Tuesday, August 18, 2009

good day sunshine: sunshine cupcakes

Bug-bug's last day of preschool is this week! They had an end of the year show in May, then attended all summer, so the last days of school are a little anticlimactic. To ramp up the "whoohoo!" factor, the parents of the starting-kindergarteners planned a little pizza party for tomorrow. I volunteered to bring dessert, of course. I made mini-vanilla cupcakes (Amy Sedaris's recipe - easy, perfectly fine, but not super special) with chocolate frosting (Bug's choice - more details below) topped with little fondant suns. The school's logo has a yellow smiley face sun with black shades. I couldn't find a tiny, sun-shaped cookie cutter, so I made do with a fluted one. Of course, Boy-o walked in, saw them, and said, "what are all these flowers for?" Oh well. They look really cute.

Frosting. I have a great chocolate fudge frosting recipe but figured it was a good chance to try something new. (They're 2- to 5-year-olds, so I figured they wouldn't care either way.) So many of the recipes I saw were cocoa based, whereas mine uses melted, unsweetened chocolate. I had doubts, but I read a post that claimed the Hershey's perfect chocolate frosting recipe was chocolatey, sweet, and piped well. Her cupcakes looked beautiful, and the frosting was a great consistency, but I didn't like the overwhelming cocoa taste, so I set about doctoring it. The final result tasted delicious but the frosting started to look droopy after being out of the fridge a while. A few minutes chilling the cupcakes fixed everything, but to use this frosting again, I'd have to play with the proportions a bit more to ensure temperature stability. Below is the recipe as I made it tonight.

All in all, I'm really please by how cute they are, and I know the kids and teachers will love them, and that's what counts!

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) flour
1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces) milk

(I'll leave out Amy's very funny directions and substitute my own.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat butter at medium speed until smooth; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk, and beat until all ingredients are well incorporated. Line cupcake tins and scoop batter into them, about 2/3 full. I made mini cupcakes and baked them for about 15 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. Cool in the pan for up to five minutes, then remove cupcakes to a cooling rack. This recipe made 45 mini cupcakes.

Chocolate Frosting, adapted from Hershey's recipe
1/2 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup (2 ounces) cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk or cream

Beat butter until smooth. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, and melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Add one cup of powdered sugar and a little milk or cream, and beat until smooth. Add remaining sugar and as much milk or cream as is needed to achieve the desired consistency. Beat well. The frosting will start out really dark but will lighten up as you beat it. If it gets too soft, throw the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.


Nanette said...

Those are super cute! What did the kids think? Did any of them pull an Anthony Bourdain on ya? ;)

meredith said...

oh my gosh, so cute!!!

Kris said...

Jami, you are making me awfully hungry... these look yummy & cute!

ButterYum said...

Sooooo cute!!!!! I reviewed these cupcakes too. I wasn't overly thrilled with them, but they were okay. If you're interested, here's the link: