Mardi Gras King Cupcakes

Mardi Gras earlier this week!!!  I usually celebrate by eating all of my favorite sweets, since I pretty much always end up giving up sweets for Lent.  It was a good day to bring in these King Cake Cupcakes!  I am no Mardi Gras expert by any means, but I do know that the “King Cake” is traditionally a sweet and often colorful coffee cake.  A plastic baby (symbolizing baby Jesus) is hidden inside of the cake, and whoever gets the piece with the baby inside has good luck for a year… at least that’s the version I know of.  There are many different legends.  It’s a fun way to bring a little friendly competition into the workplace.  I decided to transform the idea into cupcakes – and boy were they great!

The cake is a moist cinnamon-swirl cupcake and is topped with a light and fluffy cream cheese frosting.  I tinted the frosting with the official colors of Mardi Gras (yellow, green, and purple), and decorated with colored sugar and sprinkles.  They were really fun and everyone at work enjoyed them!

—–

Mardi Gras King Cupcakes

Active Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 20-24 min
TOTAL: ~40 min, plus cooling and frosting

Ingredients:

 Cinnamon Cupcakes

  • ¼ c unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 c confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ c milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

 Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners and a second tin with 6 liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1.5 tsp cinnamon together. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture slowly, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling halfway full (~1/4 c of batter) and top with ~1 tsp cinnamon-butter mixture (allow to drip down sides). Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost as desired with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows).  Yields: 16-18 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until well-blended.
  2. Reduce speed to low and slowly add confectioner’s sugar, alternating with milk. Add vanilla and increase speed to medium-high, whipping until fluffy and well-combined.  Add additional milk or powdered sugar until you reach desired frosting consistency.

Decorating tips for Mardi Gras!

  • Tint your frosting with yellow, green, or purple (or all three!)
  • Garnish with plastic Mardi Gras beads or rings
  • Hide a plastic baby (symbolizing baby Jesus) in one of the cupcakes (NOTE: do this AFTER baking – just stick it into the baked cupcake, then frost).

Piña Colada Cupcakes

I’ve been reminiscing about the summer, the beach, and tropical vacations.  What I wouldn’t give to be lying on a beach somewhere, roasting in the sun, and sipping on a fruity drink with one of those cute little umbrellas in it!!!  Since that’s not quite possible right now, I’ll bring the beach into the kitchen.  How does a Piña Colada cupcake sound?

Let’s do ourselves a favor and combine the sweet, summer flavors of pineapple and coconut into cake-form and top with a creamy coconut frosting.  Top it with some sweetened shredded coconut and one of those cute umbrellas, and it’s almost like we’re on the beach… right?!

I hope this Piña Colada cupcake brings you a little taste of paradise as we continue waiting for the summer sun to arrive!

—–

Piña Colada Cupcakes

Active Prep:  15 min for cupcakes, 10 min for frosting
Bake time: 20 min
TOTAL: 35 min, plus cooling and frosting

Ingredients:

 Cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 c pineapple juice
  • ¼ tsp coconut extract
  • 1 c pureed pineapple

Frosting

  • 1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 Tbsp canned coconut milk
  • ¾ tsp coconut extract
  • 3 ½ c confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ c sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, pineapple juice, and coconut extract. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture, alternating with pineapple juice mixture until just combined.  Fold in pureed pineapple.  Do not over-mix.
  5. Add batter to prepared cupcake pan (~1/4 c of batter per cupcake). Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Frost with coconut buttercream as desired.
  6. Coconut Frosting: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add coconut milk and coconut extract.  Slowly add powdered sugar until combined, then increase speed to medium-high to whip together.  Add additional powdered sugar or coconut milk until you reach desired consistency.  Frost cupcakes as desired, then garnish with shredded coconut. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting

I don’t think I’ve posted a cupcake on this blog yet – HOW CAN THAT BE?!?  Cupcakes are my FAVORITE thing in the world to make (and eat!).  Making and decorating cupcakes is my favorite hobby.  I just can’t get enough!

I promised Lauren (my twin sis) that I would make her some Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes for her (our) birthday (yesterday!).  The thing is… pregnancy brain struck and I LITERALLY forgot to make them!  I had all the ingredients bought and ready to go, and I just completely blanked out and didn’t realize what day it was until I woke up yesterday and realized that the promised-cupcakes were still in ingredient-form!  OOPS!  So, I made them today to bring to her tomorrow. 🙂

These Chocolate Oreo cupcakes have a surprise Oreo baked on the bottom.  The chocolate cupcake recipe is adapted from one of my FAVORITE chocolate cupcake recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  The frosting has a butter and cream cheese base, plus lots of crushed Oreos mixed in.  I hope she doesn’t mind getting a box of 11 – a baker’s dozen from me is 11, not 13 😉 (hey, the baker needs one, too!)

—–

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

Active Prep: 15 minutes
Bake time: 18-20 minutes
TOTAL:  ~35 minutes

YIELDS: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ c all-purpose flour
  • ½ c Hershey’ Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ c white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ c buttermilk
  • 12 Oreo sandwich cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Prepare a cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add brown sugar, white sugar, oil, and vegetable oil and mix on medium high with an electric beater until well-combined.
  4. Add half of flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk, slowly folding in after each addition. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk.
  5. Place one Oreo cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Add ¼ cup of batter to each liner.  Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Frost with Cookies and Cream Frosting and decorate as desired!

 

Cookies and Cream Frosting

Prep: 15 minutes

YIELDS: Frosts ~12-18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks), room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 6-8 Oreo cookies finely crushed (~1 cup)
  • 12 mini Oreo cookies, for decoration (optional)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
  2. With mixer on lowest setting, slowly add confectioners sugar. Once incorporated, increase speed to medium-high to blend well, about 1 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add ¾ c of the Oreo crumbs.  Mix until combined.
  3. Frost cupcakes as desired. Garnish with mini Oreo cookies and remaining Oreo cookie crumbs.  Enjoy!