Snow Queen Cupcakes

snow queen cupcakesWinter gets a bad rap, but I love it. I think snow is beautiful, appreciate seeing the branches of the trees, and actually prefer cold weather to warm. If I had my choice between Florida and Maine, I’d choose Maine every time. So here at midwinter, I’ve whipped up some cupcakes worthy of a snow queen, a simple vanilla cupcake recipe topped with vanilla buttercream and blue sugar and pearl sprinkles.

Pearl sprinkles can be a bit unwieldy, so I recommend placing the cupcakes in a bowl or other container to catch any runaways during sprinkling and gently pressing the pearls into the frosting using the tip of a knife.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 tablespoon vinegar mixed with enough milk to yield 1/2 cup – stir and let stand for 5 minutes before using)

For the frosting

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Blue sugar sprinkles
  • Pearl sprinkles

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tines with paper liners; this recipe yields 17 cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat for another 30 seconds. Add vanilla and canola oil and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add flour mixture and sour milk alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Batter will be very thin.

Using a quarter-cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared regular-sized cupcake liners, filling half full. Use a teaspoon measuring spoon to fill miniature cupcake liners.

Bake for 13 – 16 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute, then add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Add vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes on medium speed. Fit a piping bag with a large star tip (I use the Wilton M1) and pipe swirls onto each cupcake. Top with blue sugar crystals and pearl sprinkles. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

hotcocoacupcakes

I swear by recipes that come on the back of a package, because you know they’re tried and true. This recipe, while not from a package, was featured on the Dixie Crystals sugar website, submitted by a member of their baking community. And you a product maker isn’t going to just slap any old recipe on their website and have it associated with their sugar, so I figured this one would be good – and I was right.

Quantity-wise, the original recipe said it would yield 24 cupcakes, so I cut it in half intending to make just a dozen. My halved recipe still made 24, but amazingly the frosting yielded exactly enough for my total two dozen cupcakes. I altered the frosting recipe to include more vanilla and a teaspoon of milk, because it seemed a bit thick to me. You can top these cupcakes however you like, but I went with mini marshmallows and peppermint sticks, even though there’s no peppermint in the batter.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup hot cocoa mix
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

For the frosting

  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme (aka fluff)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla¬†
  • 1 teaspoon milk¬†
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Peppermint sticks

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa mix. Add egg, milk, and vegetable oil and stir to combine; slowly add boiling water and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Fill cupcake wells half full and bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove cupcakes from tins; cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting, beat butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add marshmallow creme and beat to combine, then add powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat on medium speed to combine. Add 2 additional teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon milk to thin the frosting slightly.

Fit a piping bag with a Wilton M1 tip and pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake. Add miniature marshmallows and peppermint sticks to the tops if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

Makes 24.