Watermelon Cupcakes

watermeloncupcakesI possess fairly highly evolved baking skills, whipping up tangy lemon curds, creating airy cupcakes, producing flaky pie crusts, and turning out tender cookies without batting an eye. But decorating? Let’s just say it’s not exactly my strong suit.

These watermelon cupcakes are fairly simple to bake, requiring only a basic white cupcake recipe, some red food coloring, and miniature chocolate chips. Frosting and decorating them, however, is another matter entirely. While piping on red, green, and white frosting and dotting each cupcake with miniature chocolate chips might seem simple, it’s definitely easier said than done…at least for me, anyway. Perfect circles are hard to come by, and those cute miniature chips that look like watermelon seeds can be a bit unruly.

I began with blobs of red frosting in the middle, then outlined those with green and finished off with the white of the rind, but if I ever make these again, I think i’ll go green, white, red instead. I might also use different frosting tips; I used all plain, round tips of varying sizes this time, but I might suggest a star tip for the green part of the rind, then plain round for the white and a large plain tip for the red.

However you frost them, I hope you enjoy them!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 recipe white cake
  • Red gel food coloring
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting & decoration

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners; this recipe yields 18 cupcakes.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.

Mix in red food coloring to your desired shade, then stir in chocolate chips.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop batter into prepared cupcake tins.

Bake for 18-2o minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Prepare the frosting and divide into three portions; reserve a small portion for the white, a slightly larger portion for the green, and the largest portion for the red. Tint to your desired shades.

Fit piping bags with your desired tips; I used two large, plain, round tips for the red and green and a smaller plain, round tip for the white. Pipe frosting on to create the flesh and rind of the watermelon, then top with miniature chocolate chips for seeds.

Almond Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

I love opposite flavors in baking; if I have a chocolate cupcake, I want vanilla frosting, and if I have a vanilla, yellow, or almond cupcake, I want chocolate frosting.  This cupcake has a very rich almond flavor, but if you prefer something milder, omit the bitter almond oil and just use ½ teaspoon of almond and vanilla extracts each.  The fudge frosting has been adapted in measurement to frost 24 cupcakes; look for the full recipe in another post!

Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon bitter almond oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups sour milk (see how to make this below!)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

Make sour milk; place1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice in a glass measuring cup and add enough milk to equal 1 1/3 cups of liquid total.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat shortening in a mixing bowl for 30 seconds.

Add sugar and flavorings, beating until combined.

Add flour and sour milk, alternatively, until just combined.

Fill liners halfway and bake for 21-23 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting

Fudge Frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1/6 cup boiling water (just under 2 oz. in a glass measuring cup)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

Add butter, boiling water, and vanilla.

Beat on low speed until ingredients are just combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.