I made these cute cupcakes when my children graduated from high school. They are so easy and can be made with your school colors.—Margaret Hooper, Winchester, New Hampshire
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup baking cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Food coloring
- 9 whole graham crackers, halved
- 18 milk chocolate M&M's
- Black shoestring licorice, cut into 36 pieces (3 inches each)
- In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
- Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring if desired.
- Level off the top of cupcakes; frost sides and bottom. Place upside down on a serving platter or covered board. Frost graham crackers; place one on each cupcake. Place an M&M's candy in the center of each cracker with two licorice pieces for a tassel. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Mortarboard Cupcakes in Country Woman May/June 1999
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