Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Red Velvet Graduation Cupcakes & Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Red Velvet Graduation Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

A few weeks ago, my brother graduated from high school. After the ceremony, family and friends celebrated with a barbeque at my family's house. I was responsible for the night's desserts and decided on red velvet graduation cupcakes and strawberry swirl cheesecake bars! I aimed to design a menu that would appeal to differing tastes and decided on a mix of chocolate and fruit choices that ended up being a hit amongst guests. 

The festive graduation cupcakes were a perfect touch to the evening's celebration. I decided to focus the majority of my time on decorating each cupcake and so instead of making the cupcake mix from scratch, I saved prep time by using Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Red Velvet Cake Mix. I frosted the cupcakes with Duncan Hines Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and used a variety of cookies and candies to create  miniature graduation caps on each cupcake. I began with a miniature Reese's peanut butter cup placed upside down on top of a frosted cupcake. Then, I placed a thin peanut butter fudge cookie on top of the Reese's cup, securing it with frosting. This completed the mortar board. To create the tassels, I cut short pieces of Twizzler's Pull 'n Peel candy and attached them with frosting and an M&M on top of the peanut butter fudge cookie. To create a consistent color scheme, I chose all red ingredients and accessories. The cupcakes looked great displayed on my new Wilton Cupcake Dessert Stand, which I purchased especially for the occasion! 

The strawberry swirl cheesecake bars were a great way to take advantage of the debut of strawberry season! When I came across the recipe on (one of my favorite recipe resources), I couldn't wait to try it out! The bars were rich and bursting with fruity flavor -- a perfect summer dessert! I would encourage you to add this easy-to-make and delicious dessert to your summer dessert menu. It certainly did not disappoint amongst my family and friends!

Happy Baking!

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