Category: kool-aid

Neapolitan ‘happy 1st birthday to Cupcake Rehab’ cupcakes.

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I’m not really a fan of strawberry, I like fake strawberry taste, and I like the smell,  and when I was a kid I loved Strawberry Shortcake and even went as her for Halloween once when I was a wee tadpole.. but I don’t particularly like the berry itself. As a matter-of-fact I hate berries, period. But I wanted something fun to make for the first birthday of my site… so… I thought whats more fun than a cupcake flavored like ice cream!? And whats more appropriate for a birthday than ice cream cupcakes!

Neapolitan ice cream started around the end of the 19th century. There are recipes for Neapolitan (or Pinachee) ice cream and cakes dating back to 1885, and evidence of it being known as early as 1870. The name is thought to come from the fact that many ice cream parlors and confectioner’s shoppes were run by Italian people, and the products were referred to as ‘Italian ice creams’ or ‘Neapolitans.’ It wasn’t always vanilla, chocolate and strawberry; it often had lemon or pistachio as well. Its believed that it ended up being the triad we know today simply because those are (and were) the three most popular flavors.

I decided that I’d make a Neapolitan cupcake because of the Kool-Aid frosting I made a while back.  It gave me such an easy way of making strawberry frosting, without using real berries because, like I said, I don’t like strawberries! I’m not really making these for myself anyway though, these are a celebration of my blog and the past year, and they aren’t just a selfish endeavor. Okay, back to the cakes: they consist of three components: a vanilla cupcake, strawberry-flavored frosting, and a chocolate glaze/sauce/ganache spooned on top. The cupcake recipe is NOT my good old vanilla standby- the Magnolia Bakery recipe… I decided to live a little and use a new recipe (more about that later), the frosting is a Kool-Aid buttercream, and the chocolate sauce is a simple  yet really elegant and tasty one I had left over from another baking project.

(Let me just take this time to say, although I’m not using the recipe today, I’ve seen some people on the internet talking smack about Magnolia’s vanilla cupcake recipe and I want them to know they’re batshit crazy. Seriously. If you’re making that recipe and its’ coming out like crap, then it’s your baking skills that need refining. That recipe is the best– even Jay said so and he’s like, the biggest anti-cake person there is, for the most part. Unless it’s a mind-blowing cupcake, he’s not going to eat it let alone compliment it. I think it’s the best vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve ever eaten and I stand by that, until I taste one that rivals it… the end)

So my new vanilla cupcake recipe is one thats been “famous” on the ‘net for a while now but I’ve never tried it. You may have noticed by now when it comes to vanilla cupcakes, I cleave desperately to my Magnolia recipe. So, to avoid becoming boring and repetitive I tried Billy’s Vanilla Vanilla cupcakes (from Billy Reece, owner of Billy’s Bakery in NYC) this time.

(Pssst.. I got my awesome ice cream toppers from ThePeach on Etsy)


But since this is Neapolitan-themed, it doesn’t matter really what order you put the flavors in. A strawberry cupcake with vanilla frosting and chocolate glaze… or maybe a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and a strawberry sauce. Whatever. You could even do what others have done and used the black-n-white cupcake as the base with a strawberry frosting. Or, use that half and half recipe and make the vanilla part into strawberry, then frost with vanilla buttercream. You choose!

But.. if you choose to do it my way.. then here are the recipes.



  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake, or use a pastry bag fitted with a fancy tip. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.



  • 1 cup (2 stick)s butter or margarine, softened
  • 4 ½ – 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • .13 oz. packet  KOOL-AID Strawberry Flavor Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drink Mix
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Cream butter in the bowl of a mixer.
  2. Add sugar and milk gradually, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla extract, and mix until its fully incorporated.
  4. Add Kool-Aid by the ¼ teaspoon and mix thoroughly, until flavoring is to your satisfaction (or just dump the entire packet in if you like super-sweet high intensity flavor).
  5. Mix on low speed and make sure its well blended.
  6. Use on cooled cupcakes.
  7. Enjoy!



