Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

I am gearing up for real life…and am a little bit in denial right now.  I feel like when my alarm goes off tomorrow, it will feel like I am participating in the Polar Bear Plunge.  Nothing like a good wake up call for the new year.

I am embarrassed to say that I am finally getting around to posting the cupcakes I made for my younger daughter’s birthday party this year.  If you remember, she requested these for her actual birthday – making sure that they had nothing to do with any type of Thanksgiving dessert.  But she wanted something pretty mainstream for her party – but boy were they delicious.

This week was my birthday – I am not sure when, but at some point, I really stopped looking forward to my birthday.  Once you have kids – your birthday is really just an excuse for them to pick out a cake for you.  So this year I decided to do something a little different.  The girls were still off from school – and I was not back at work yet.  As you can tell – I am pretty into food – particularly baked goods – and I do a lot of reading about the hottest new bakeries in the city.  Unfortunately I don’t get a lot of time to visit them – and most of the time I would rather make my own treats.  Except on my birthday.  In the past I have been known to make my own cake – but this year I came up with a better plan.  I decided we would visit four local bakeries that we had not been to – sample some stuff while we were there, then bring home goodies for later.

Here was the list:

They were all outstanding in different ways.  Holy Cannoli had some delicious Stromboli’s – we thoroughly enjoyed them.  The cannoli’s were pretty darn good as well.  Fuji Bakery was like a cross between a Japanese and French bakery – we had a great bacon roll but their cinnamon bun was the winner.  At Crumble and Flake, they didn’t have a ton of selection, but the pain of chocolate took me right back to Paris – completely authentic.  Last but not least was Bakery Nouveau – where we sampled some of their pizza’s and I had a veggie sandwich.  Their baked goods looked outstanding, but I needed some healthy food at that point.  I will definitely be back.

So there you have it – what a great day.  Now I leave you with my baked goods.  I found the Vanilla Cupcakes on the blog SugarCooking – which I only changed slightly.  The recipe actually was adapted from “Baking: From my Home to Yours” – by Dorie Greenspan.  The frosting, well I used my favorite Marshmallow Frosting, and they made a perfect pair.

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Center a rack in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Beat together the butter and sugar at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and will aerated.

Fill each cupcake 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch- a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool.

To make the frosting, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Combine the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar in a large bowl.  Set the bowl over the simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

With an electric mixer on high-speed, beat the mixture, still over the simmering water, until thick and fluffy, about 7 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Serve this the day it is made as it becomes granular if it sits.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

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Bunny Cupcakes

Bunny Cupcakes

What a week – I felt completely caught up after the long Thanksgiving weekend – and then something happened (work maybe?) and by Wednesday, everything had completely turned around.  I was back to being in the weeds, and this week, I couldn’t find my way out.  It was my younger daughter’s birthday on Wednesday – the big 7.  She had been looking forward to her birthday for months – I was almost worried it would be a let down when it finally came, but this year really took the cake, so to speak…

My mother and step-father flew in for her birthday, and it was a surprise for her.  They showed up at her classroom with donuts on Wednesday morning, and she was beside herself.  I saw a video my step-father took, and it was so adorable.  That night we had a nice family birthday dinner, Friday night we went out to dinner to celebrate her birthday, and then the big birthday party was on Saturday.  This was no ordinary party – this was a bunny birthday party – with live bunnies – 15 of them.  Yes, you are reading this correctly – there were 15 live bunnies in my house, and they were not in a cave.  Not only were there 15 bunnies, there were 14 little girls in my house, enjoying these little bunnies.  And while they were doing that, I was making these – the bunny cupcakes.

It was quite chaos in my house – but I just had to go with it.  It seriously took we all day today to recover from yesterday.  The party was a big hit though, and the girls loved the cupcakes.  Fortunately my mother made the fondant ears, and she found these adorable edible eyes – which helped me immensely.  I went with the tried and true Downy Yellow Cupcakes from the Cake Bible – and my favorite Marshmallow Frosting.  For the most part, the girls loved them – I did get one very noteworthy comment from one of her good friends, who reminded me that cupcakes don’t have a lot of nutritional value:  There is no protein or calcium in cupcakes – yes, this is from a 7-year old.  Next time, maybe I will go with some Meatloaf Cupcakes.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup  milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups sifted cake  flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons  unsalted butter (must be softened)
  • 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 cusp sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Decorations

  • 1 pound of white fondant
  • Tylose Powder (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Corn Syrup
  • pink sugar crystals
  • mini marshmallows
  • edible eyes (or you can use mini-chocolate chips)
  • pink M&Ms
  • pink hearts
  • thin soba noodles
  • pink food coloring

Preparation

Cupcakes – makes 24

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low-speed for  30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low-speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high-speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop  the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3  batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the  ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake tins lined with papers. Fill them about 3/4 full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a  tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on racks for 10 minutes.

Frosting

Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Combine the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar in a large bowl.  Set the bowl over the simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

With an electric mixer on high-speed, beat the mixture, still over the simmering water, until thick and fluffy, about 7 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Serve this the day it is made as it becomes granular if it sits.

Makes about 6 cups – you will have extra.

Decorations

Add about 1 teaspoon of the Tylose Powder to the fondant, and knead well.  This will make the fondant harden.  You can test it by trying out a small piece to see if it starts to harden – depending on the humidity, you will need different amounts of powder.  Roll the fondant out so it is about 1/8 inch thick, and using a bunny cookie cutter, make bunny ears.  You should make sure the bottom comes to a v so it is easy to stick the ears in the cupcake.  Let the bunny ears lay on a wooden spoon handle, so the ears bend a little on the top.  Let them sit overnight to harden.

Take your finger, and dip it into some corn syrup just inside the ears, then sprinkle some pink sugar crystals inside.

Take a little bit of frosting and put a thin layer on top of the cupcakes.  Take about 6-7 mini-marshmallows and put them in the center of the cupcake – this is going to help the frosting mound up in the middle.  Then put frosting all around to cover the marshmallows.  At this point, you can take a butter knife, and put a slit into the cupcake where you would like the ears to go.  Stick the ears into the cupcake.  Place two eyes, the M&M nose and heart mouth on the cupcake.  Take a soba noodle and break it into 6 small equal pieces – use those for the whiskers.  I put a little bit of marshmallow frosting into a small bowl and mixed in some pink food coloring and piped a little bit next to the whiskers for the bunny cheeks.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Bunny Cupcakes