Red, White & Blue Mini Trifles

trif3Before the month of July gets completely away from us, as these summer months tend to do, I wanted to put up a quick post about my mini 4th of July themed trifles! Independence Day has always been my favorite holiday, as I like holidays that are more centered around fun than presents. Well, on my first 4th of July as a parent I very quickly realized that a holiday whose activities include mainly drinking, staying up late and explosives, is not baby friendly, lol. We already knew that the fireworks show on base wasn’t in the cards for us because of P’s six o’clock bedtime, but we did manage to keep him up an extra two hours to attend a BBQ at a friend’s. Coincidentally, this was the same friend who had P and I over for a Memorial Day while J was at fleet week, so I had to come up with another patriotic dessert since they had already experienced my Patriotic Tie-Dye Cupcakes. I had been seeing a lot of flag cakes online, particularly an adorable one by Ina Garten (love her), so these patriotic trifles were my little deconstructed version of a red, white and blue cake. I like to do individual desserts when baking for a casual get-together or party, this way everyone can take one at their convenience and there doesn’t have to be a big to-do with cutting the cake or pie (people are always really weird about taking the first piece! haha). Also, the fact that it is served in a jar makes it easy for people to take one to go on their way out to enjoy at home later. So again, I went the semi-homemade route with this recipe, as I’ve mentioned before my baking skills are quite limited but if you are more blessed than I in the baking know-how department this can be made from scratch as well. Happy Be-lated 4th of July, I was so happy to be able to spend it with great friends enjoying mini desserts 🙂

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RED, WHITE & BLUE MINI TRIFLES (makes 16 trifles in 8 oz. mason jars)

INGREDIENTS

NOTE: If “blue” velvet cake mix is not available you can always purchase white cake mix and add blue food coloring or use red velvet and substitute blueberries for the strawberries to keep with the “red, white and blue” color scheme. 

  • 1 Box Blue Velvet Cake Mix (and required ingredients – eggs, oil/butter and water)
  • 2 Boxes Vanilla Instant Pudding (I used the “cook and serve” kind, but whatever works for you is fine) – don’t forget to pick up whole milk to prepare! 
  • 1 carton strawberries
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream or 1 regular sized container whipped topping (I opted to make my own whipped cream but if you don’t feel like doing so simply use cool whip instead)
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar, divided (if using prepared whipped topping you will only need 2 Tbsp.)

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Begin by preparing cake mix and pudding according to package directions.

Step 2: While cake is baking and pudding is chilling, slice your strawberries. I cut off the stems then halved, quartered and then thinly sliced the berries, however you want to cut them up is fine! Once your berries are all sliced, place in a bowl along with 2 Tbsp. of sugar and mix then allow to chill in fridge until you are ready to assemble the trifles. 

Step 3: While cake is cooling and pudding is chilling in fridge, begin preparing your whipped cream by combining the 2 Tbsp. sugar and cold whipping cream and whisking with an electric mixer or by hand until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble trifles. If you are going the whipped topping route just hang tight!

Step 3: Once you are ready to assemble your trifles, start by cutting the cake into small cubes (although it will probably just end up crumbling when you handle it, which is fine). Place about 2 Tbsp. of cake in the bottom of each jar, then top with about 1 Tbsp. of pudding followed by 2 Tbsp. of strawberries and a heaping Tbsp. of whipped cream. Repeat in this fashion for a second layer, ending with whipped cream.

They will look something like this :)

They will look something like this 🙂

Step 4 (optional): If you are not serving your little masterpieces right away, place the lid on the jar and use a ribbon to tie a plastic spoon to the jar (this is just a fun little “to-go” touch for your guests), then chill until ready to serve! *While these are still good the following day, I don’t suggest making them too far in advance as the whipped cream tends to “deflate”.   
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Patriotic Tie-Dye Cupcakes

