Valentine’s Day isn’t my favorite holiday after all. Mardi Gras is! I guess living in Colorado made me completely forget about Mardi Gras because it didn’t even occur to me that Fat Tuesday is next week until I started seeing photos from Mardi Gras balls in my Facebook stream. But yeah, it’s definitely my favorite and the one I most looked forward to when I lived in Mobile.
Since we don’t really get the opportunity to celebrate in Colorado, I had to make these super cute king cake cupcakes! (Please ignore the creepy babies. This should be the last year you have to look at them.) I used a box mix to make the cupcakes but made my cinnamon buttercream that I love so much to make them a little more king cake-like. And then I topped them with the tiniest little king cakes made from vanilla wafers!
If you are celebrating Mardi Gras this year (I’m jealous) you should totally make these! Everyone who saw them went nuts over how cute they were.
Nicole made hurriances! One time, many years ago, a friend of mine caught her hair on fire from a flaming hurricane at a bar. It was arguably one of the best nights of my life.* So go make hurricanes! Throw beads at whoever you live with! And have a good time!
*She was fine. It was put out quickly and we laughed about it for days. I’m really not heartless.
Cupcakes have been mostly absent from my life (and my blog!) since we made the move from sea level to 6000 feet. Sad story, right? I just can’t get them right. I’ve had decent luck with cakes and quick breads but the secret to perfect high-altitude cupcakes has eluded me until now.
The problem with baking at high elevation is that your leavening agents react insanely quick up here. Like, you’re making a batch of cupcakes, turn your back for 10 seconds to get a different spatula and your batter rises an inch. Seriously, it’s that fast. So you have to raise the oven temperature to set the batter before it expands too much, decrease leaveners, perhaps add an extra egg, add extra flour… it’s all very confusing. And these remedies come with side effects – raising the over temperature not only sets the batter, it also gives you burnt cupcake tops with undercooked middles sometimes. Like I said, confusing.
But I finally found a recipe that adapted really well. And now here’s where I’m at: high-altitude baking applies to a very small percentage of my readers. So do I share the original recipe with notes on how to adapt? I’m assuming that since it adapted well to high-altitude baking that it’s probably a pretty good recipe to begin with. What do we think?
So about the cupcakes? They were so good! I love the white cupcakes from boxed mixes and these turned out even better than those. And the buttercream is so fantastic! It’s made by cooking egg whites in a double boiler and then beating them to stick peaks so it’s an entirely different texture than buttercreams made with just butter. It’s silky and rich and I considered spreading it on toast for breakfast this morning.
If you don’t have vanilla beans, just add vanilla. Although I do recommend picking up some clear vanilla because the regular vanilla extract will tint it. And sprinkles are a must.
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
2¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups milk
6 egg whites, at room temperature
For the vanilla bean buttercream:
1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 egg whites
3½ sticks (14 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and 1½ cups sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternately with the milk. Set aside.
in a clean mixer bowl on your stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites until they begin to speed. Add the remaining 1¼ cups sugar and beat until the whites are thick and almost hold stiff peaks. Fold ⅓ of the whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in the rest.
Fill the muffin cups about ¾ of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes -rotating the pans halfway through – until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clear.
Cool completely before frosting.
To make the buttercream:
Bring a saucepan half full of water to a simmer. Set a bowl over the water; do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Combine the sugar and egg whites in the bowl and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch.
Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whip until the whites hold stiff peaks and are cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter a little at a time, being sure each batch is incorporated before moving on. The mixture may look broken – just continue beating until it comes back together.
Add in vanilla and beat until combined. Check the consistency; if it’s too thin, continue beating until it’s thick enough.
These cute little football cupcakes are perfect for any Superbowl party! I mean, who doesn’t love cupcakes?! And they couldn’t be any easier. I actually used a boxed mix because cupcakes haven’t been my friend since we moved to 6,000 feet. (The boxed mixes have high altitude directions and always work perfectly.) I also used canned frosting because… well, butter is expensive and canned frosting is cheap!
So the whole project took less than an hour!
To frost football cupcakes: Use a small star tip (I used 21 from Wilton) to pipe chocolate lines back and forth across the cupcakes. You want the lines to be touching but not on top of each other. Use a small round tip (I used 6 from Wilton) to pipe white lines across across the chocolate frosting to make it look like a football.
It’s the day we’ve been anxiously awaiting since the end of the last college football season: Alabama’s first game! I’m (hopefully) making something special for today’s game so I wanted to share what I’ve made for the last 2 seasons.
The crimson (pretend with me) and white cupcake up there is a white chocolate cupcake with strawberry and white chocolate cream cheese frosting and you can find that recipe here.
Two years ago I made these red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (recipe here) and they were awesome.
Roll Tide! :)
Which team(s) are you cheering for this weekend? And are you making anything special?
I took a short break from Project Pastry Queen while we moved and got settled but I’m back and ready to bake! I’m coming back just in time for the Peach Queen Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting which was chosen by Shawnda.
So… peaches and dulce de leche? Not exactly two things I’d combine normally but I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out. It works somehow. Like really works. Like I could eat 5 of these cupcakes at once. They kind of reminded me of Millionaire’s Cake which I now want to make after looking up recipes!
Shawnda will have the recipe for you but I thought I’d share the changes I made. I did cupcakes instead of a 3 layer cake – I halved the recipe (ended up with 12 and enough batter for another 1 or 2) and baked them for about 25 minutes. I also used buttermilk instead of sour cream because that’s what I had on hand, and I doubled the vanilla. Because I wanted to.
For the dulce de leche, I used the crockpot method. All you do is put a can of sweetened condensed milk in your crockpot with enough water to cover it completely and then cook for about 8 hours. It’s like magic.