A couple months ago, the students I work with decided to have a fundraiser to benefit a local food bank. We played a game of Penny Wars, where classes competed to earn points based on the amount of spare change they could collect in just two weeks. For the first thirteen days, the huge water jugs meant to collect change remained empty except for the pennies I had thrown in to start off the game. I optimistically estimated that we would make $30-40…Little did I know that each class had a battle plan.
On the last day of the competition, I hauled bags overflowing with change to my car with the help of a much stronger coworker. I couldn’t even carry all the change by myself! The water jugs had gone from almost empty to half-full in a day. After many hours of counting and rolling coins and tapping my foot impatiently by the Coinstar machine, I had a total: $370.41!
Needless to say, I was totally blown away by students’ generosity—and their competitive spirits. While the only prize I offered to the winning class (the juniors) was baked goods, I know what they savored the most was winning a sweet victory over the seniors and, of course, doing something to help families in need in our community. We are all looking forward to presenting their check to the food bank, but in the meantime, we enjoyed these Decadent Oreo Cupcakes together to celebrate.
Click through for the recipe!
Decadent Oreo Cupcakes – Makes two dozen cupcakes
24 Oreo halves with cream filling attached
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (one stick) at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
Frosting and Garnish
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Oreo cookie crumbs, finely ground
24 Oreo cookie halves (12 cookies sliced along the diameter)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners, then place an Oreo half cream-side-up in the bottom of each liner. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In a larger bowl using an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, and with the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add milk and beat until just combined, then do the same with the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a spatula until evenly incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix, which leads to dry, dense cupcakes instead of light and fluffy treats.
Evenly divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
While cupcakes cool, make the frosting in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth, then blend in vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth, then switch to medium-low speed and beat in heavy cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip frosting for four minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired, either with a knife or by piping the frosting. Sprinkle with fine Oreo cookie crumbs and garnish each with a half Oreo just before serving.