  • 4½ oz  bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup  water
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter
  • ½ cup crème fraîche, or heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  1. Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.
  2. Then reduce the heat  to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
  3. It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken. When it thickens, remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature before drizzling or spooning it over frosted cupcakes. Or alternately, pop it in the fridge and then defrost it when you need it. Also, if you chill it for a day or two it becomes very thick and pudding like, FYI.

Yeah, pretty much only I would use a chocolate sauce that calls for ‘crème fraîche’ with Kool-Aid frosting. I’ know, I’m so gangsta and oh-so-classy. I did half with a subtle strawberry frosting, and half with a more obvious flavored frosting… thats why some are light pink and some are darker. 😉

So how were the vanilla cupcakes? Pretty good. Actually… very good. Okay I’m being stingy with the compliments because I’m partial to Magnolia, but… this is a dang good cupcake, and way better than Amy Sedaris’ recipe. Then again, I only made that once, maybe twice, and I’ve been meaning to try it again and give it another chance. I just never do. Oh well. I love Amy, but her cupcakes were, in Jay’s words: “Cornbread-y.”  (And my mom, who loves cupcakes and never has anything bad to say about anything I make even said the Amy Sedaris recipe was a bit dry for her taste. But I will try it again, I will!)  Oh and as far as this recipe goes, normally I’m a big advocate of saying “Eff the cake flour, I’m doing this MY WAY” and just using all-purpose flour, like I’ve done for other recipes, but on Billy’s recipe- DON’T. I’ve heard horrible things. Seriously. Spring for the cake flour. I promise you’ll use it again, and you can even substitute it for regular all-purpose flour if need be by using 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose needed. Billy’s vanilla cupcake recipe is nice and light, fluffy and not too sweet, I found that the Magnolia Bakery recipe is sweeter. The cake flour in this recipe is what makes it fluffier and lighter. So I give it two thumbs up, all in all.

So… I wanna thank Jay for buying me this domain and letting me be crazy and creative and for giving feedback on my cupcakes, and encouraging me and buying me a mixer that makes me want to bake 24 hours a day… and the same goes for the rest of my family- I love you guys. I also really want to thank all my readers for, well… reading my blogs for the past year and coming back for more! You guys are the coolest.  Especially those of you who’ve bought Cupcake Rehab merch… you really rock (and for those of you who haven’t yet- what are you waiting for?!)! I would like to thank all the other bloggers who inspired me to start my own blog- because I’ve had so much fun and learned so much and really, it’s just been fantastic. I’d like to thank Cheryl Porro aka Chockylit, even though her blog is ‘retired’, because the majority of my hits come from her website, and the second most hits come from All Things Cupcake. Thanks to Kitty @ Boring History Girl for being a fan since I was on and also for saying I’ve got the best eyebrows in cyberspace (and for those of you thinking “How does she know?”click here)! Also a big thanks to Google, since most people searching for cupcake recipes get here from there. And also which is my host and hasn’t ever let me down. I encourage you all to check out the talented people I have linked, in any and ALL categories, because they are some super awesome people with super awesome blogs/shops… most especially Yoyo over at TOPSTITCH, because shes a huge supporter of Cupcake Rehab and an amazing friend. Shes even got her own category over here! I know that was really overdramatic and very Oscar-speech-like (“I’d like to thank the Academy..”), but it’s all true and on the year anniversary of my first cupcake blog ever I thought it was important to say.

So HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY CUPCAKE REHAB! And many many more!!

Someone’s been drinkin’ the Kool-Aid!

As a kid I really wasn’t into Kool-Aid. I was more of a soda drinker, really. That and.. the Kool-Aid man kinda creeped me out a bit. I’m told my great-grandfather was a big fan of it however. Kool-Aid, that is, not the Kool-Aid man. And when I was in middle school I had a friend who used to tell people “You’re all up in the Kool-Aid and don’t know the flavor!” which was a creative way of saying “You think you know, but you have no idea.” Then, later on when I was a super hardcore punk rockin’ teenager, I used (or attempted to use) Kool-Aid to dye my hair once, and it didn’t work out (I stuck to Punky Colour after that, and yes, real punks dye their hair in the sink at home and ruin their mothers towels…). So really I’m just not a big Kool-Aid fan (although that old timey ad over there is pretty badass!).

