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Baking is Fun Again

American cupcakes

Trying to open a retail store while running a wholesale operation is enough to make any baker crazy, but when you combine it with my perfectionist personality it is a recipe for a melt down. I am completely overwhelmed, and all of this stress has torn my mind and body apart. I had the flu for the last 5 days of my vacation, and my body has made it clear that enough is enough. I need to relax and remember what it’s like to have fun.

After resting for a few days, I got rid of my flu and built up my desire to bake again. I wanted to do something that wouldn’t tax my brain or create a mound of dirty dishes, so I decided to make old-fashioned American cupcakes for the 4th of July. By American, I mean Betty Crocker. In the semi-homemade spirit of Sandra Lee, I bought Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix and frosting at my local supermarket and kept things as simple as humanly possible.

For a red, white and blue theme I bought fresh strawberries and blueberries to add to the cupcakes. I made the mix as directed, filled each muffin cup with the batter, and added chopped strawberries in half, and blueberries in the other half. After baking, I frosted each cupcake with my canned frosting and threw some more fresh fruit on top. The baking and frosting took less than one hour to complete, and only one bowl was dirty in the end. I brought the cupcakes to my neighbors (and did not mention Betty Crocker), and I felt happy again. This is what baking is about! The cupcakes are fun to look at, tasty and brought no additional stress to my life.

If you’re out of time but want to make something special this 4th of July, give these easy cupcakes a try:

1 package Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix
1 can whipped vanilla frosting
1 package fresh blueberries
1 package fresh strawberries

Make the cake mix as directed on the box. Line a cupcake pan with white cupcake liners. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter. Cut the strawberries into bite-sized pieces. Drop 6-8 strawberry pieces on top of the batter in the cupcake liner. Do this for half of the cupcakes. Fill the other half of the cupcakes with blueberries.

Top the batter with fruit.

You should end up with about 10 strawberry cupcakes, and 10 blueberry cupcakes. Bake as directed on the package, or about 20 minutes at 325F. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost each cupcake with the delicious canned frosting and add more fresh fruit on top. Easy!

Finish off with some more colorful fruit

Happy 4th of July.


McAuliflower says on July 4th, 2007 at 5:12 pm:

I think if anyone has earned the right to use boxed cake mix- its you!

If that’s what you need at this moment- so be it. :)

Malini says on July 4th, 2007 at 10:33 pm:

Chin up, Kelli. Why not try meditation to de-stress? 15mins of a complete blank mind will rejuvenate you.

Take care.

Kelli Bernard says on July 4th, 2007 at 11:20 pm:

Thanks guys! This city is a crazy place. My friend and fellow baker Lara recently posted about it on her blog (http://onesweetworld.wordpress.com/2007/05/17/spent/). She said NYC is the city that never sleeps, not because we’re out doing fun things, but because we’re always working. I agree. Native New Yorkers don’t seem to mind, but it sure can wear the rest of us out :) It takes a lot to get a moment of quiet around here, but I know it’s important and I should make more of an effort to break away from the city madness.

Karen says on July 5th, 2007 at 8:06 am:

The cupcakes look fabulous! I’m so glad to hear you’re fully recovered.

Dora says on August 1st, 2007 at 6:03 am:

I think I could do this. I’m not good at making things from scratch, thank God for Betty Crocker. :)

Hey, have you seen the Dove Women giving away free samples of chocolates there in NYC? They’ll have their last 4-day weekend this Aug. 2 to 5. They’re giving out free Dove milk and dark chocolates. Here’s the list of cities if you’re interested: Baltimore/Washington DC, Boston MA, Chicago IL, Houston TX, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, New York NY, Philadelphia PA, San Diego CA and San Francisco CA. I think there are recipes too at their site: http://www.dovechocolate.com

Steven and Joey says on September 28th, 2007 at 10:00 pm:

I am so sorry you had the flu – what a bad way to head into fall – but I must say, your cupcakes still look amazing!
Be sure and get plenty of rest – tons of liquids, (and an occasionally sweet treat – I mean, really -whats a day without some chocolate??)
and check us out at http://joeybiscotti.blogspot.com
Keep up the great work, fellow blogger!

den says on November 26th, 2007 at 6:52 am:

Pastry board easily adjustable for pie,cookie & croissant dough. Once again, the less processed food wins as the healthier choice!

Paula Lee says on November 3rd, 2009 at 1:28 pm:

Great website!! Fabulous ideas! Keep up the good work !Please look us over at http://www.bakeitbeautiful.weebly.com thanks!

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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