My youngest had a class birthday celebration for all of their teddy bears recently. Each child brought in their favorite stuffed animal and spent the day singing to, playing with, and making presents for them. In honor of their letter of the week being the letter B, they call this the Bear Birthday Bash. For my part, I decided to make cupcakes along that theme. While I’m quite creative, I have to give the credit to Google for showing me all the fun things I could do with Teddy Grahams and cupcakes.

In a slight change of pace for this blog, I present to you Bears on the Beach!

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The cupcakes were pretty simple and very delicious. The frosting was an adventure all it’s own, since I had never heard of this method before now. Who would have thought to make a white sauce with flour and milk as half the frosting? It’s great, though! The adult staff ate more cupcakes than the children – it was that good.

Here are the recipes I used, along with my strong recommendation.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk

Sift first four ingredients into a bowl and set aside.

Beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a cup, mix vegetable oil and buttermilk. Add alternatively with the flour mix to the egg mixture.

If you want cupcakes with flecks of color throughout, this is a good time to fold in some colorful sprinkles. If not, just continue on to the muffin cup filling. Fill each cup 2/3 full.

Bake at 350°F for 13 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test. Let cool before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk 
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Okay, this is where I might lose some of you. It sounds very strange for a frosting recipe, but trust me – it’s worth the effort. In a small sauce pan, whisk together the flour and milk over medium heat. It will get lumps, but those can be taken care of in a blender or small food processor at the end. Stir it until it thickens to a paste consistency. It should retain some of its form if you scoop some out and plop it back down. At this point, if there are chunks, blend it. Then put it in a shallow pan and chill it in the refrigerator (or outside if it’s colder than a witch’s tit) until it is no longer warm to the touch and perhaps even a bit chilled. You don’t want warm. Warm will melt the butter and sugar and leave you with runny frosting.

In your mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until you get that fluffy consistency often looked for in frosting. Add the vanilla. Now toss in heaping spoonfulls of your chilled flour mixture until it’s all incorporated.

I just used a butter knife to spread my frosting – nothing special. I’m sure this frosting would work well with piping, too. It’s very light and fluffy.

Other than delicious cupcakes, there’s really not much else to report on here. We’ve had record snows for northern Wisconsin this year. Yesterday was the first day of Spring, yet here we are with FEET of snow still on the ground. And it’s still snowing. Good grief, will this winter never end?

Stay posted. We’re still keeping our fingers crossed that construction can get underway again next month.

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