DIY Wedding Cupcakes Your Guests Will Love!

cupcake meme

I’ll never forget when I was planning my own wedding and the main choice for wedding cake was fruit cake.  Yuck! Even the wedding favours were wrapped up pieces of fruit cake. I was never a fan and was very determined to have a cake that people would actually enjoy and not toss into the garbage.  Through sheer stubbornness, I got my way and we had a lovely 3-tiered vanilla wedding cake with a scrumptious butter cream icing.

Fast forward 40 years and anything goes. When the cupcakes surged in popularity, I thought it was brilliant.  Not only is there portion control, but leftovers can be saved a lot easier. It’s also much easier to plan how many to make based on the number of invited guests resulting in less waste. There’s no shortage of places to look for ideas, and the best thing of all is you can have several flavours  versus the one or two with a cake. Cost wise, it also seems to be the better option when checking out cupcake prices versus wedding cake.  The average price for wedding cupcakes is $3 per cupcake while wedding cakes are an average $5 per serving. So, for 60 people we would have been looking at $180 and for a wedding cake $300.

For Ashley’s wedding, we decided to keep costs down and do DIY cupcakes.  Now,  I’m a fair baker, but I wasn’t about to go crazy and experiment with a bunch of recipes and take the chance they wouldn’t turn out so I went with my tried and true recipes—the ones on the back of the good old cake mix!  I learned from a good friend of mine who worked in a bakery, that the secret to great cupcakes is to freeze them.  That way they are easier to frost and end up much moister and fresher tasting.  I’ve been doing them that way ever since.

So what kind of flavours did we make?  The choices we went with were carrot, chocolate, lemon and vanilla. For the first three, I pretty much followed the instructions on the back of the box.  Easy peezy!  For the vanilla, I went with a variation recipe that yielded more cupcakes as well as intensified the flavour. They turned out delicious! Here is the recipe:

White Wedding Cake Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix (Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups water
2 tbsp. oil (vegetable or canola)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs (separated)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (approx. 36)
  2. Beat egg whites until fluffy.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except egg whites) and beat until well blended (about 2 minutes)
  5. Fold in egg whites until blended into the mixture.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill prepared cupcake tins to about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

cupcake meme copy

I originally found this recipe from Recipe Girl, but gave it a few tweeks of my own and ended up with perfect white vanilla cupcakes that tasted amazing. Recipe Girl says this recipe is also great for cakes, but I haven’t tried that yet. I’m also thinking that these tweeks will work with other cake mix flavours, but that is for another day!!

For icing I went with “easy” as well.  My children really like the sweet icing (I call it sicky sweet), but some family members like it less sweet. So how do you satisfy everyone’s taste? Well, since I was under a time constraint, I didn’t want to worry about making a DIY buttercream from scratch so I cheated and went to an old standby that I knew would work.  I bought some Betty Crocker frosting, whipped it up in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and added about 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar to get the right consistency for piping. It worked out quite well.   My daughter-in-law, Julie, who helped me to decorate the cupcakes, preferred piping with this one. To enhance the flavour,  I added some almond extract for one batch and some lemon juice and lemon extract for another.  The taste was obviously very sweet, but no one guessed it was icing from a can.

Cupcakes

The other recipe I used was one from a friend who used to be a professional baker. I really don’t like excessively sweet icing myself, and having tasted her cupcakes, prefer this icing. It doesn’t use butter or shortening or added sugar of any kind so is a better alternative for those watching their sugar and fat intake.  Since we wanted variety, I made a batch of this recipe and divided it in half so I could colour it into a pretty purple. It piped really well, giving off a pretty lacey look rather than the smoother look of the sweet icing. All in all, once the cupcakes were piped and decorated with sparkles and silver balls, both Julie and I were very happy with the results. The recipe is as follows:

Whipped Frosting (dairy free, no added sugar)

1 box Nutriwhip                                         2 envelopes Whip It (Dr. Oetker)

  1. Empty the box of Nutriwhip into your electric mixer bowl and start blending slowly.
  2. Work up to top speed and whip until bubbles form.  Stop mixer.
  3. Carefully sprinkle both envelopes of Whip It over the cream and mix together until powder incorporated into the cream (to avoid lumps).
  4. Whip at high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Do not over whip–it will go very stiff and will be hard to spread.
  6. Add food colouring and flavouring extracts if desired.
  7. Leftovers can be frozen for another time – to reuse, just rewhip!

frosting

So as I conclude this rather long post, I have to say that one of the best compliments you can get is when you are asked for the name of the vendor where you got the cupcakes, or when told that your efforts look as professional as any that could have been purchased.

I was happy to do this for my daughter and actually enjoyed the challenge of such an undertaking. It worked out well and in the end, leftovers were not a problem.

Take care and happy baking!

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DIY Shower Favors That Your Guests Will Love! {Part 1}

As promised, I’m going to devote some time to write about some of the DIY things we did leading up to and including Ashley’s wedding, starting with some shower favours. These were so much fun to make, cost effective and appreciated by the guests. Enjoy……..

shower favours1


I love going to the spa. My daughter Lindsay and I have a special mother-daughter bonding ritual once a year where we go away to the Scandinavian Spa and treat ourselves to a day of chillin, relaxation and rejuvenation. We always come away from this special time feeling like new women and wishing we could go back the next day for a repeat!! {Sigh}

Similarly, our feet need the same treatment, especially if we are on them all day or we’ve done something where they need some extra TLC…..or just because. There is nothing like a good foot soak where your feet can luxuriate in the warmth of the water as well as soak in the benefits of what you put in that water. When my tender tootsies are soaking, my feet thank me while my mind takes me back to the Scandinavian Spa….

