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Cupcake creations

By Staff | Mar 29, 2013

EMILY RESCH spent a little of her birthday money one year on a cupcake tree, which she uses often when she turns out a batch of her homemade cupcakes from her family’s kitchen.



SPIRIT LAKE – When Emily Resch sets out to make cupcakes, she doesn’t mess around.

At 16, she’s backed by a few years of experience, as well as garnering ideas from cookbooks and TV shows.

“I started out helping my mom make cookies,” she said. She was pre-kindergarten at that time. “I remember when my grandma would come over and help us with Christmas baking, and it became a tradition.

EMILY RESCH said her baking interest started as a child by helping her mother make chocolate chip cookies. At 16, she has mastered the art of making attractive and delicious cupcakes.

“I have helped with Christmas baking since that time.”

Resch said she became more serious with her baking when she joined 4-H as a fourth grader, baking banana bread, apple pies and cinnamon rolls for judges to critique. She did well with those over the years and moved on to cake decorating.

“I got some frosting tips for my birthday once,” she said, adding that she enjoyed experimenting with them.

She said the most challenging thing she came across was making a birthday cake for one of her cousins using fondant.

“I didn’t like working with it,” she said. “I didn’t like the taste of it, and I thought it was hard to work with. You had to be careful not to get a hole in it or anything.”

EMILY RESCH said she likes to make side dishes when she contributes to family meals. Here, she dishes up some cheezy corn, which is something she makes often.

As she honed her cake decorating skills, Resch branched out to baking and decorating cupcakes. She’s not always a fan of following the directions, though, if she can think of a way to improve a recipe.

Her first creative and successful experiment was her Oreo cupcakes.

“I looked on a website and found a recipe for them. It said to make a cream cheese frosting, but it didn’t turn out very well, so I tried a butter cream frosting and liked it. So I put half of an Oreo cookie on top (to decorate it),” she said.

Once that kind of cupcake was successful, she sought out different cupcake ideas on various websites, and found a recipe for “S’Mores Cupcakes.” The recipe was a little involved, so she simplified it by making a basic cupcake and topping it with her favorite buttercream frosting, and decorating it with things people want on a real S’More – graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallows.

“I took that one to the (Dickinson County) fair and it went on to the state fair and got a blue ribbon,” she said.

CHEESE SPREAD and buttery crackers make this corn dish a favorite in the Resch house.

Resch also entered the recipe at the Clay County Fair in Spencer and won the youth open class division for the “King Arthur Flour Cupcake Contest” two years ago.

One of her latest cupcake inventions is called “Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.”

It’s a recipe she created, wanting to bake a cupcake that was not like any she’d seen or known of before.

“I thought about it the week before the Super Bowl this year, and decided on the day of the game to make them,” she said.

She makes a vanilla cupcake, fills it with a strawberry/whipped cream filling and tops it with a strawberry flavored frosting. The final touch is half of a strawberry placed on top.

Emily Resch

“At first I put an actual strawberry in the cupcake, then Dad suggested I mix the strawberries with whipped cream, and it was better,” she said.

She’s thinking about the next kind of cupcake she will invent.

“My sister’s favorite candy is Snickers, so I’m going to try to make some kind of a Snickers cupcake,” she said. “My grandma also makes good apple pies, so I would like to make some kind of apple pie cupcake, too.”

Resch uses a frosting tip to dress up of her cupcakes.

Some of her other favorite things to make are chocolate chip cookies and “Cheezy Corn,” which she makes every year for Christmas.

When she helps with meals, she usually works on the side dishes, while others in the family work on the main dishes.

Resch said she hasn’t had perfect success with every cake or cupcake she’s made over the years, but said simply, “Practice makes perfect.”

She is a sophomore at Spirit Lake High School, and is the daughter of Mike and Julie Resch, of rural Spirit Lake.

She is the treasurer of the Spirit Lakers 4-H Club and is in the percussion section of the high school jazz and marching bands.

She participate in the band’s solo ensembles, speech and golf.

S’more or Oreo cupcakes


2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Stir together dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed with mixer 2 minutes.

Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into cupcake tins until they are 2/3 full.

Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove immediately and cool completely on wire racks.


1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

3 1/2 ounces of marshmallow fluff

Toppings: Mini marshmallows, graham crackers/crumbs, Hershey’s chocolate bars, Oreos.

Mix vegetable shortening, softened butter, marshmallow fluff and vanilla together.

Gradually add powered sugar and milk, continuing to mix until desired consistency.

Pipe onto cupcakes using Wilton’s “1M” tip, and decorate with desired toppings.

Strawberry shortcake cupcakes

Vanilla cake mix

16 oz. frozen strawberries (reserve liquid)

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

12 fresh strawberries

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup whipped cream

Prepare box mix directions and let cupcakes cool completely. Using a cupcake corer, twist it into the cupcake about one-half inch and pull out to make a place for the filling.

Mix 1/4 cup of frozen strawberries and 1/2 of the whipped cream in a small bowl to create a mousse filling.

Using a spoon, fill holes in cupcakes with mousse filling.


Mix vegetable shortening, softened butter and vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar, add milk.

Mix in1/4 of frozen strawberry liquid. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Cut fresh strawberries in half and garnish cupcakes with them. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top to finish.

Yields 24 cupcakes. Keep refrigerated until served.

Save the remainder of the frozen strawberries to serve with ice cream or on pancakes later in the week.

Cheezy corn

2 cans cream style corn

1 pound bag frozen corn

1 8-ounce jar Cheez Whiz

35 Ritz crackers

Mix frozen and creamed corn together in bowl. Add Cheez Whiz and stir together. Pour into greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Crush the crackers into a crumb topping. Sprinkle crackers over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Easy meatballs

1 bag frozen meatballs (The Resch family uses Rosina Italian)

1 can cranberry sauce

1 jar chili sauce

Bake meatballs on large jelly roll pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Heat cranberry sauce and chili sauce over low heat until melted, to create a sauce. Remove cooked meatballs and dip onto sauce, then place back on pan. Leave enough space so meatballs don’t touch. Cook glazed meatballs for another 10 minutes or until sauce caramelizes. Can be served as a meal or add to a crockpot to serve as an appetizer.

Grandma Fries’ homemade ice cream

(The Resches recommend that cooks read through the recipe thoroughly before proceeding.)


Cook in a double boiler:

2 cups sugar

3 cups whole milk

Scant 1/2 cup flour

Pinch of salt

4 beaten egg yolks

Cook until thickened to a light sauce, then add 2 tablespoons vanilla.

Beat egg whites until stiff.

Mix 4 cups of whipping cream into the custard, then pour the custard into an ice cream freezer. Fold in egg whites. After egg whites have been added, the freezer container should be full.


Fill the edges of the ice cream freezer using about 2 1/2 bags of ice and about 1/2 bag of pickling salt, alternating layers of ice and salt, until filled. Freeze as quickly as possible. Makes 1 gallon of vanilla ice cream.

(For whipping cream: 8 ounces = 1 cup; so four 8-ounce. containers of whipping cream = 4 cups; two 16-ounce containers of whipping cream = 4 cups.)

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