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Since J has been gone (wow, I’m really acting like he has been gone for years, it’s two weeks Natasha, grow up! lol) I have been crafting so much I haven’t really taken the time to cook much of anything. Tonight baby P and I attended a BBQ at our friend’s house and in keeping with the Memorial Day holiday I wanted to whip up something cute and patriotic. Now I have previously written about my love affair with boxed cake mix but I will tell you again – I don’t bake. Meaning, if the words “baking soda”, “baking powder”, “yeast”, “stand mixer”, “rise” or any other baking lingo appear in a recipe I’m likely to pass, lol. That being said, when I do decide to bake something (usually cupcakes) I generally take the semi-homemade route by allowing my girl Betty Crocker or my homie Duncan Hines do the heavy lifting, while I take care of the decorating. This recipe was no different, so while P went down for a three hour nap (LOVE when that happens) I got down to it and ended up with the cutest little patriotic cupcakes! Keep this one in mind for the 4th, it’s as simple as making some chocolate covered strawberries and adding some food coloring to your cake mix, it only looks fancy, which is the best part! If you’re reading this while those patriotic holidays are still far out, go ahead and adapt this to any holiday – green, white and red for Christmas, orange, black and white for Halloween etc. Tie-dye cupcakes are so fun and you need not buy the special “tie-dye cupcake” boxed mix, you can easily make your own. Wishing everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, thank you to all who have served and are currently serving (especially my very own US Marine, J!).

PATRIOTIC TIE-DYE CUPCAKES (makes 24)

INGREDIENTS

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the frosting and red sprinkles are not pictured, oops!

  • 1 Box White Cake Mix (WHITE not yellow)
  • Food Coloring
  • Blue and Red Crystal Sugar Sprinkles
  • 1-2 Cartons Strawberries (enough to have 24 strawberries, try to go for smaller strawberries, they sit atop the cupcake much easier)
  • 6 oz. White Chocolate
  • 1 can Vanilla Frosting (any white frosting will do)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Begin by melting your chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. If using a double boiler place chocolate in a glass bowl set atop a pot of simmering water, stirring until melted. For the microwave, place chocolate in a microwave safe dish, microwaving 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval until completely melted.
  2. Place your blue sugar sprinkles in a small container, then working one by one dip each strawberry in the white chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off before dipping in the sprinkles then place on a sheet pan or plate lined with parchment or wax paper. When you have finished, place the strawberries in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to really harden, I just left mine in there until I was done making the cupcakes.pat1
  3. Prepare your cake mix according to package directions, once the batter is prepared divide the batter equally among three separate bowls. One bowl will be left as is (that will be your white portion), into the second, squeeze a few drops of red food coloring and into the third a few drops of blue. The amount of coloring you add depends on how vibrant you want your color to be. NOTE: I am usually all about dollar store everything but I learned the hard way, there is a BIG difference between name brand and dollar store brand food coloring. The tie-dye cupcakes I made for Easter were sub-par in the color department lol. Go for the good stuff, it’s worth it. pat2
  4. Place your cupcake liners in your tin and beginning with your first color (doesn’t matter which) gently place a dollop of each color into your cupcake liner, aiming for off to the side (see pics). Work your portions so that you will have enough for 24 dollops, just eyeball it. Do the same with the second and third colors, the idea is to have each color showing on the top of the cupcake once they are baked. pat3 pat4

    yikes, I need to clean my oven lol

    yikes, I need to clean my oven lol

  5. Bake your cupcakes for the minimum suggested time, just until the toothpick comes out clean and they are springy. If you allow them to overcook your white will become tan or brown. Once baking has finished allow the cupcakes to cool. pat7 pat9
  6. Frost your cupcakes however you please, I use a large Wilton star tip and a plastic bag to pipe a small amount of icing onto the middle of each cupcake so that the red, white and blue will still  be seen on top. Dash some red and blue sprinkles on top then set a strawberry on top of each cupcake. Ta-da, you’re finished, God bless America … and easy cupcake recipes!!!

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Look who woke up just in time to watch the finishing touches!

Look who woke up just in time to watch the finishing touches!

Hard to believe I will be making this guy a smash cake in under 5 months!

Hard to believe I will be making this guy a smash cake in under 5 months!

So as I put it on Insta - If you've got the time and your squishy baby don't mind ... get yo patriotic cupcake on!!!

So as I put it on Insta – If you’ve got the time and your squishy baby don’t mind … get yo patriotic cupcake on!!!