Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Graduation cup cakes

I have a group of friends that have been friends now for over 18 years and we call our selves "The Village".  This comes from the saying it takes a village to raise a child. When we first were connecting our children were very young, and as all parents, we were doing the best we could and appreciated any help we could get in maintaining our sanity.  Our children grew up in what was almost an extended family of cousins with second and third mothers.  I am proud to say that I am identified as a family member one these now grown children's face books.

This June the youngest of the "Village" children graduated from high school, it hardly seems possible that all those sometimes wild children have now grown.  Some have fledged, left home and are working full time making their own way, while many are still testing their wings going to college and University, trying to decide what it is they want to do with their lives.

With each June came new graduates and for each graduate or graduates we hold a Village party to celebrate their safe arrival to adulthood. This year was the last of such celebrations so a little nostalgic.

Nancy and I had offered to make graduation cupcakes for the party and so with the help of the Internet we came up with the design for the topping.  The base of the mortar board is a mini peanut butter cup and so I decided to make chocolate, chocolate chip cup cake with peanut butter icing. I found this recipe on and changed it just a little, I made double the recipe which made about 50 cup cakes, but I have given ingredients for a single batch.

2 1/2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons of cocoa
2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1  cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix all the dry ingredients together

Place butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl, beating on medium speed until mixture is light and airy.

Reduce speed to low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well.

Gradually add one third of the dry ingredients, one third of the milk, and repeat 3 times. Mix until ingredients are incorporated and batter is smooth. Add chocolate chips to mixture and stir.

Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in cupcake's center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

I made the peanut butter frosting by combining the following ingredients

1 small jar of smooth peanut butter
1/2 lb of butter
1/2 package of icing sugar
1/2 cup of cream.

This made a delicious decedent peanutty frosting.  I piped this on top of each of the cooled cupcakes.

Then came the fun part Nancy, Connie and I decorated with the chocolate mortar boards. We agreed that it was a good job that there were three of us, as just one doing this would have taken a while.

We placed an upside down mini peanut butter cup on each cupcake and then using a little of the frosting stuck a square of chocolate on top.

We cut out little tassels from fruit roll ups and affixed these with a little melted chocolate along with a mini m&m or an m as we called them.

After all these were done we placed them in to the lids of a couple of Rubbermaid containers for transportation.

Then it was time for a glass of wine on the deck to reflect back on our years of friendship and how it really can not be possible that all the children have now grown, and we realised the next set of celebrations will be weddings!


  1. Great idea, Gillian! I'll plan to steal it when and if my sons graduate from college!

  2. They were almost too beautiful to eat.

  3. Gillian understates her contribution. As we planned the after grad ceremony the numbers strangely grew as more young people decided to attend. The solution for a growing celebration - 3 kinds of lasagne. Only to find just days before that our oven went down and parts were going to take a week. The lasagne was made and farmed out to the village to cook and deliver just in time to hungry young adults - Gillian's oven (the biggest) took the lions share. The desserts were creative and wonderful to behold, the other support most appreciated. It takes a village of generous and caring spirits to raise a whole bunch of children!