Graduation Cupcakes

It's GRADUATION season!

Lately I can’t get on Facebook or Instagram without seeing endless graduation ceremonies, or on Pinterest without seeing ideas/pins of graduation EVERYTHING! With the accompanying parties / receptions, these Graduation Cupcakes are an easy, delicious, and occasion-appropriate treat to serve at any graduation event! My sister and I even made these for her high school graduation. Recipe below!

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Chocolate Graduation Cupcakes: (makes 24)

2 ¼ cups (350g) all purpose flour
2 ¼ cups (450g) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup (100g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups (350mL) buttermilk (buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Of'll need a kitchen scale if you want to measure ingredients in grams.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until no lumps of butter are visible and it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients.

Next, add milk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.

Fill each paper 3/4 of the way (using a large cookie scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process otherwise you can use two tablespoons). You may find that you have some batter left over - don't over-fill the cupcake tins or they *will* overflow – trust me. :/ (I often bake some mini cupcakes with the leftover batter).

Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. If you insert a skewer and it comes out with wet batter, bake for another few minutes at a time until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely. 

Cool completely before decorating, or your frosting will melt!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
4-6 Tablespoons milk
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar until frosting reaches a pipeable consistency. Reserve about ½ cup to color and use for piping the cupcake tassels! Continue beating, adding the rest of the powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.

Graduation Cupcake toppers:
- 24-cup cupcake pan(s)
- 24 mini Reese’s cups or Rolos (or any small cylindrical chocolate in your area!)
- 24 chocolate squares (we used Ghiradelli; chocolate of your choice!)
-Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites!

When your cupcakes have cooled completely (I sometimes toss them in the freezer for 5-15 minutes to accelerate the process!) pipe frosting onto them in large swirls.

Color your reserved frosting the color of your choice – my sister and I opted for teal! Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a small wavy line from the center of each chocolate square toward the edge with a few lines at the end to resemble a tassel. Stick a Rolo or Reese’s cup to the bottom of each chocolate square with a small dab of frosting, and transfer to the tops of your cupcakes! Enjoy!

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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