Darby Smart and the ugliest cupcakes I've ever made...


When I saw that this month's Darby Smart box was going to include a cupcake kit from Sprinkles I knew that I needed to try it. Especially when I saw the half-off for first time subscribers coupon. We had a difficult and boring week last week, so when I saw that my box was set to be delivered on Saturday I talked up making cupcakes to R big time. She was so excited she screamed when the box came. Bless her little heart.

The box came with red velvet cake mix, chocolate fondant, itty bitty cookie cutters, hear baking cups, some toothpicks, the smallest rolling pin in the world, gold and red pearl dust, and craft brushes.

Doesn't the picture on the front of that card look adorable? I had HIGH hopes.

And then I saw this and knew we were screwed. We didn't have unsalted butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and were also out of eggs and milk to boot. I texted N to grab the ingredients from the store on his way home, and hoped that I could pacify R by making the toppers.

Here's what was inside the can (which R thought was a Pringles can and cried when I wouldn't give her any chips.) There was the mix, a jar of those cute toppers that they use on their cupcakes, and a recipe card I forgot to get pictures of. Realtalk for a second, those toppers are GROSS. As in completely nasty! That was a dream crushed right there.

Here's what the fondant looked like when I unwrapped it. Tasty right?! The instructions said to put it in the microwave for 5 seconds but I didn't see that until after I had almost killed myself hand kneading this into a workable texture.

R had a good time trying to help me, but didn't do much actual helping. Attempting an adult craft kit with a 2 year old is not something I really recommend. But she did a good job watching me, and ate plenty of gross fondant, hahaha. She didn't mind that she had to nap before we could get to the actual cake part of the cupcakes (but that was really because I didn't have any of the ingredients.)

Yeah so that pearl dust was a hot freaking mess. I had been hoping for edible glitter as is shown on the info card, but thought the pearl dust they send would probably work too. Yeah no. First off the craft brushes they send kept losing bristles as I was brushing the fondant (gross!) and then the dust- especially the gold- would just not apply right. You had to use water and the whole thing was just a disaster. Never again!!

When N got home I set him to making the actual cupcakes and frosting because I was exhausted and not feeling well. He was happy to oblige as he loves red velvet cake almost as much as I do. The frosting was made entirely from scratch and OMG was it good! It was very, very cream-cheesy but as someone who 1) loves cream cheese and 2) doesn't love super sweet frosting this was heaven sent! I had to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful. Getting the recipe was the best thing out of the entire box!

The cupcakes on the other hand were no so good. They weren't bad per say, but they were hard and dry despite following the directions to a T, and I'm wondering if that had something to do with the altitude. They didn't include high altitude directions, although we never follow those anyway and have never had a problem. The $2 cake mix from the store is MUCH better than this, and this mix cost $15 and is only supposed to make 12 cupcakes! (I looked up the price on Amazon.) It was a crying shame really because that gorgeous frosting deserved better than these cakes.

I couldn't find my nice frosting knife and at this point was just OVER the whole ordeal and wanted to eat some cake, so I iced them sloppily. As the icing hardened it shrank a little bit, leaving these cupcakes look even uglier than they had been. I also opted not to use the toothpicks but to put the decorations right on top so we could keep them all on the cake dish (with the lid on it.) This was another bad idea because the fondant decorations got soggy and downright disgusting.

So aside from finding that amazing frosting recipe this was pretty much a fail. I'm glad that it only cost me $10 and I cancelled my account the next day- although I had been planning to anyway since I only wanted the cupcakes. There was a lot of wasted potential here which was a shame, but frosting makes everything ok in the end. ;)


  1. Did R actually agree to nap?? That's impressive!

    I would have been pissed that I didn't get glitter too! Sorry that the cakes didn't end up like the package (do they EVER?) but I commend you for even trying. I know that I don't have the patience for that.. hahah


    1. She's a great sleeper when she's actually tired, haha. She goes SO hard that she need a lot of sleep- thank the gods!!! We've been struggling to get her to sleep in her crib, but when she goes down she's out for the count.
      And I am kind of pissed about the glitter, haha. I want real glitter glitter! They have to make actual cool looking glitter that's edible right?! I have a mission to find it now.

    2. Thank the Gods indeed! I've heard the crib battle can be a hard one- I wish you lots of luck :)
      They do make edible glitter!! I saw it last time I was at the craft store and T was laughing at me because I was making such a big deal out of it. Do you guys have Micheal's there?

    3. We do have Michaels and it is one of my favorite places ever! I will have to find that glitter there next time!!

  2. What a disappointment! All of that work... I would have just ate the frosting, ha ha! Very good try! I hope the next batch of cupcakes you make are double delicious to make up for these ones.
    Have you read this before? ( http://www.threecookingsisters.com/make-a-boxed-cake-mix-taste-like-a-bakery-cake.html ) I saw it on pinterest once and did it with my hubby's red velvet bday cake.... AMAZING!!!!

    1. I really did just eat most of the frosting, hahaha. But no I've never heard of that and I will definitely be trying it the next time we make cupcakes, which I think is soon because we just bought mix at the store!

  3. They don't look that bad! Especially the toppers! But that's lame they didn't turn out as you'd hoped, especially because red velvet is the most amazing thing ever!

    1. Red velvet is the best! I've definitely had worse red velvet than this, but this was just too dry. Had they tasted better I wouldn't have been as bummed out that they were so ugly, but we worked so hard for naught! Oh well!