Monday, March 7, 2011

mardi gras (or spring, or easter) cupcakes

I really wanted to make mask cut out cookies decorated with royal icing and sprinkles for Cha to bring to school for Mardi Gras. I researched them, and planned them out and everything. But then, over the weekend, I completed my Daring Baker challenge, and today, well, I just wanted to bake something simple. No bending over cookies for hours trying to decorate them just right. No food coloring everywhere. Just simple, yummy, cupcakes. Yeah, right.

Still had to be fun right? So, inspired by Erica over at Sweet Tooth, I made gold, green and purple cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting. So much for no food coloring everywhere. On top of that, I have sprinkles everywhere. Oh boy!

These cupcakes are going to 3 year old kids, so I thought I'd try out a new frosting recipe. I figure that they really won't care what kind of icing is on their cake, as long as it has sugar in it, and sprinkles on it. My husband prefers store bought icing, and grocery store cakes to whatever I make. He doesn't like buttercream. He says it's like eating a stick of butter. I'm trying to find a recipe that he will like. So the frosting I made is half butter, and half shortening, with powdered sugar and vanilla. I'm not even going to bother posting a recipe for that. I don't care if the Bourbonnator likes it, I'm never making it again. It was gross. It was solid, not creamy. Sprinkles wouldn't stay on it. The texture was all wrong. Bad aftertaste. Shortening mouth-feel. Not good.

But the cupcakes we're really good. Moist and fluffy, without being crumbly. I hate crumbs. The top was crunchy. I like that in a cupcake. The colors turned out good too, but I'm not sure they scream Mardi Gras as much as Spring, or Easter. Plus, the yellow and the green together always remind me of the Jamaican Flag. In any case. Cupcakes were good, they looked cool. Icing sucked. (So did my piping job, but I'm blaming that on the icing.) Let's move on.

So, I'm sharing a trick I learned, like, two months ago, about portioning batter. In this case, to get the three colors, you need to divide the batter into 3 bowls. To do that perfectly, you need to weigh the bowl in which you're mixing the batter in. Once your batter is done, you weigh your bowl with the batter again, and subtract the weight of the bowl. Now, you divide that number by 3, and put that amount of batter into each bowl. Super easy!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F

Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners

In a small bowl sift the dry ingredients together then set aside. Measure the milk and add the vanilla extract and set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating thoroughly, and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and beat until just incorporated. Beat in 1/2 of the milk & vanilla, scrape the sides of the bowl. Repeat the previous 2 steps, ending with the last of the flour.

Divide your batter into 3 bowl. Add food coloring to each bowl, until desired shade is reached.

Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of each color into each "corner" of the prepared cupcake liners to about 3/4 full.

Bake for 25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 15 mins.

Remove cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.


  1. these are lovely and great shots ! May I ask what camera you use? and if you don't mind, how do you get the great dramatic black backdrops?
    thx, Linda @ Lemon Drop

  2. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for visiting my space and for the great feedback :) I use a Nikon D40 and use the macro setting for my photo pics. The black backdrop is usually one of my black tables or my children's chalk board in the background :)

  3. How festive. I miss Mardi Gras--thanks for sharing!

  4. Your cupcakes are just stunning. I love those vibrant colors and how you put them together to prettily. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cupcakes up.

  5. Mardi Gras colours are always so pretty. What a shame that we don't have it over here :)

  6. Cuteness overload! Very-Mardi Gras-ish ;) I love cupcakes in any form, colour or toppings. This beats all I've seen hands down :)

  7. I was doing my sch work and well i was still thinking of the mouth feel and u helped me!!! thx^^


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