Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rainbow Party Cupcakes

Kids love the glorious rainbow of colors inside these fudge-topped vanilla cupcakes.

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (6 ounces, 1 1/2 sticks) butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces) Instant Clearjel®
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces) dried buttermilk powder
3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk
3/4 cup mini M & M candies

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (ONLY if you use unsalted butter)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) boiling water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) meringue powder
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
4 cups (16 ounces) sifted confectioners' or glazing sugar
2 cups (4 sticks, 16 ounces) soft butter, vegetable shortening, or a combination of both*

*We love the flavor of butter, but if your cupcakes will be sitting in a hot place, using some (or all) vegetable shortening will help keep the frosting from melting.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 regular muffin cups with silicone cups or cupcake papers, and grease the cups or papers.

Beat together the sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time; it's OK if the mixture looks curdled. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, Instant Clearjel, baking powder, and buttermilk powder, sifting if it's lumpy. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Add half the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Scrape the bowl, then add the remaining milk and the candies. Beat on medium speed just until evenly mixed.

Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, or until they spring back when touched lightly. Remove them from the oven, and cool before icing.

Icing: Dissolve the sugar (and salt, if you're using it) in the boiling water, and cool to room temperature. Mix in the meringue powder. Beat on low speed of an electric mixer for several minutes, until the powder dissolves and the mixture is foamy. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the vanilla, then the confectioners' or glazing sugar. Add the soft butter a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Swirl the icing onto the cupcakes.

Baker's tip: To make sundae cupcakes, freeze the iced cakes (so icing won't melt), then drizzle the icing with prepared fudge sauce mix. Yield: 24 cupcakes.

©2007 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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