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A trip down memory lane – Pink Anthill Cupcakes

4 de July de 2009


When my mother passed away, she left for me a small vintage cookbook collection, with books from the 60’s and 70’s, and also her old recipe notebook.

I love this notebook – it has recipes from both of my grandmas, from mom, and even from myself – when I was a little girl. Most part of the recipes my mother collected from friends and family and some she clipped from old magazines. I’ve had tasted a lot of the dishes from the notebook by mom’s hands, some she has just copied but never tried.

Well, since I’m just fascinated about old recipes, why not jumping  into a journey through the family notebook?

I’ve decided to start the adventure with this one: Conceição’s Anthill Cake. Conceição was the housemaid at a mom’s friend house. She was already in her fifties, and people said she was a retired nun. She always made the famous cake when we visited –  a moist and tender coconut cake with chocolate jimmies in the batter, to resemble an anthill.

I didn’t have any chocolate jimmies, so I improvised with pink sprinkles I had left from another recipe. The frosting  comes from the notebook too: a never tested before recipe from some unknown 80’s magazine, kind of a marshmallow cream with red flavored Jell-O.


Conceição’s Anthill Cake – 24 cupcakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g desiccated grated coconut
  • 1 cup milk
  • 50g chocolate jimmies (I used pink sprinkles)

For the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Line two 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.

In the electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl in the electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the coconut.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. End with flour. Mix in the chocolate jimmies.

With a large spoon or spatula, fold the beaten egg whites in the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes come out clean. Take the cupcakes from the tin and let cool over a wire rack before frosting.

Pink Frosting  (from somewhere in the 80’s)

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp red flavored Jell-o/ gelatin (I used strawberry)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (didn’t use)

In a saucepan, mix sugar, gelatin and water. Cook over medium heat until it boils and the sugar and gelatin are fully dissolved. In a steady stream, add the gelatin mixture to the beaten egg whites, with the electric mixer on high speed. Beat until it looks like a meringue and it’s cold, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Use immediately. Decorate as desired.


35 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 de July de 2009 7:36

    These are so pretty. My nieces would love them. They adore anything pink. I would love them too, because they look and sound delicious.

  2. 5 de July de 2009 11:13

    Those are simply TOO CUTE!!! Perfect really! The best part is the hand-me down old family cookbooks, I love that. I cherish mine like they were made of gold!

  3. 5 de July de 2009 14:38

    Your cupcakes are so pretty! And, the marshmallowy frosting sounds delicious.

  4. 5 de July de 2009 16:38

    Oh that´s the most beautiful version of an Anthill cake. It´s a very popular cake here in Brazil (at least in São Paulo)! It reminds me of my childhood 🙂

    They look adorable and tasty!

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      9 de July de 2009 0:58

      Bia, também sou de São Paulo! A receita é brasileríssima! bj

  5. Sarah permalink
    5 de July de 2009 18:58

    They look delicious, especially that frosting! I think I’ll make these for my girls’ next tea party.

  6. 5 de July de 2009 19:13

    These are the sweetest pink cupcakes! Don’t you love old recipes? I love thinking about what my mom was making and the recipes she read through. In one of her old cookbooks, she had written a weekly menu inside the back cover. I love seeing that whenever I pick up that cookbook.

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      9 de July de 2009 1:02

      Bridget, I think the main reason I love baking is because it reminds me of my mom!

  7. oneordinaryday permalink
    5 de July de 2009 21:30

    How lucky to have such a precious collection of recipes.
    The idea of the ant hill cake is really fun, but your sprinkle version is just plain pretty. Very nicely done!

  8. Barista permalink
    5 de July de 2009 23:15

    Please please please tell me how to make the icing look so perfect! I have tried and tried but this is the epitome of excellence!

