Cherry Garden (aka Cherry Pineapple Coconut) cupcakes

So I have a fun dessert creation for you today!  Since it was my boyfriend’s birthday yesterday, I decided to bake him some cupcakes to celebrate the occasion. Jon is a big fan of all things pineapple- flavored and since his favorite ice cream flavor is Cherry Garden (which is impossible to find….but contains pineapple, cherry and coconut), I used the flavors of pineapple,  coconut and cherry as my “inspiration.”

For Jon’s last two birthdays I actually “made” his favorite ice cream for him, meaning I:

  1. bought vanilla ice cream
  2. took it out of the carton
  3. added pineapple chunks, shredded coconut, and marachino cherries
  4. put the new creation back into the original carton
  5. Created a label (complete with badly drawn cherries, of course) that read “Cherry Garden”

I’m pretty sure I could give Sandra Lee a run for her money….

But this year, I thought I’d switch things up and go the cake (vs. ice cream) route. I decided to make a Cherry Garden-inspired cupcake creation. While browsing on Pinterest the other week I came across a recipe for Pineapple Fluff cupcakes, so I stuck to the cake portion of that recipe (sticking maraschino cherries into the batter as well), and made a semi-homemade version of coconut  whipped cream frosting.

These cupcakes contain no added butter or oil (except for the frosting…) and the actual cake only contains 2 ingredients: cake mix and crushed pineapple (I am always amazed that this is possible – I am a fan of using canned pumpkin in cakes as well). Overall, the cupcakes only require only 5 ingredients!

These  made my apartment smell amazing, and I must say that despite my general preference to cooking vs. baking, I really enjoyed making these.  They were super easy and seemed so festive. They would be perfect for a tropical themed party.

I think I may need more occasions to come up that give me an excuse to make fun dessert creations. The wheels are turning….

Cherry Garden Cupcakes

(adapted/inspired from Pineapple Fluff Cupcakes)

ignore the eggs... I didn't end up needing them

Ingredients:

  • Yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple
  • 1 container whipped cream frosting (any other vanilla-type frosting would work as well)
  • shredded coconut
  • maraschino cherries
  • yellow sprinkles (optional – and not pictured)

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine cake mix and crushed pineapple
  3.  Distribute  mixture into lined cupcake tins (should make about 24 cupcakes)
  4. Add a maraschino cherry into the batter of each cupcake (optional)
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (mine were a little underbaked at 15 minutes, so make sure you check on them to make sure they are done)

Frosting

  1. Empty container of frosting into a medium-sized bowl
  2. Mix in 1/2 – 1 cup of shredded coconut into frosting
  3. Once cool, frost cupcakes
  4. Garnish with more shredded coconut, a maraschino cherry (I garnished each with 1/2 of a cherry), and yellow sprinkles

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Built-in Self-Control

Hi there! Happy Monday… who’s ready for a new week?

I was a little tired when I woke up this morning (probably stayed up a bit too late watching the Grammys…), but I had a delicious oatmeal combo in my head that helped to peel me away from my warm bed… Pb&J oatmeal! (I am pretty sure breakfast might be the only effective way to get me up on chilly mornings….).

I had this idea after my sister Sami and I bought both strawberries and strawberry jelly at the store yesterday. Given that I just read that  it supposedly was also National PB&J day yesterday, I deemed it necessary that I should celebrate. Not that I don’t eat peanut butter every other day of my life…. (Did you know that the average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year?)

My oatmeal contained:

  • 1/2 c oats
  • 1/2 c soy milk, 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 strawberries
  • 1 scoop peanut butter + 1 tsp(?) strawberry jelly
  • sprinkle of ground flax

This was so good. Jelly + oatmeal is a combo I don’t eat enough of…

Self-Control and Dessert

One more thing I wanted to discuss this morning is dessert eating/self-control/your preferred way of eating the sweeter stuff. You see, while I tend to believe I exert self-control on most occasions when it comes to food, when it comes to certain things (like desserts), the control can be a bit more challenging (carrot cake – I am talking about you…). I bring this topic up because last night Sami and I ate some delicious mini cupcakes from the Pink Champagne Cupcakery.

Sami’s boyfriend brought a dozen mini cupcakes over for her this weekend and last night, we decided to try some out. There were a lot of delicious sounding flavors to try including caramel macchiato, hot chocolate, blueberry strudel, blue velvet and vanilla. They all sounded so delicious and all looked so delicious, we couldn’t choose which to eat. Given that Sami and I are both quite indecisive when it comes to making certain decisions about food (especially desserts), we put our sharing powers to work and tried all of them (1/2 of each type):

We added in the blue velvet about 5 mintues later when we decided it was necessary to try them all

This ended up being a great way to try all the delicious flavors, (my favorite was the blueberry strudel…. it had blueberry filling!, while Sami preferred the caramel macchiato) without going into a sugar coma or feeling sick (something that tends to happen when I have a box of delicious cupcakes or desserts staring me in the face). I love having variety and picking and choosing what to taste (which probably explains my love of salads and multiple oatmeal toppings quite well…), so this was the perfect way to try everything at once.

I think I am a new fan of mini desserts… You have an excuse to eat more than one flavor/type of something yet don’t have to commit to a whole piece. That’s a win-win in my book.

How do you exert self-control when it comes to desserts? Are there certain types of dessert that are more difficult for you to say no to? I have a definite weakness for carrot cake and cream cheese frosted anything, but I can usually cut myself a (big) slice and be content.

Did you celebrate National PB&J day?