This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #BestSummerMemories #CollectiveBias
Coca-Cola™ asked me to participate in their “Share a Coke and a Song Campaign.” I was excited to participate because they asked me to think about songs that remind me of important memories while also creating a fun tutorial to highlight a summer moment. For me, my major summer highlight is graduating. I decided to create candy graduation caps to top my favorite cupcakes as a way to celebrate this major life event.
This is the first summer in nearly a decade that I’m not a Ph.D. student. I finally graduated with my Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Evaluation last week and I couldn’t be more excited. It feels like such a giant weight is off my shoulders now that I’m officially a Doctor. I can finally enjoy this first school-free summer.
It has been a long road to finishing this degree. Thinking about this major graduation milestone, I am immediately taken back to my high school and college graduations. I have such fond memories of those ceremonies, but there is one song that is forever stuck in my head every time I have graduated (this is technically my fourth time).
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable but in the end, is right
I hope you had the time of your life…
For me, this song is the quintessential graduation song. Graduating from each level of school is a major life accomplishment for anyone. As I reminisce, I think about all I’ve learned along the way, while it also signifies a turning point with high hopes for the future.
Since my family was in town this past weekend to watch me graduate and celebrate my accomplishment, I put together a mini party for all of us. I thought it would be fun to create candy graduation caps as cupcake toppers to serve with Diet Coke®.
I know what you’re thinking, you made your own graduation cupcakes? Well, I happen to love to bake, and now that I’m finally not a student, I have a little more free time!
To create these cupcakes, I decided to base my recipe on this cake recipe and this frosting recipe, because chocolate and peanut butter is my all-time favorite flavor combination. I also used this tutorial as the basis for the candy graduation caps. Overall, this is a really fun cupcake to create to celebrate a graduation.
How are you making this your best summer ever? I’m sure summer brings up a lot of memories for you too, and songs always accompany those memories. You can check out the Shazam App, available on iPhone and Android, to get your Coca-Cola Share a song.
If you’re hosting a graduation party or entertaining this summer, you should check out www.cvs.shareacoke.com for great summer deals. I always serve Coca-Cola products when I entertain, and right now you can buy two 20oz bottles of Coca-Cola products for $3.
When I visited my local CVS to buy my Diet Coke, it was so fun that the first bottle I selected had the song title “A moment like this” on it. I couldn’t think of a better song to represent this major life accomplishment for me. “I can’t believe it’s happening to me, some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this…” It is hard to describe just how special it is to finally have my Ph.D. and I am so glad my family was able to celebrate with me.
I’m so excited for the summer, and this little cupcake recipe felt like a great way for me to celebrate all I’ve accomplished while reminiscing about where I’ve been. Here’s to a great summer!
Candy Graduation Caps Cupcake Toppers
Peanut Butter Cups
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mini chocolate candies
Food coloring for tassel piping
Extra buttercream for tassels
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips just until melted. Ensure the chocolate has cooled so it is no longer hot. Place a dollop of chocolate on the peanut butter cup and place the chocolate square on top of the peanut butter cup. Add another dollop of the chocolate to the middle of the chocolate square and place a mini chocolate candy on top. Once the chocolate dries, you can create the frosting color of your choice to add tassels to the caps.
The Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup boiling water
Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until the sugar is integrated and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes to make it fluffy.
- Peanut Butter Cups
- Chocolate Squares
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Mini chocolate candies
- Food coloring for tassel piping
- Extra buttercream for tassels
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons milk, as needed
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips just until melted.
- Ensure the chocolate has cooled so it is no longer hot.
- Place a dollop of chocolate on the peanut butter cup and place the chocolate square on top of the peanut butter cup.
- Add another dollop of the chocolate to the middle of the chocolate square and place a mini chocolate candy on top.
- Once the chocolate dries, you can create the frosting color of your choice to add tassels to the caps.
- Preheat oven to 325º F. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Spray the liners lightly with cooking spray.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl.
- Whisk to combine.
- In the same bowl, add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined.
- Reduce speed to low and add boiling water to the cake batter.
- Once water is added, beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
- Evenly distribute cake batter until each liner is about ¾ full.
- Place in the oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
- Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until the sugar is integrated and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
- Beat for at least 3 minutes to make it fluffy.