Watergate Cupcakes: A Scandalous Green Treat for St. Patty’s Day

Hello SCBD Readers! Antoinette, your South Jersey home cook here. For St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to bring a festive cupcake recipe that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth- Watergate Cupcakes. This Watergate dessert is a classic recipe and actually started off as a sweet salad of pistachio pudding mix, pineapple, walnuts, cool whip and marshmallows. In fact, the recipe for Watergate Salad can still be found on the pistachio Jell-o box today.

Legend has it that Kraft came up with the recipe to market their pistachio pudding mix. It was formerly called Pistachio-Pineapple Delight, but once the Watergate scandal happened, Kraft changed the name to market their recipe. The name has stuck since then!  I am making these cupcakes for a St. Patty’s Day party that I am attending with some political peers and it only makes sense to have these green-tinted, political-themed cupcakes. This recipe yields a lot of batter and can easily be converted to a bundt or layer cake.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Golden Vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick of  unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of lemon-lime soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped coconut flakes
  • 1 4 oz box of Instant Pistachio Jell-o Pudding Mix
  • 1 jar of Whipped Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 12-cup muffin tins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. As oven preheats, line your muffin tins with baking cups, chop walnuts and coconut flakes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, wisk cake mix with Jell-o pudding mix. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and butter. and mix for 30 seconds on low, slowly add the lemon-lime soda to the mixture,  and then 2 minutes on high.  If you don’t have a stand or hand mixer, just wisk until ingredients are well combined. If you desire a greener cupcake, feel free to add a few drops of food coloring.

3. Fold in 3/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts.

4. Fill each baking cup no more than 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to completely cool before frosting.

“Cover-up” Frosting:

What better way to top a scandalous Watergate cupcake than with a cover-up frosting!

1. As the cupcakes are cooling, in a small bowl wisk together the butter cream frosting and some pistachio pudding mix until it becomes a nice pastel green. Be careful not to add too much pistachio pudding mix, or the frosting will become grainy. If you add too much pudding mix to the frosting, add water to further dissolve the pudding. Wisk until frosting is smooth and insert the bowl into the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

2. Once both the icing and cupcakes are cooled use a knife to spread icing onto the cupcakes. I recommend using a cheese spreader, as the smaller knife is easier to control.

3. Spread out walnuts and coconut flakes onto a plate and gently dip each cupcake to achieve an even coating on each cupcake. Voila! You’re done!

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Adding soda to the mixture makes the cake light and airy while the coconut and walnuts add a  crunchy texture. Warning: these cupcakes are so good it’s hard to have just one!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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