Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cookies 'n' Cream Cupcakes


I have a little confession to make...

I used a boxed cake mix for this recipe.  (Gasp!)  I know, I know.  It's a shortcut, it's taking the easy way out, it's full of preservatives and hydrogenated oils...  Boxed mixes aren't something I use all that often - I like to bake from scratch - but it's a weeknight, I didn't have a lot of time, and I wanted to get these made to take to work tomorrow...  And let's face it.  Boxed cake mixes do taste pretty good.  Especially when you add a little of this and a little of that to make them even better.

I'm not even sure if I need to feel that guilty over it.  One of my favorite baking blogs almost always starts with a box mix and then "doctors it up" with other ingredients and flavors.  And her cupcakes are always decorated so beautifully, something I'm always trying to improve with my own baking.

However, once my mom shares her chocolate cake recipe with me, I will be baking that, and I'm sure it is as moist and dark and chocolatey as I remember.  In the meantime, though, I'm a busy working girl who just didn't have all night tonight.  So I hope my coworkers will forgive me.  

Hey, if someone handed me a pretty cupcake that's moist and chocolatey, covered in cream cheese butter cream, and with a little hidden cookie surprise in the bottom of the cupcake, I wouldn't complain.

As tempting as these were, I'm happy to say that I just ate one (to make sure it was safe for other people, of course).  The truth is, I love to bake, but I just can't have this many sweets sitting around the house.  And so I have to tempt my coworkers instead.  :)

Cookies 'n' Cream Cupcakes (yields 30 cupcakes)

for the cake:
  • 1 dark chocolate cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 30 Oreo cookies
 for the frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 - 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • remaining Oreos left from the package

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, milk, sour cream, oil and vanilla.  Beat on low for 30 seconds until moistened, then on medium for 2 minutes.

Place 30 paper liners in your baking pans.  Place an Oreo cookie in the bottom of each cup, reserving the remainder of the Oreos for the frosting.

Spoon the cake batter on top of the Oreos, filling the cups 3/4 full.  Drop the pans on the counter a few times to settle the batter around the cookies.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.  Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

Place the remaining Oreos in a food processor and crush until they are fine crumbs (if you leave the crumbs too big, they will clog the tip of your piping bag when you pipe the frosting on).

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Gradually add the powdered sugar, adjusting until you have the desired consistency.  Stir the crushed Oreos (reserving 2 tablespoons) into the frosting.  Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle the tops with the remainder of the Oreo crumbs.