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      6 de July de 2009 14:45

      Thanks! For those I used a pastry bag with a large round plain tip (like 1A or 2A from Wilton). With the pastry bag 90°, very close to the cupcake surface, I started squeezing without moving the bag, until the frosting covered all surface of the cupcake. Then, still squeezing, but with less pressure, I lifted the bag slowly to form a round mound. When you are happy with the frosting hight and form, stop squeezing and pull the bag away. It took me a few ruined cupcakes to practice, but you can always scrap the frosting and start over! If you have any more questions, please drop me a line! I hope it helped!

  9. 6 de July de 2009 11:10

    Handed down recipes are just the best and bring back good memories. These cupcakes look gorgeous! I love the photography and styling 🙂

  10. 6 de July de 2009 14:47

    These cupcakes look absolutely delicious and so pretty in pink. Love the frosting and the pink sprinkles on top. I certainly would love to have a couple of these.

  11. 8 de July de 2009 0:09

    These are about the pretties darn cupcakes I have ever seen! GREG

  12. 11 de July de 2009 5:15

    Wow….I am book marking you for sure. Good thing you were featured on today’s foodie blogroll because I am liking what I see!

  13. 11 de July de 2009 12:54

    My mom has a bunch of handwritten recipe journals from my grandmother too, I absolutely LOVE them. Sometimes I just like to look through them all just to see her handwriting which was so beautiful. Passed down recipes are the best. Especially the handwritten ones since it is, for the most part, from a bygone era–now everything is saved to a computer!

    Your cupcakes are so beautiful… I love the gingham ribbon too! Perfect for a baby shower!

  14. 15 de July de 2009 18:30

    these are so cute and look delicious. Your blog is awesome 🙂 Nice creations.

  15. 20 de July de 2009 10:43

    Beyond beautiful. I’m going to definitely try out the meringue like frosting.

  16. Barista permalink
    22 de July de 2009 16:48

    Thank you for the tips! I can’t wait to try it on my next batch of cupcakes this weekend 🙂

  17. 29 de September de 2009 2:32

    Hi! I’ve featured this recipe at our blog:

    I’ve given a link and credit back to yours! SO GORGEOUS! Thank you for sharing!

  18. 26 de February de 2010 16:47

    These are so cute, and I’m always looking for a good frosting recipe. How did you like this frosting?

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      1 de March de 2010 15:15

      Hi Anna!
      Overall I liked it – it’s a bit on the sweet side, and it reminded me of a very fluffy marshmallow, specially after a while in the fridge. I had some readers who used unflavored gelatin and vanilla extract instead of strawberry, and it turned out ok.

  19. 29 de April de 2010 18:01

    Hi, I tried your recipe and it was a hit. I’m posting your recipe in my blog, if ok with you? to give you credit

    Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      29 de April de 2010 22:04

      Totally ok, sweetie! Good luck with the blog!

  20. 29 de April de 2010 18:04

    Hi, I tried your recipe and it was a hit. These cupcakes are delish I’m posting your recipe in my blog, if ok with you? to give you credit

    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  21. 22 de May de 2010 7:10

    These cupcakes look delicious! And I love the story behind them. Thanks for sharing.

  22. 25 de September de 2010 23:54

    These look amazing! I can’t wait to give them a try!

  23. 13 de November de 2010 4:56

    I am quite sure that someone stole this blog and just translated to portuguese. I ve read this article in portuguese in a brazilian blog. I really thought it was strange that in Brazil an old book of recepies would contain a CupCake recepie because its not part of Brazilian cakes…

    Anyway I loved this article^^

  24. 7 de May de 2012 23:44

    These look so good I am going to try them for sure. I added this link to my Fabulous cupcakes linky list on my site. Thank you for sharing your recipe. Marcie

  25. kazumi Edwards permalink
    12 de December de 2012 2:00

    Adorei essa receita. Vou tentar fazer pro birthday do meu filho, so vou trocar a gelatina pra sair de cors azul :)…Blueberry maybe. O icing nao fica com cheiro de ovo? ou muito doce?


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