By Tracy Briggs for Area Voices

The football season is at last upon us and while the most popular foods to nosh on while watching the game might be pizza, beer and Buffalo wings, who says you can’t enjoy a sweet, decadent and football-themed cupcake for dessert?

In fact, not only is it a way to treat yourself it’s actually a smart thing to do.  Norwegian researchers Dr. Arnold Berstad and Dr. Jorgen Valeur  (Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo) found eating something sweet after a big meal actually aides with digestion. Woo hoo! Now that is something to cheer about.

With that in mind I set out to find an easy way to celebrate cupcakes and the sport we all love. Since I live in Minnesota, I was inspired to make fan-favorite Minnesota Viking-themed cupcakes. I saw some adorable ones on Pinterest, but I wanted to do something a little different–shake things up a bit. I looked no further than the candy aisles of my local drugstore for inspiration. I figured if I’d braid banana Laffy Taffy it might look like a viking hair and if I de-yellowfied banana Runt candy it would look like horns.

When I thought about flavors, I wondered what went well with banana and of course, it had to be peanut butter. Elvis Presley– himself a big football fan–(the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns were among his favorite teams) enjoyed peanut butter and banana with bacon.

But I wanted winning-recipe so I decided to take the lead from a championship team. New England is home to the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, of course, but it’s also the birthplace of the Fluffernutter, a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich on white bread. So I settled upon a peanut butter cupcake I found on Food Fanatic . I tweaked it a bit with marshmallow filling and purple vanilla buttercream frosting and Minnesota Viking decorations. The most time consuming part of this was prepping the candy decorations.  Still this only took minutes.

Watch the video we made to show you how to do it. The cupcakes are super easy and yummy.

Minnesota Viking Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes


1 box yellow cake mix
Ingredients for cake including oil, water and eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tub of purple frosting (I used Pillsbury Funfetti Bold Purple Vanilla)
Mini marshmallows
White candy sprinkles
1 18 ounce bag of assorted Laffy Taffys (Just the grape and banana ones)
Runts candies (just the banana ones)*

*You could also make horns out of white almond bark covered pretzels or cashews


Start by prepping the candies that will be the decorations for the cupcakes. Pick out the banana candies from the Runts’ box. Soak all of them in a bowl of hot water for about one minute or until the candies turn from yellow to white. Let dry on a paper towel. Set aside. Pick out and take off wrappers of six or seven banana Laffy Taffys and two grape Laffy Taffys. With each piece of banana taffy, use your hands to roll out one long rope. Cut rope into three equal pieces and braid. Set aside. Repeat with all of the pieces of taffy. Cut grape taffy into small,(½ inch) individual pieces. Set aside. Watch the video to see how we made the candy decorations.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and peanut butter. Beat until well-blended. Line two regular-sized muffin pans with paper liners. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and the tops of cupcakes spring back when pressed with a finger. Cool in pans for about two minutes before pushing two to three mini marshmallows into the center of the cupcakes. Let cool completely.

When cooled, top with purple frosting. Roll edges of cupcake in white candy sprinkles. Add horns and braids. Use the grape taffy to top the braids.

Skol, Vikings!

Recipe altered from Food Fanatic

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