2014! Only a few days in, but what a winter already! The new year has arrived with a bang, blanketing most of the country and the entire East Coast with loads of snow – fluffy, sparkling, keep-you-out-of-work snow.
Snow is one of those love it/hate it things. I absolutely love it. Even just and inch or so can turn the most commonplace street corner into a beautiful dazzling white landscape. And stepping out into the muted quietness just after a snowfall makes you feel like you’ve intruded upon one of Mother Nature’s secrets.
Peering out of the kitchen window, I can see my ordinary backyard has been transformed into a collection of mysterious shapes, everyday objects rendered unrecognizable by rounded mounds of snow. Which makes me think of snowballs. And from there it’s an easy leap to thinking of SnoBalls…those awful(ly good), pre-packaged, creme-filled round chocolate sponge-cakes, covered with marshmallow and coconut, usually in a bright neon pink color. (Although sometimes in summer, I can find them decorated like baseballs, which makes them even more irresistible.)
Too cold to venture outside on such a fool’s errand, I wonder if I can recreate them at home? Maybe a yummy chocolate-coconut combination, with a little coconut rum added in to warm the soul? Sure, why not? A quick scan of the cupboard proved I had everything I needed and then some. The idea of a toasty, oven-warmed kitchen didn’t hurt either.
So here you go, the b.u.i. cupcakes version of the SnoBall – much tastier than store-bought, give them a try.
SnoBall Chocolate Cupcakes
This recipe starts with a box mix. Follow the ingredients on the box, but substitute a 1/4 cup of the water with coconut rum.
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/4 cup Malibu Coconut Rum
1/3 cup vegetable oil
18-24 Raffaello candies, unwrapped (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.
Combine the cake mix, water, rum, oil and eggs, as directed on the cake mix.
Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. If using, place one Raffaello candy in the center of each.
Bake as directed, testing for doneness after 15 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.
Marshmallow Vodka Buttercream Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
4 ounces marshmallow fluff
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons marshmallow vodka
1 – 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
Beat butter and fluff in stand mixer until smooth and combined. Add confectioners sugar, at slow speed until mixed in. Add marshmallow vodka. Mix at highest speed until light and fluffy.
Cover cupcakes with frosting, then roll in coconut to cover.