C is for Cupcake - Two ways!

I don't remember what motivated me, but a while back I decided to make cupcakes from scratch. It was more work and pricier, initially, but it was so good! Totally worth it. Jump ahead a few years and I made them again for my son's 1st birthday party. I didn't have as much attention/time/care to put into these as I once did, so they didn't turn out as perfect as before, but still very flavorful.

Cupcakes and Frosting

via sweetpeaskitchen.com

Cupcake ingredients:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup + 2 Tbs whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
Lions and Hippos
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
12 tsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool
Muffin pan paper liners

Frosting ingredients:

20 Tbs (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups Confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs heavy cream

Decorating ingredients - optional:

Mardi Gras decorations
  • Purple, green, and yellow food coloring
  • Purple, green, and yellow sanding sugars
Animal decorations
  • Caramel corn
  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Candied eyes
  • O-shaped cereal
  • Black decorating gel
  • Red, yellow, and blue food coloring
Making the Cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  • In a 2-cup measuring glass, combine milk, egg whites, and extracts and mix with fork until blended.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add butter and continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
  • Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1½ minutes.
  • Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.
  • Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl.
  • Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
  • If you are making the animal cupcakes:
    • Pour batter into muffin pan
  • If you are making the Mardi Gras cupcakes:
    • Split the batter into 3 separate bowls
    • Mix in the food coloring into each bowl
    • Put batter into individual pipping or ziplock bags
    • Squeeze/layer each color into the muffin pan (for example, purple, then yellow, then green)
  • Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Transfer muffin pan to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cool completely prior to frosting.
  • Decorate!
The original recipe used these as Mardi Gras cupcakes which is how I originally decorated them and they turned out great. I loved the cupcake so much, I decided to try to make these again with a single batter color and added the animal decorations on top (thanks to some Pinterest inspiration). I made and decorated the animal cupcakes the day before and kept them in a plastic container in the basement. However, that ended up being a bad idea. The caramel on the lions ended up melting off and making a big mess and the cookies on the hippos ended up soggy. I do not bake enough to really give advice on how to solve these problems, I just want to let you know that it happened. :)

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