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Easter Cupcakes

Yesterday, Luke and I made cupcakes for his class Easter party so we thought we would show you our handiwork! I use the Better Crocker GF Cake Mixes because they are easy and predictable when I am short on time.  I hope to start working on finding some good scratch recipes over the coming months when life slows down a bit (will it, really?), but until then, this is where we are!  I also happen to have about 42,000 of them in my personal stock.  I order them on Amazon for a significant savings over my local grocery store (and my local store never seems to have them in stock)!  I don’t usually buy so many but with all my cake decorating classes, I bought 3 cases of each, assuming I would need to take a cake each week like I did when I took a class last year.  Guess I should have clarified that it would indeed be the same instructor, but it’s not, and she does not have us bring a cake to class each week (only for the final class).  We practice on cutting boards instead, which makes me feel safer but I am now buried in cake mixes! 😀 Anyhoo, We made a batch of the Devil’s Food Cupcakes, omitting the eggs, butter and regular water and just added 10-ounces of room temperature sparkling water.  This would be useful for egg and dairy allergies or if you simply want to lighten up the fat content.  Unfortunately, it does nothing for the sugar content so moderation is still key, as it should be with all things. As for the Yellow Cake Cupcakes, I tried something new because the yellow cake mixes have been tasting funny to me lately, kind of like play dough.  I have been learning about using Flavor Emulsions in my cake decorating class, so I used one this time instead of the usual Pure Vanilla Extract.  I found a gluten-free emulsion at Hobby Lobby by LorAnn Oils.  I tried the Princess Cake and Cookie Flavor in this batch of yellow cupcakes and I have to say that it was a remarkable improvement in flavor.  I did not do the sparkling water technique on this batch (don’t like to change too many things at once), but I followed the directions on the box using 2/3 cup regular water, 1/2 cup of Smart Balance (Earth Balance is fine too), 3 eggs and 2 tsp. of the Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion (instead of the vanilla extract).  I never use real butter in these mixes because the cake always turned out too dry.  The oils in the Smart/Earth Balance seem to add moisture. Now for the icing that I make and use all the time, a modified version of Wilton’s Class Buttercream Icing.

Buttercream Frosting (dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free with options for corn-free and egg-free)

printable recipe

1 cup Palm Shortening

1 tsp. Clear Vanilla Extract (if you want a white icing. If you need a corn-free vanilla extract, try this recipe using a corn-free vodka)

2 Tbs. Water

1 lb. Powdered Sugar (365 Organic has a corn-free powdered sugar, using tapioca starch instead of cornstarch OR you can make your own corn-free powdered sugar)

1 Tbs. Meringue Powder (omit for egg allergies)

Pinch of Sea Salt (optional, but it cuts the sweetness a bit.  A pinch is just under 1/8 tsp.)

  • Cream together the shortening, vanilla and water, then add the powdered sugar (and meringue powder if you decide to use that).
  • Beat the icing for 5 minutes, this will make it light and fluffy.

If using a toddler to command the stand mixer… stand back and wear a raincoat! 😀

I used a 1M tip in the pastry bag for applying the icing.

Starting on the outside of the cupcake and using controlled pressure, apply the icing in a circular pattern from the outside in.

Decorate with your favorite gluten-free sprinkles or other embellishments! Click here for a video tutorial on using pastry bags and tips. Here is another link for the Wilton Cake Decorating Channel on You Tube, there are lots of different video tutorials that you might find helpful!


  1. AccustomedChaos says

    They are adorable! One day I will get a hold of those Betty Crocker GF Mixes – they don't sell them here in Canada.

  2. More great inspiration. Must have a go at these. Ella commented on how cute they are 🙂 TFS

  3. Such lovely cupcakes! Makes me want to make some, even though I don't have any little ones around right now to eat them 🙂

    I, too, like those Betty Crocker mixes — so much easier, leaving more time for other aspects of the process…like decorating!

    Happy Easter to all of you,

    • Thanks everyone. They are really simple to make, before taking the cake decorating classes It NEVER would have occurred to me to use a pastry bag with tips. I always used a knife to spread some canned frosting on, with a few sprinkles here and there. Tips are really inexpensive and if you don't want to buy a pastry bag, you could even use a Ziploc bag! The homemade frosting I make can even be stored at room temperature since it does not contain dairy or eggs. I make up huge batches (mostly for my classes) and just store in my pantry until I need it.

