A Cupcake Zoo with Caramel Pan Frosting

Photo by Helen (#1) C.

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

--

servings

Ingredients

  • 1

    package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

  • 1

    package (3.8 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix

  • 1 1/4

    cups whole milk

  • 1/2

    cup vegetable oil

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 1

    teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Caramel Pan Frosting (recipe follows)

  • 3

    boxes (2 1/2 ounce each) animal crackers

  • 1

    tablespoon confectioner's sugar

Directions

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper lines. Set pans aside. Place cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop machine and scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down sides again, if needed. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling three quarters full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove empty liners, if any.) Place pans in oven. Bake cupcakes until golden and spring back when lightly pressed with finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run dinner knife around edges of cupcake liners, lift cupcakes up from bottoms of cups using end of knife, and pick them out of cups carefully with fingertips. Place on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. Meanwhile, prepare frosting. Place a heaping tablespoon frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread out with short metal spatula or spoon, taking care to cover tops completely. Immediately stand one animal cracker in frosting of each cupcake and lightly dust with confectioners' sugar. Cupcakes are ready to serve. _Store cupcakes in cake saver or under glass dome, at room temperature for up to 5 days. Or freeze them, wrapped in foil or in cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw cupcakes overnight in refrigerator before serving._

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