Sunshine Cupcakes

Oy, South Dakota. I try and keep the politics off here–It’s a food blog, after all, and I don’t even talk about food-related politics. Things these days are so polarized and divisive that I even catch myself deleting politically-charged posts from Facebook, due to comments that hurt my feelings. Stupid, I know. I’ve been around the internets long enough to know that if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. But too many people don’t rationally discuss their opinions and instead react with knee-jerk emotion. And when it comes from your own family members, it’s especially hurtful. All that aside, South Dakota is once again in the national spotlight for its open bigotry and hatred and ignorance, thanks to HB 1008, also known as the “Bathroom Bill” (which sounds like the name for a creepy superhero or serial killer).

Sunshine Cupcakes

But all joking aside, this is wrong. It’s discrimination, plain and simple. And opens the door for all sorts of targeting and bullying. And speaking as someone who was bullied in school…I remember how hopeless and hurt I felt. I can’t begin to imagine what kids today probably go through, especially kids who are already likely suffering and confused and trying to carve out their identities in this world. People who fear being able to reveal who they truly are because friends, family, society, won’t accept them.

I’m also astounded by the ignorance surrounding transgendered people. I’ll be the first to admit, I feel like an old, out-of-touch fart and don’t know the proper names for all the different levels or facets of gender identity. But I know enough NOT to equate a transgender person with a sex offender or pedophile. They’re two totally unrelated types of people. I also know that people in general tend to fear what is different or that they don’t understand. But what gets me is that there’s no willingness to reach out or be open to learning. When the bambino and I talk about things, I try and remind him that certain things are just different, not necessarily weird or wrong.

Sunshine Cupcakes

By this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what in Hades does this have to do with Sunshine Cupcakes? Nothing. Other than I needed to say that not everyone in South Dakota feels this way. I think those of us are in the minority, which is a shame. And while I’m a transplant and didn’t grow up here, this is my child’s home. I already struggle with the lack of diversity in this state, though the bambino has kids from other cultures and countries in his class, so that’s a start. But I feel strongly enough that this path South Dakota’s headed down is wrong, that I’m urging people to call up Gov. Daugaard and tell him to veto this. I also told my sister that if he signs the bill into law, she ought to cancel her plans to bring the family out here to visit. They’re wanting to visit the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore this summer. I say, stay home. Don’t spend your money here.

Sunshine Cupcakes

So I made these Sunshine Cupcakes. They’re simply chocolate cupcakes, with whipped buttercream and sunflowers. Sunflowers are happy. They turn their faces to follow the sun, something I can relate to, especially in the winter. The cupcakes don’t care if you’re straight, gay, transgendered, black, or white. They’re just here to bring a little sunshine and sweetness into a dark world.

Sunshine Cupcakes

Yield: 12-15

Sunshine Cupcakes

Sunshine Cupcakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes


[b]For the Cupcakes:[/b]

  • 1 1/4 C flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened dark chocolate powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/3 C unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 C buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chips

[b]For the Frosting:[/b]

  • 1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2-4 oz. heavy cream
  • yellow food coloring
  • sunflower candies, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Mix well, then add the egg, and the vanilla.

On low speed, alternately add the flour/cocoa mixture and the buttermilk/sour milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Fold in the dark chocolate chips.

Using a large (3-Tbsp.) scoop, place the batter in the prepared pan. Bake the cupcakes for 22-27 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of several cupcakes comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined. Lower the speed and add half the powdered sugar, along with the pinch of salt. Add 2 oz. of heavy cream.

Add the remaining powdered sugar, and enough yellow food coloring to reach the desired shade. If the frosting is too thick or dry, add more cream, 1 oz. at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Whip the frosting on high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Pipe or spread on cooled cupcakes, and top with sunflower candies, if using.


*To make sour milk, place a Tbsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to reach amount necessary for recipe. Stir to combine, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using in]
Recipe Source: [150 Best Cupcake Recipes

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I will close this by saying that I don’t expect to get many, if any comments on this post. If I do, fine. I moderate the comments on here, and while I’m okay with any honest discussion (or compliments, of course!), I will delete anything blatantly hateful or rude.

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