Owl Take a Chance

My oldest child turned 10 this past May and was excited to have a birthday party with her friends. She is very much into the Harry Potter craze and has been reading the books for the past year. I don’t know much about Harry Potter (not my preferred genre), but I know it has an owl in it and she likes owls so I ran with it as the theme.

I found these ADORABLE owl cupcakes on Pinterest. I was under the impression they would be simple. I did not take the original picture that is featured on the site and I’m not sure if I can share it on here, so I’ll refrain. Let’s just say the owl cupcakes are supposed to resemble the picture attached to this post, but cuter. Much, much cuter.

First off, I’m not sure how big the cupcakes were in the original post’s picture, but the “eyes” and such fit much more comfortably than they did in my kitchen. I had the hardest time trying to keep all the items on top of these stupid cupcakes.

Secondly, how did this person separate the Oreo cookies so cleanly? I only wasted 15 sets of these things trying to get one set of eyes. I am just going to assume I got a faulty bag. It’s definitely not user error, right?!

Once I finally got the M&Ms and Oreos placed, I patted myself on the back for this cupcake creation that “SLIGHTLY” resembled an owl. Then, this happened:

What. The. Crap.

That little guy melted faster than a popsicle in an Alabama summer. I was so aggravated at this project. I used almost all of the frosting on only a few of the 24 cupcakes trying to keep everything in place. I ended up scrapping the poor, melting “owl” cupcake and took the successful cupcakes to the party. Unfortunately, only two made the cut.

 

My daughter had one of the owl cupcakes and gave her best friend the other one. The rest of her friends had the non-owl cupcakes and, wouldn’t you know, I didn’t hear a single complaint. My daughter would have been perfectly happy with the plain cupcakes had I decided to forego the owl idea entirely. I think that it is us, the parents, that usually put more pressure on ourselves than necessary for birthday parties. To be honest, children just expect sugar at birthday gatherings. I don’t think the form that it takes is that important to them.

The cupcake mix came from a box and the icing from a plastic tub (because her birthday was smack dab in a crazy time of the school year), but I’ll leave you the directions on how to “fashion” the owls. Good luck!!!

Owl Faces

  • Oreos
  • M&Ms (brown and orange)
  • patience (big heaping loads of it)
  1. Separate the Oreo cookies by gently twisting the two pieces in opposite direction. Separate them according to the ones that come off with frosting and the ones that come apart “clean”.
  2. Take two of the brown M&Ms and put a tiny amount of frosting on the back of each and attach one to one of the frosted Oreos
  3. Take two of the frosted Oreo cookies with M&Ms and place them on the cupcake next to each other.
  4. Cut or snap one of the “clean” Oreo cookie pieces in half and place above the “eyes” at a slight angle to act as the owl’s eyebrows.
  5. Press an orange M&M firmly into the cupcake vertically and centered underneath the two “eyes”.
  6. Use your patience to tweak them however they need to be tweaked to work properly.

Cake in a Mug

Cake.

There is nothing that hits the spot quite like a warm cake straight out of the oven. Unfortunately, I do not have the gift of patience so waiting for a cake is comparable to getting a root canal. You know it’s necessary, but you really just don’t want to do it.

A few years ago my mother-in-law introduced me to these wonderful little things called mug cakes. I don’t quite remember if she made one or she just told me about them, but I was eager to give it a try!

Russ and I started off with chocolate mug cakes. We would wait until the kids went to bed (I’m not sharing chocolate!) and then we would make these awesome little chocolate creations. It was all fine and dandy until I figured out that chocolate was causing my migraines. Well CRAP! What in the world? I tried in vain to find an alternative or a way around it, but chocolate and I are no longer friends. Ho hum…

I found a few recipes for different types of mug cakes, but honestly, they were not good. They were either too dry, too runny, etc. You get the gist. I finally found one that works pretty well since I’ve tweaked it a bit so I figured I would share with those that can’t eat chocolate like myself…or that just prefer an alternative occasionally.

Here’s what you need to get started. Sorry I didn’t bother dividing the ingredients up for the picture. I was having a major sweet craving so I was eager to get the mug cake cooked!

I have to be honest. The recipe calls for a 1/2 tsp of butter. If you look at the side of the butter and see the little markings that tell you the measurements, a 1/2 teaspoon is small. Super small. I had no interest in trying to measure it out and then wait for it to soften so I just used olive oil. I’m pretty sure my “shortcuts” are a big factor in my kitchen issues, but we will ignore that subject for now.

The ingredients for the mug cake can be mixed in a bowl or right in the mug you plan to use. I usually just use the mug to cut down on dishes, but I used to a bowl this time as it gave me a chance to use my much neglected whisk. The first picture is with the ingredients mixed up. The second is when I added sprinkles. These are absolutely optional, but I like them so I tossed them in there. It’s like a party in a mug.

Next, if you mixed the ingredients in a bowl, pour the mixture into a mug. I grossly overestimated the size I would need. This could easily fit into a normal sized mug….

Next, microwave that baby for 90 seconds and you have fresh cake from the microwave. It’s sweet enough to hit the spot, but not so sweet that it is overpowering. You could easily whip up a tiny bit of frosting to go on top, but I had no patience and no powdered sugar so that was not an option. I’ll try to post a chocolate version soon for all you lucky ducks that are able to eat it. I’m sure my husband will be more than willing to help me experiment with the chocolate recipes.

 

Vanilla Mug Cake

4 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp butter, softened (or olive oil if you want)
4 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or in the mug.
Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds (or 90 seconds).