      You can also make up the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze to pull them out and decorate as needed. I learned a few tricks from the instructors at my Stage Cake class (the one where I made the monster truck cake) for "blingling" out cakes/cupcakes without needing to do too much icing work. I am working on those posts and will get them up next week… very busy making Easter candy at the moment! 😉

  4. The cupcakes look beautiful. I picked up some decorating tips from Pampered Chef, which I have yet to try out. We'll get our chance this weekend – we have a lot to prepare for between the Passover Seder Saturday and Easter Sunday Dinner. I can't wait to try them out.

  5. Thanks Suz, and guess what? You CAN DO IT TOO!!!! Just look at me, I KNOW where you are, I was sooooo there at one point too. My mother never spent an hour, let alone a day in the kitchen with me. Nor did I go to culinary school. I am completely self-taught via YouTube and the Food Network! 😀

    What I create is not perfect, but it is better than nothing at all. All we, as mothers can do is love our children and teach them how to navigate and have FUN with this crazy hand we have been dealt. Learn to laugh at it. It will never be "perfect," but nothing in life is, not even super models… it is all an illusion, it is a bunch of altered photographs that lead people to believe that they are not good enough and that is just plain false.

    I need to brave up and show a wider angle photo with icing on the ceiling and bacon grease of the cupboards… 😉

  6. I love decorating cakes! Mine aren't super elaborate but I enjoy doing it. I just bought the betty crocker chocolate mix for the girls' birthdays. I was thinking cupcakes! Can't wait to jump in and embellish. You mentioned GF sprinkles? Are there certain brands to look for?
    I too have been wondering what propylene glycol is. I see it on a lot of ingredient lists. Did you find anything out about it? I thought, and could be mistaken, that it is the same ingredient listed in baby wipes. Odd, no?

    You seem to be baking/cooking all the time! I love it!! But just out of curiousity…how many times do you go shopping a week?!

  7. Tai,

    I have honestly just been buying sprinkles at Target, etc. and go off the ingredient label (even if it is not labeled gluten-free). HOWEVER, I am quickly moving toward not doing that anymore and sticking with the certified gluten-free products, especially now that gluten-free is so trendy and companies are trying to capture our market without doing the work to make sure their "gluten-free" products are in fact gluten-free (by testing, using dedicated lines/facilities, supporting celiac research, etc.).

    The Snyder's controversy has shaken me, to put it lightly.

    In case you are wondering what I am talking about, check out Gluten Free Mom's posts (I will first link to the latest update from Snyder's and go back to the first post):

    Latest Update:

    Second Post:

    Original Post:

    It is beyond frustrating that there STILL isn't an "official definition" of the term gluten-free by the FDA!!! After watching Food, Inc. though, I cannot say I am surprised. 😉

    I am now at the place of acceptance in my gluten-free journey that I am ready to take the next step. I vote everyday with my pocketbook so if I keep supporting companies that don't take the next step to ensure my safety, then where is the incentive for the company to do better? They don't care about me personally, but they do care about my m.o.n.e.y.!!


    I just found this website that has gluten-free, casein-free, lactose-free, food dye-free, sugar-free, vegan and organic offerings (check their About Us page too, they have supported the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center during the past year):

    Let's Do Organic also has GF Sprinkelz, I buy these at my local Whole Foods:

    Propylene Glycol, check out this link for more info (there is also a link in my post to Wikipedia):

    Is it just me, or does it seem as though there is no "real" food anymore??

    As for me shopping, I rarely shop because it is dangerous for me to enter a grocery store alone! 🙂 I will spend HOURS combing the aisles, reading labels, etc. So, Mike is the main shopper in our house!

    As for our frequency, Mike probably stops by the store a couple of times a week "to pick something up." I get most of our produce and local farm raised eggs delivered once a week by my local CSA. Everything else, I buy in bulk either on Amazon or at Costco/Sam's Club. I have become very creative with storage! 🙂

    I do do a lot of cooking/baking/experimenting when the boys are at school but after my cake/cupcake series that I hope to get up next week, my baking "season" is over (I have been stocking my freezers with cookie dough, banana bread, cupcakes, etc. that should carry us over for a few months). Once the boys are home though, we have been taking advantage of the warmer weather and extended daylight to get OUTSIDE and play or dig in the garden. 😀

  8. Gorgeous cupcakes!!

  9. I was blown away by that whole snyder thing. I was telling everyone I know to boycott! LOL!! I agree, put your money where your mouth is so to speak! Thanks for the links on the sprinkles.

  10. I've been meaning to ask you. Where do you find the rings or toppers for the cupcakes?

  11. Awesome. I'm so excited! :-).

  12. Is that one pound (16oz.) of powdered sugar?


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