Kid-Friendly Recipe: Punchy Cakes

10 Aug

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Jamie told me his Punchy Cakes were, “SO beautiful, Mommy!” Hey, at least one person on this planet marvels in awe at my gifted ability to mix cake batter with Kool-Aid packets. Guess Christmas will be easy this year, huh?

So…the house finally cooled off last Saturday just long enough for me to go on a baking frenzy and heat it all back up again. But at least it meant that in the wake of my white dust bender (flour, that is) were several goodies to keep our mouths occupied the rest of the weekend.

I always wanted to bake a cupcake that looks exactly like a cartoon one.

...and then I made one that looks like a Muppet for no apparent reason.

These were a quick and easy project, and Jamie (almost 4 years old) had a ball helping me with them. The recipe’s pretty simple, but they’re so kid-friendly and much easier than dealing with Jello cake (aka “Poke Cake”) that I thought I’d share it anyway. Here goes:

Start out by whipping up a batch of plain old white cake batter. Just use the boxed variety (doesn’t matter).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or whatever the box recommends), add whatever amount of water/oil/eggs it calls for, and don’t for one second feel bad that you didn’t make the cake from scratch. Unless you’ve been planning on changing your name to Laura Ingalls Wilder, no one cares if you made it or Poppin’ Fresh did. Seriously. Just move on.

Cake batter from a mix--I won't tell Martha if you don't.

When the batter is mixed evenly, divide it into 2 bowls or batter cups.

Add the Kool-Aid.

Empty a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid mix (we used Tropical Punch and it was terrific) into one of the batter bowls and mix well until the batter is a bright, glowing red. Slightly radioactive-looking batter is just right. Perfect.

If you feel like mixing a second Kool-Aid flavor into to the other half of the batter, feel free. Lemonade flavor would probably work well, or Orange. We left it at one flavor, though.

(I’m not entirely sure what the blue and green ones would do in the oven, but there’s only one way to find out. I personally will not be using the blue Kool-Aid at any point because I don’t like buying it. It looks too much like 1980s-era toilet water back when everyone was obsessed with those horrible blue tank pellets. But hey; life’s short. Eat toilet cupcakes if your heart’s set on it. They will be DELICIOUS.)

Alternate spoonfuls of white and colored batter into muffin cups.

Spray or line muffin tins (somewhere between 14 – 24, depending on whether you beat it by hand or with an electric mixer.) My mixer finally met its maker this summer, so we hand-whisked them and therefore didn’t get as many cupcakes out of our batch. (Which was absolutely fine with me, because Jamie was bouncing off the walls after eating the first one.)


Spoon a dollop of the plain batter into the bottoms of each muffin cup. Then, go back and spoon a dollop of the Kool-Aid batter into the cups. Alternate back and forth until cups are about 3/4 full.

Pop the cupcakes into the oven, bake for about 18-20 minutes or until inserted fork/toothpick comes out clean, and cool completely on a wire rack.

A word to the wise: do your spoon lickin' from the white-batter-bowl, or everyone's going to know when you wind up with a Kool-Aid mustache from the other batter bowl. Just sayin'.

In the meantime, prepare your frosting. You can use homemade buttercream, canned, whatever.

If you want, you can mix a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid (maybe a different flavor from what you used in the batter) into the frosting and cream it well. Pipe onto cupcakes and decorate with your lovies. 🙂

The great thing about Punchy Cakes versus Jello Cake (besides the fact that there’s no straw-pokin’ and Jello-funneling ) is that these suckers don’t have to hang out in your refrigerator between munches. As far as I’m concerned, that makes them far easier hot-weather, outdoorsy treats than Jello or pudding cake!

But, as always, you be the judge…


5 Responses to “Kid-Friendly Recipe: Punchy Cakes”

  1. Drew McKeown August 10, 2010 at 8:36 PM #

    I love the cherry on top. Nice touch.

    • Gracie August 10, 2010 at 9:01 PM #

      I could LIVE on Rainier cherries…I am terrible about getting up with Baby Oliver in the middle of the night and eating like a million of them while I make his bottle…they are my kryptonite. 🙂 nice to hear from you, Drew–how are you doing?

  2. Linda Buhman August 11, 2010 at 10:26 AM #

    Have you ever tried putting koolaid in angel food cake batter? Delish! Especially the pink lemonade version.

  3. Gracie August 11, 2010 at 2:05 PM #

    Good call! I was wondering if they still made Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid…I hadn’t seen any in the longest time. I am also wondering what sort of sinister things I could do with banana bread and Kool-Aid. Probably nothing anyone with taste buds wants to know about. But I *am* curious!


  1. Coupon books | Red Fork State of Mind - November 9, 2013

    […] Or Batman capes. Whatever. 2. Make rainbow crayons. 3. Make cupcakes. Possibly half-bakes; possibly Kool-Aid swirls. 4. Make a light-up Dalek. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s going to involve […]

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