Before making my concoctions, I used to soak my feet in Epson salts without knowing the true benefits, except that my feet felt great afterwards and I slept better. Now I know I was getting the benefits of the magnesium. What a bonus! That gave me the great idea to share my favourite mixtures as shower favours for my daughter’s bridal shower.

These gifts were very easy to make, economical and personal. They presented beautifully and were well received. The ingredients are easy to find and packaging them is only limited by your imagination. In our case, I found lovely containers at the dollar store (amazing what you can find there😊).  So here are the recipes for foot soak shower favours….

stressbuster foot soak copy2

The lavender buds in the above recipe can be optional, but they look so pretty when giving as a gift and if you happen to grow it in your garden like I do, it’s all natural and organic. To use, fill a basin with water as hot as you can stand it (not scalding!). You want to cover your ankles to get the full benefit. Sprinkle in about ½ a cup of the foot soak powder and stir to dissolve. Soak your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes and let the stress melt away! Make sure you drink some water while soaking to stay hydrated:)

citrus bliss foot soak copy

This particular soak is amazing! I love the citrusy (is that a word?) smell of this, particularly the lime which is why I gave it the green tinge. It reminds me of summer and lime mojitos! The instructions to use this mixture is the same as above. Get ready to relax and end up with lovely feet!

The next recipe is wonderful for tired, achy feet (aren’t they all?) and utilizes the powerful benefits of peppermint. I was surprised at how wonderful this mixture made my feet feel. They felt totally refreshed and my planter’s fasciitis was much less achy.

refreshing peppermint

When I did this particular mixture up for the shower (not pictured), I wanted it to look different from the others, so I experimented with the colour. I wanted a blue tinge, but more on the icy blue side so I added red to the blue, so it bordered on purple but not quite. The effect was a perfect complement to the peppermint.

The last foot soak mixture I made utilized my love of menthol crystals as a cooling agent. I’ve been menthol crystals in other things for its cooling properties, so it made sense to utilize it for hot, tired, achy feet. This recipe is a bit strong so please don’t think of using it for a body bath!

cooling copy

This particular soak is one of my favorites. I totally love the cooling effect when my feet are hot, tired and hurting after a long walk or being on my feet all day. The feedback from guests was particularly positive on this one too, so that was very encouraging. To use, start at ¼ cup. The amount of essential oils may seem a bit high, so if you make this recipe, start at the lower end of the recipe and work your way up when you feel comfortable. Again, only use it for your feet because of the menthol. It would be too strong for a bath and those sensitive areas.

Whichever foot soak mixture your use to soak your feet, take advantage of this time to really pamper yourself by exfoliating the dead skin off your feet and moisturizing afterwards. I like to wear soft, comfy socks afterwards to help the moisturizer soak into my feet. If I do the soak before bed, I keep the socks on to sleep and wake up with well rested, pampered and moisturized feet!

So there you have it. Wonderful shower favours your guests will love!!   In coming posts, I will be posting how-to’s and recipes for some of the other favours. In the meantime, below is some interesting reading I found while checking out the ingredients for these foot soaks. As well, if you read my Essential Oil for Beginner’s series, you will find some useful information and links. Enjoy!

More Information: (Articles I found very interesting!)

Epson salts (found in most grocery stores, Walmart, Costco)

About Epson Salts
Benefits of Soaking Feet in Epson Salt

Sea Salt (found in most grocery stores, bulk food stores, Costco)

19 Amazing Benefits of Sea Salt
Benefits of Sea Salt for The Skin

Baking Soda

38 Extraordinary Uses For Bicarbonate Of Soda
What is Baking Soda?

Menthol

What Is The Use Of Menthol?
Menthol for Pain Relief

Essential Oils

If you are new to essential oils, check out my blog post series for beginners here. I talk about my essential oil journey and hopefully give the reader something to think about as they embark on their own!

Have questions about essential oils or looking for resources? I’ve posted quite an extensive list here.  Check it out for yourself.

Wondering where to buy essential oils, especially in Canada? When I first started using essential oils, it seemed like the only place to buy them was in the US. Since those of us who live in Canada have to deal with the dollar issue, duties and taxes, I wanted to find companies that sold good quality, pure and reasonably priced essential oils. I came up with my source list, which you can find here. Oils sold by these sources include the US, Canada and international choices. Many of these companies also sell ingredients to make other DIY bath and body products. Check them out for yourself. Please note that I am only listing them, not endorsing them as this is a pretty extensive list!

grand opening MMEMystic Moon Emporium is now open!

Did you miss my “Essential Oils For Beginners” Series?  You won’t want to miss it!!

Essential Oils for Beginners: Part 1

Essential Oils for Beginners: Part 2 {Usage Criteria}

Essential Oils for Beginners: Part 3 {Where do you buy quality essential oils?}

Essential Oils for Beginners: Part 4 {Resources}