By Miranda

Jaclyn recently posted a super-fun contest on her own blog, Jaclyn Works it Out. It's called the Make Cupcakes, Not War Bake-Off! The idea for the bake-off was born from a totally true and amazing news story where UK Spies were able to hack into a terrorist website and replace instructions on how to make bombs with instructions on how to make cupcakes! You can read the full story here. Jaclyn's bake-off challenged contestants to bake a batch of cupcakes that could inspire world peace.

Now, if I am an extremist about anything in this world, it's cupcakes. It's safe to say that I eat at least one per week (usually with Jaclyn at our favorite local bakery, Blue Bird Bake Shop). I subscribe to cupcakes blogs. I have two cupcake shirts. I love making cupcake themed greeting cards (which I sell on Etsy; I know, shameless plug). I even have a friend who posts almost-weekly photos of cupcakes on my facebook page because he knows how much I love them. In my opinion, cupcakes really make the world happier.

I enjoy the art of cupcakes almost as much as I love eating them! Maybe that's partly because I can eat so few types of cupcakes at this point in my life. Thanks to IC, cupcakes with chocolate and/or fruit are not options for me. I have to stick with vanilla with buttercream frosting for the most part, which I really don't mind at all. I can't buy store bought or package cupcake mixes because they usually have citric acid, among other random ingredients that are not necessarily IC friendly. Luckily for me, one of Blue Bird Bake Shop's daily flavors is called "Sweet Cakes" and is vanilla cake with white chocolate chips baked in topped with vanilla butttercream frosting and white non-pareils sprinkled on top. Other than that, I'd be mostly on my own when it comes to making IC friendly cupcakes if it wasn't for the fact that I was too afraid to try to make any from scratch until just a couple days ago. This fear was the result of a failed attempt to make cupcakes for my 11th grade food prep class. That was over ten years ago though, and when Jaclyn posted her contest last week, I knew it was time for me to conquer my fear and bake some delicious, IC friendly cupcakes!

As I sat at work and thought about what the theme of my cupcake creation would be (you know, instead of actually working), my eyes wandered over to a birthday card from my friend Melissa that I have had displayed on my desk. I mentioned that I might be an extreme cupcake lover; well, she and I are both also pretty extreme polka dot lovers as well. We have each had to independently ask our sisters to be on polka-dot patrol to let us know if we are wearing too many types of polka dots on our persons at once. We are also always buying each other polka dot notepads and other little nonsensical dotty items. So when she found a greeting card that read, "Polka Dots Just Make The World Happier" she knew it was the perfect card for me. For her birthday a few months later, I went out and bought her the very same card (that was before I started making cards). But I have always been a greeting card junkie and I find this particular card to be truly inspiring; it makes great use of white space, it has the perfect subject and saying, and there are little puffy poms for texture at just the right spots.

Sitting at my desk that day, I realized that one of the best things about the card is that you could very easily substitute the word "cupcakes" for "polka dots" and it would still be just as true! At that moment, I knew that my world-peace inspiring cupcakes would have to involve polka dots. And what better way is there to incorporate polka dots into a cupcake than to make funfetti cupcakes?!?! I dare you to even try to come up with a better idea.


So it turned out that coming up with the idea for the cupcakes was much easier than actually making them. I started out following this recipe from bakingbites.com but I knew that I wanted to add vanilla pudding to the mix because I wanted my cupcakes to be moist (which my 11th grade nightmare cupcakes were not). After doing some research I was under the impression that I could substitute one egg for a box of vanilla pudding mix. That didn't sound right to me, but the internet doesnt lie, right?!?


I mixed everything together, but the batter was less like cake batter and more like cookie dough. Not that I have anything against cookie dough, but it certainly wasn't what I was going for. So I decided to add the third eggwhite that I had left out. That wasn't enough though. I added some vegetable oil and then I finally felt like it was time to bake them up. Here's the final recipe and directions I used for the batter, which is somewhat modified from the original recipe:

1/2 cup organic 2% milk
3 large organic egg whites
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups organic flour
1 cup all natural sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp butter, soft
1 box vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp sprinkles (this kind; I read that most types of sprinkles would cause the color to run too much, but these just helped give a subtle polka dot look inside).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line cupcake pan with with paper liners.

In a measuring cup, whisk together milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract.

Set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, pudding mix, salt, and baking powder. Stir.

Cut in butter. Add dairy mixture and vegetable oil and beat at medium for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl and continue beating for 20-30 seconds.

Stir in sprinkles.

Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for for 18 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

My recipe made 12 large cupcakes and 12 small ones.

I worked on the frosting while the cupcakes baked and I was pleasantly surprised that they smelled quite good!

I used this buttercream frosting from allrecipes.com and added food coloring to make it purple because purple is one of the best colors there is:

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
6 drops blue food coloring
4 drops red food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.


Next it was time to decorate! Now, I have never tried to use anything besides a knife to frost cupcakes, so this was my first attempt at using a decorating bag and I only had two kinds of frosting tips, so my frosting came out a bit erratic looking, but I liked it overall. Maybe that's because I'm a bit erratic at times!
And of course I added polka dot sprinkles to top it all off!


After all was said and done, my cupcakes didn't come out bad at all; they were actually quite moist and delicious! Most importantly, they were peace-inspiring because, as you now know, polka dots and cupcakes just make the world happier!