I wanted to make something savory. I had a bunch of recipes to choose from, but wound up settling on Brown Eyed Baker’s Italian Gougeres, coming in a later post.

But back to the cupcakes – the cake was perfectly moist and just the right amount of eggnog. I actually tasted eggnog for the very first time after I mixed it into the batter. There was some leftover, so I decided to take a swig. I guess it’s a good thing I liked it, since I was already committed to 60 mini cupcakes with it. The frosting, though, was a bit runny. Even though it had cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar, I couldn’t get it thick enough to allow me to really do any decorating (I added A LOT of extra sugar). It wound up almost drying on the cakes though with a nice sheen, so they looked okay. But I would have liked to do something a little more snazzy!

I definitely think you could add some dark rum to the cake and/or frosting mixture to give it that boozy kick that I’m such a fan of. Nothing quite like a festive drink in cupcake form!

Eggnog Cupcakes via Southern Living
– makes 60 mini cupcakes, or about 24 regular cupcakes –

Cake Ingredients:
1 (16oz.) package pound cake mix
1 1/4 cups eggnog
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat all ingredients together at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Increase speed to medium, and beat 2 minutes. Pour into lined cupcake pan, filling about 3/4 .
2. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, about 10-15 minutes.

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:
1. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with eggnog, beginning and ending with sugar and beating at low speed. Add freshly grated nutmeg and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.
3. Spread over cupcakes.

Cupcake Storage: An Experiment

I don’t bake too often, but when I do, I always make the full recipe. Since there’s only two of us, I always have leftovers. This poses a problem with baked goods; what are you supposed to do with those left over?! Leave them out in the open? Wrap them in foil? Put it in an air-tight container? Refrigerate? Freeze? So many choices!!

When I last baked, I made the Chipotle Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes, and my fiancé and I wound up throwing about half of them out, because I had forgotten to cover them. When we were in Disney World, we picked up Minnie’s Cupcake Mix, and I was thinking about how it’s time to make them. But, worried about having extras and storage, I turned to Google.

I read a ton of different suggestions, that really just left my head spinning. Some sites said just to cover them and leave them at room temp. Others said air-tight at room temp. Or in the fridge air-tight. I also found a little tip section on one of my favorite cupcake blogs, Cupcakes Take The Cake about freezing them.

So, since there were so many different suggestions, I decided to take matters in to my own hands. I’m going to make those Minnie Mouse cupcakes (sans frosting), and store one in each of the aforementioned styles. I’ll freeze one, leave one out uncovered, another out in foil, another out in an air-tight container, and another in the fridge in an air-tight container. I already know that simply putting them in the fridge bare or in foil results in hardening in just a few days. I’ll leave each of the test cupcakes in their designated areas for two days. Then, I’ll sample each of the five cupcakes for freshness, and report back.

If you’re like me and bake and have left overs, stay tuned to find out the best way to store them. Expect an update next week!