Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Cupcakes

Happy Easter! I'll keep this as short as I can; we had a very long day, crammed full of fun Easter activities, and I'm going to be heading to bed soon. But I did want to put up this post first about these cute Easter cupcakes I made.

I did cheat a little bit this time; I made devil's food cupcakes from a mix (gasp, I know!) I was following a recipe where you doctor regular cake mix to produce a peppermint cupcake. Since I wasn't sure how peppermint cupcakes would be received by a whole crowd of people, I decided to split the cake mix in half. So, a dozen cupcakes were baked according to the directions on the back of the box. It was easy, and it meant that I could devote more time to the icing on these.

The idea for decorating these cupcakes came from my trusty Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I flipped to the page for Easter cupcakes and I found these. It seemed pretty do-able. Just put together some royal icing (the really simple powdered sugar/meringue powder/water combo that produces a thick, almost glue-like icing that hardens once it's dry) and color it several different pastel shades. Then, using some piping bags and toothpicks, make pretty designs! I dove right in.

They aren't perfect, but I was pretty proud of how they turned out. They do look close to the ones in the book, I think! I let them dry, covered them with an airtight lid, and ran off to take care of some other things. Hours later, I came back and looked in on them. To my horror, the icing had become all liquid-y again and had started to run! I was baffled as to how this could have happened. I took the lid back off the cupcakes and after a few hours, they hardened right back up again. It was annoying, though, because it meant that the only way I could keep these intact was to leave them exposed to the air at all times. Fortunately, they tasted fine when they were finally served, and the designs hadn't run too, too badly.

I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong or why this had happened. I followed the directions for making the icing precisely, and had also adhered to the instructions for proper storage. A quick internet search seemed to indicate that maybe I had inadvertently allowed some grease to come into contact with the icing. Any grease or oil can ruin the whole batch. It's remotely possible that the mixing bowl of my stand mixer contained some residual greasiness. More than likely, though, the reusable piping bags I had used were the culprit. It seems like no matter what I do, those things never become completely grease-free, and usually I let it go because all I ever use them for is, well, frostings that contain some type of grease or other. But now I've learned my lesson. You live, you learn, right?

The peppermint cupcakes were easier. I added some peppermint extract and some peppermint powder (made by finely grinding some peppermints in my food processor) to the cake batter, baked the cupcakes, then made a simple buttercream frosting with some reserved peppermint powder folded in. It was easy, and I thought it tasted really good. It was definitely very minty, but not overpowering. The recipe for the peppermint cupcakes can be found here.
Hope you had a great Easter!

1 comment:

  1. Humidity(or lack of) does a lot to baking and frosting making. There are some things that (I cant think of at the moment but are cakes) won't rise/set well if it's raining.

    Maybe that frosting recipe is the same way?