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I quickly tire of swirls of icing, so I am always looking for new ways to decorate those small pieces of wonderful called cupcakes. When I saw McCormick’s Hello Flower Cupcakes, using sliced marshmallows and colored sugar, sprinkles, and coconut to create flowers on cupcakes, I knew I would give them a try. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Have you ever heard the adage that it requires the same amount of energy to go from 0 to 90 percent that it does to go from 90 to 100 percent? I am great at the 0 to 90, but the 90 to 100 gets me every time. I am definitely motivated by seeing my progress, so those final details just don’t provide the same boost as creating something overall. This is a problem because it’s the 90 to 100 that really makes things look nice!

My cupcakes simply looked more messy than awe-inspiring, but sometimes it is the experience that counts. Or at least that is what I am telling myself.

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I was slightly skeptical I could color the sugar, sprinkles and coconut as nicely as store-bought decorations, but the color took to the ingredients very easily and looked very vibrant. My tendency was to set the marshmallow on its flat end and cut, but you actually want to lay the marshmallow down like a small log and slice it into rounds. I found it helpful to coat my knife now and again with non-stick cooking spray to get a smooth marshmallow slice.

Way back when I wrote (see part 2) vegan baking would be making an appearance on the blog, I had these Vanilla and Agave Nectar cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World April Showers Brought May Flowers in mind. The recipe stated, “agave nectar makes an exceptionally fluffy and tender cupcake”, but I thought the cupcakes were fairly dense.

Tender? Most definitely. Fluffy? Not according to how I define fluffy. The agave nectar provides a unique flavor that I don’t yet love but also don’t dislike. For me, it is a flavor that requires a little getting used to, and I liked these cupcakes more bite by bite.

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While sacrificing the cleanliness of my teeny-tiny kitchen to make what I hoped would turn out to be cute cupcakes, I couldn’t help but wish I lived closer to my two-and-a-half-year0ld niece. I really could have used some help dipping those pedals, and I’m pretty sure she could have done just as good of a job as her 33-year-old aunt.

If you don’t believe my claim of a messy kitchen during this project, check out the Messy Me post at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. My kitchen is pictured in thumbnail 13 (told ya so). But if Sugarbelle and the other decorators pictured can create the beautiful cookies and cakes that they do in their messy kitchens, then maybe I’m on to something.

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Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • ⅔ cup soy milk (I used vanilla)
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup light agave nectar
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Place the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and allow to sit two to three minutes to curdle.
  2. Once curdled, beat in the agave nectar, canola oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mix until smooth.
  5. Pour batter into the wells of a muffin tin lined with cupcake papers, about ⅔ of the way full.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean.

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