Neither am I a fan of cherries. I hate cherries. But I like faux-cherry flavor, like Life Savers or cough drops (Luden’s fans represent!). And I figured in that case, a good way to make a cherry-vanilla cupcake would be to use the ultimate in fake flavoring: Kool-Aid! Its a way of making a fruity-cupcake without going through all the trouble of using real fruit. Or, if you’re like me and don’t like most fruits but enjoy fake sugary fruit-drink substitutes, a way of making it so that you’ll actually eat it.

Simply enough, its a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting made with black cherry Kool-Aid (plain cherry could not be found, ironically). Of course, you could use any of Kool-Aid’s plethora of fake fruit flavors to make any kind of frosting you wanted. Additionally, it can be added to cupcake batter as well. You could even add it to cupcake batter along with chunks of fresh fruit, or do the same with the frosting. Also, it can be sprinkled on top of frosting in place of colored sugar. Oh- the possibilities!!



  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 4 ½ – 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • .13 oz. packet  KOOL-AID Black Cherry Flavor Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drink Mix
  1. Beat all ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until well blended.
  2. Use on cooled cupcakes.
  3. Enjoy!

I was going to use the Amy Sedaris vanilla cupcake recipe, but honestly I just think the Magnolia Bakery recipe is so amazing that I can’t get away from it. I’ve used the Amy one before and it came out a little dry, so I’ve been meaning to try it again but I’m addicted to Magnolia and cling to it like a crackhead with her pipe.



  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

  5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

They look like big, soft, sweet Barbie™ cupcakes don’t they!? I ♥ Barbie™!

Supposedly it makes 24. I always get 36. This time I got 30. I don’t know. Don’t ask. If you can’t handle that many, then halve the recipe.

The Magnolia recipe is so delicious I eat it out of the bowl. I’m not condoning this behavior, and I’m not to be held responsible if you eat too much and get sick from the raw eggs. But goddamn is that a good batter.

How did the frosting taste? Good. Very very sweet (I had to cut it with a little vanilla extract and that didn’t do much). I’m talking sickly sweet. Attractive too, but totally fake. They’re like the Pamela Anderson of cupcakes. I actually next time would use HALF the packet, maybe even just add a little bit at a time until I thought it was enough. If you’re a fan of fresh fruit, and would never think of ingesting anything less than pure fructose, then you’ll hate it most likely. But you have to loosen up a little and take it for what it is! Its made from a powder drink mix for cupcake’s sake… its not meant to be healthy and fresh and organic. I actually think this is a much better use for Kool-Aid than drinking. Or hair-dying. And it gives you an excuse to name your cupcakes inappropriate things, like ‘Jim Jones-in for Grape‘ or ‘Electric Kool-Aid Acid Orangecakes.’ Now tell me those wouldn’t be an instant hit at the bake sale!

You’ll notice my transparent silpat there, under the cupcakes.. heh…

And just as a side note, Kool-Aid makes a rootbeer flavored powder as well, and I’m wondering if it might make a more flavorful rootbeer cupcake. There might be a part two of my rootbeer float cupcakes. Stay tuned.

Also… I recieved some vintage cupcake toppers today and I’m super psyched for Halloween now.  Well I’m always psyched for Halloween really, it being my favorite holiday. These toppers were usually used on bakery/storebought cakes and cupcakes from the 1960’s, all the way up to the 80’s (I remember getting them on Entenmann’s Halloween cupcakes as a kid).  I got witches, bats, black cats and one each of a pumpkin man and a pumpkin woman flying on a broom! I already have my two batches of Halloween cupcakes planned. Yes, two batches. These will probably only go on one batch… curious yet? Sorry! You’ll have to wait a month. Boo hoo.

And before I go, I’d like to direct you all to the funniest website on the internet. Well, maybe not THE funniest. But seriously, it had me laughing my proverbial ass off for a good 25 minutes. Genius.