Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas candy cane cupcakes

I love the holidays.  After all, more parties means more reasons to bake.  For example, this past weekend I baked some candy cane cupcakes to take to a party. They were pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.  Want to make your own?  Well, luckily for you, that's the whole point of this blogging thing.  Read on for details...

For the cupcake itself, I kept it simple.  I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe (it may be familiar to you).  However, in keeping with the candy cane theme, I decided to take my inspiration from Bake It In a Cake and stuck a Candy Cane Kiss inside before baking.

All you need to do is fill the cupcake liner with batter, plop a Kiss in there, and then cover the Kiss with batter.

You want the liner to be about two-thirds to three-quarters full when you're done. Much more than that, and they'll be a little too big.  I'd also recommend that you put most of the batter in the cup before you add the Kiss - it has a tendency to sink towards the bottom.

While those were baking and cooling, I whipped up the icing.  I decided to make two types to add some variety.

First, I made a peppermint buttercream, topped off with crushed candy canes.  (I attempted to do two colors and swirl it... as you can see, the results were... not that great.)

Then, I made a cheater's chocolate candy cane frosting.  Instead of making buttercream from scratch, I doctored a can of prepared dark chocolate frosting.  (I ran out of powdered sugar, so I had to improvise.  Forgive me!)

I decorated these in three different ways - with crushed candy canes, with a Candy Cane Kiss, and with red and green M&Ms.  I think it made for a pretty fun assortment.

Here's a shot of the finished product...

Finally, the recipes - each makes enough to frost approximately 12 cupcakes:

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 lb. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. peppermint extract
24 drops red food coloring (optional)

Combine butter, powdered sugar, milk and extracts in mixer.  Once combined, increase speed and whip on medium speed until creamy.  For two colors of frosting, divide in half.  Set aside one half, and stir food coloring into remaining half

Cheater's Chocolate Candy Cane Frosting

1 container prepared dark chocolate frosting
1 tsp. peppermint extract
Crushed candy canes

Beat frosting in mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add peppermint extract and candy canes.  Mix at low speed until full incorporated.


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