What’s tasty, pretty, and yummy all over? Little cupcakes decorated with flavored icing, sprinkles, and sparkles.
Where I live, mini-cupcakes are very popular. They’re cute and just right for a little treat at a party, at the office, a special occasion, or a sweet with a cup of coffee or tea. I made these to take to a jewellry party that my daughter had on the weekend. She arranged them on a three tiered plate … they looked delicious and everyone wanted to try the different flavours.
You can make the batter with your favourite recipe. To make it easy, I use a moist cake mix…Duncan Hines is my favourite. Line 48 mini muffin pans with paper cups. Prepare the mix as directed and fill the paper cups just to the rim. Bake at 350º F for about 14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, ice with buttercream frosting and decorate with a piping bag or swirl it on with a knife. Sprinkle with colourful decorations and set aside for the icing to firm up (about an hour.) Place in a covered container or carefully wrap with plastic wrap. Serve within 3 days.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
In a large mixing bowl, beat on low speed 1/2 c. solid vegetable shortening, 1/2 c. butter or margarine, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and 3 tbsp. milk. Increase speed to medium and slowly beat in 4 cups icing sugar, (approximately 1 lb.,) until creamy and smooth. If icing is too stiff, add a little more milk.
Makes about 3 cups of icing.
For chocolate frosting, beat in 2/3 c. cocoa powder and an extra tbsp. milk.
Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. (The frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Whip it again to bring it back to the right consistency.)
I usually make chocolate cupcakes and flavour the icing with pure flavourings such as creme de menthe … it’s a smoother flavour than peppermint … orange, vanilla, cherry, or lemon. Just add a drop at a time and taste the intensity of the flavour before adding more. Mix in cocoa powder for chocolate flavour.
For the cupcakes pictured, I mixed a small bowl of icing with orange flavouring, a little yellow and a tiny dab of red gel food colouring to make orange. (A flexible metal spatula works well for mixing colours and flavourings and for transfering the icing to the piping bag.) I sprinkled the cupcakes with orange coloured crystal sugar. In another bowl, I mixed a couple of drops of creme de menthe flavoring and a little green food colouring. After piping, I sprinkled with green crystals. For the chocolate frosting, I mixed about 3/4 cup of frosting with 3 tablespoons of cocoa and thinned with about a tsp. of milk. I topped the cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles. I added 1/4 tsp. vanilla to about 3/4 cup of frosting for an extra boost of vanilla to the white icing, piped it and sprinkled on some tiny candy flowers.
Check out http://www.wilton.com for more ideas for decorating cakes and cupcakes. If you’re unsure how to hold a piping bag or how to create designs, consider taking a two hour class to learn the basics. Even though preparing and decorating mini cupcakes is a little time consuming, I enjoy the process … and, of course, the results.
Give it a try….put some music on … relax and enjoy the creative experience.