Cake mix adapted from allrecipes.com
I first made these cupcakes for my son’s first birthday party. I almost hesitated making them, thinking if I mess up, then I’d never live it down. My family would remind me of this till the day I die, and then generations after would hear of the horror. If you need to know anything about Ukrainian culture, it’s this: you don’t skimp on dessert. Never, ever. If anything, that’s what you splurge on. That’s what you dedicate your most precious time to. There’s a bit of insanity mixed with OCD in this sweet obsession we Eastern Europeans have. It’s scary for someone who doesn’t bake much, like me!
When I first got married, I had never baked anything that wasn’t in “ready to bake” form, or at least a boxed mixture of something. Being a newlywed and living in the same town as the family (plus now, in-laws) you’re bound to invite people over. With my husband and I coming from huge families, you’re inviting people over all the time! So here I am, inviting folks to events and hosting parties that I must prepare for. So dropping $100 on a cake is normal in our little circle of sweet-tooths. You’ve probably guessed already that this isn’t a grocery store cake. This is a fancy local bakery cake that will be devoured in ten minutes. Finally, I told myself, I need to bake. And I need to bake well! I don’t have to master every dessert type out there, but if I can get good at a couple things, then my life would be easier! So I started baking. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy it. But you know what? I came up with the BEST cupcake & icing combination EVER. I can’t tell you how many folks begged me to make these cupcakes for them. People became infatuated with these cupcakes.