Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Wonderland Cupcakes

So this weekend my nephew turned 5! Where has the time gone!?!

It's one of my favorite things to make a pretty exciting cupcake creation for the birthdays of my niece and nephew. I don't usually do fancy things, but my niece and nephew are worth some sprinkles and fondant frustration anytime!

My nephew requested vanilla cupcakes, so that's what he got, plain and simple. I made 36 cupcakes and then squished them all onto a 16 inch cake round that I had. They BARELY fit, it was a close one. 

After that I frosted them with a buttery cream cheese frosting. To do this I went around the edge with my piping bag and then squeezed the rest of the frosting over the middle. Then I took my spatula and spread it all out. The beauty of making a winter wonderland is that it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth! (I was a little short on frosting, I was worried but it ended up working out just fine!

I then used some white sugar sprinkles and COVERED the frosting (I'm serious here, I COVERED the top of that cake). My nephew got the special birthday honor of helping me put the trees on. He did a great job! He did keep putting them into lines, but we had plenty of trees and I would just fill in around his to make it look more natural. Then we placed a snowmobile toy (his grandparents own several snowmobiles and mountain property where we ride them, my nephew loves his snowmobile!) and the masterpiece was complete! It's always really fun to push the boundaries of my decorating skills and see what I can come up with. This one is my favorite so far.

Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 24
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans.

In a large bowl whip together the room temperature butter with the sugar until they get nice and fluffy, it's best if you let it beat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the 2 eggs, one at a time and beat for another minute. The mixture should be a light yellow color. While the eggs are mixing in, add the vanilla and the salt.

Next, measure out your baking soda, baking powder and flour in a medium bowl.  Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.  Add half of the sour cream.  Follow that with another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining sour cream and the last of the flour, beating well after each addition.

Scrape the bowl, give the batter one last power mix to get everything well incorporated (about 10 seconds on medium-high).

Scoop into the cupcake pans using a 2 oz ice cream scoop, or filling about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.

Buttery Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 8 oz block cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
3-4 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl combine the butter and the cream cheese with a mixer until it gets a little fluffy, this will take about 3-4 minutes.

While the cream cheese and butter are mixing add in the vanilla and heavy cream (make sure to turn your mixer on to low!).

Now slowly add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, keeping the mixer on low to let it mix in.  Once you have the right sweetness, scrape the sides and mix on medium for about 20 seconds to make sure everything is smooth.  Don't be afraid of over-beating this.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe or frost the frosting onto the cupcakes.



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