baking

Award Winning Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes

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This recipe belongs to Paula Deen. I’ve made it many times as pumpkin bars. I adapted it just a bit for pumpkin cupcakes. You can find the original recipe here.

For the pumpkin cupcakes, you will need the following ingredients:

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line up your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. This batch made 30 cupcakes.

1. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and pumpkin until light and fluffy.

2. Stir together the flour (don’t forget to sift the flour, very important!), baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.

4. Fill cupcake liners about halfway. Bake for 20 minutes. Let completely cool before frosting.

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Ingredients for the icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin cupcakes.

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Ingredients for the topping:

7 oz. of sweetened shredded coconut.

To make the topping, lightly toast the coconut: Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently in between.

Top the cupcakes with toasted coconut and enjoy!

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I entered these cupcakes in a Halloween cupcake contest and it won first prize! That’s why I call them Award Winning Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes.

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Feeling coco-nutty…

My Gratitude Journal

An Awesome Harvest Kind of Day

What an awesome day. Today we had a Harvest Festival where I work. We have one every year. It usually involves costume contests and food contests. This year we had a costume contest, pumpkin decorating contest and cupcake contest. Our unit, which consists of almost 45 people (three units combined) decided to do a group costume. We do a group costume almost every year now.  We love to celebrate Halloween and almost every year, we win in the contests of costume or food, or both. 

This year we won first place at the cupcake contest, first place for group costume and first place for individual costume. What a bunch of winners we are! 

I was especially happy because I was the one who won first place in the cupcake contest! I made pumpkin coconut cupcakes. I decorated each of them with a spider on top. Nothing fancy, but I guess the judges liked the combination and taste of the pumpkin and toasted coconut. 

This year, we dressed as Disney characters. I was Peter Pan and with me, I had a Captain Hook. We had a Cruella De Ville and with her, she had 3 dalmations. We had an Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and the 3 little fairies along with Maleficent. We had an Alice (in Wonderland) and the Queen of Hearts with a couple of cards. We had a Snow White and we had 7 drawfs.  We had a Beauty and her Beast .We had a Mary Poppins. We had Elsa and Olaf. And of course, we wouldn’t be complete without a Mickey!

Here we are as Disney characters!

It’s hard to get work done on a Harvest Festival day. We managed to get a little done. But, a bunch of us took a little breather in the morning and made our way down to the lunch room to take a look at the pumpkin contest. There were about 6 of us in the elevator and everybody forgot to press 1 for the first floor. We ended up going all the way up to the 5th floor by accident. The elevator door opened and a security guard was sitting at a desk looking at us. Did we surprise him! For one thing, we were all dressed up as Disney characters. And for another,  it was not even Halloween yet. The expression on his face was priceless. We were laughing so hard that I’m sure everyone could hear us as we moved down the floors in the elevator. After we were done in the lunch room, we all headed back up. I had the crazy idea to head back up to the 5th floor to shock the security guard again. This time, there were about 11 of us, which meant even more Disney characters. We made our way back to the 5th floor and this time, as the door opened, we were waving and saying hi to him. The look on his face again was priceless. We were roaring with laughter, even louder than the first time.

We had a costume parade in the afternoon. That’s when we won first prize. Yay! October and Harvest Festival time is an awesome time of the year! Always a good time with friends, making memories and sharing smiles. 

My Gratitude Journal

Birthday Traditions with Friends

Today I am grateful for:
Birthday parties with friends, birthday cake, donuts and donut candles, Modcloth gift certificates, Broken guiders, game night with friends, new nicknames, call me Cat.

Every year, my friends and I celebrate our birthdays together. We have a tradition. The birthday girl gets to pick an activity (usually from Groupon) and we all participate.

This year I chose a psychic reading. But because the psychic said we couldn’t go as a group, it had to be an individual reading so she could read my energy better and to keep things personal and confidential. I went by myself and reported my findings with my friends later in the evening. We had set up a game night, which was super fun by the way. We planned to play Scrabble but ended up playing Pictionary all night which later ended up being our own version of Pictionary/ charades. So back to my findings, I reported to my friends what the psychic told me. All great things however at the end, she told me that my guider was broken and for an extra $200 she would meditate for me for 4 days with a 100 percent guarantee that my guider will be fixed. Yeah… That basically made all the great things she told me null and void, at least to me. It was still a fun experience and I’m glad I did it.

Game night with friends was fun and I ended up re-naming myself Cat. Funny thing is that I woke up the next morning and found “Cat” spelled out on the Scrabble board. My son had been playing with it and spelled it out. What a coincidence. You can imagine how happy I was.

Today I am grateful for traditions with friends.