I have been working on these cupcakes most of the year, and by working I mean thinking about them, dreaming about them, and craving them.
I’ll be honest, these cupcakes started with the frosting. I wanted a pastel tri-color swirl frosting so bad, and I just knew it would be perfect with a homemade peep nestled into it.
I was so intimidated by this frosting, you guys! It’s laughable now, but I was dreading actually making it. I’d chosen to try an Italian Meringue buttercream, which was a new and terrifying thing in and of itself (and yes, I totally ruined it. However, some lovely comments from the recipe page helped me salvage it instead of throwing it away and starting again. I’ve added that saving grace to the recipe below), but I still had to color it three different colors, find a way to swirl them together, and pipe them onto cupcakes (piping is not a skill I’ve mastered yet. They tend to end up looking messy, and I think I’ve discovered the horrible truth behind that: tiny piping tips. If your cupcakes never look quite right, buy the big tips! They make piping easy and lovely).
So, armed with three lovely colors of buttercream, I struggled to figure out how to combine them to pipe. I had bought this Wilton ColorSwirl 3-Color Coupler (mine didn’t come with the tips), but my Ateco piping tips didn’t fit it! I tried putting the different colors into individual piping bags and then into a large gallon-size bag, but that didn’t work at all. I couldn’t squeeze the bag properly.
Finally, with the help of the Hubs, I got it done. While I held a piping bag fitted with my big star tip, he held the three colored frosting bags and squeezed them into the bag I was holding. It worked perfectly. I swear, I felt like a professional looking at the finished cupcakes. Such a win. Everyone was impressed by these cupcakes, and LOVED the flavors.
The cupcakes themselves are white chocolate, a recipe which I found in an old spiral-bound cookbook and honestly didn’t know you could do. They are light, sweet, and perfect alone or cored and filled with a bit of raspberry jelly.
I hope you’ll try these cupcakes. If you do, please snap a photo and hashtag it #messycountersfp. I’d love to see what you make!
White Chocolate Easter Cupcakes with Pastel Swirl Frosting and Homemade Peeps
Makes 18 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter
4 oz white chocolate, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
For the Italian Meringue buttercream:
400g granulated sugar (appx. 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 Cup Water
8 large egg whites
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Food coloring (I used violet, sky blue, and lemon yellow)
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using beaters), cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating fully to combine after each addition. Add vanilla, then melted white chocolate and combine, scraping bowl to fully incorporate.
Add the flour mixture and milk in three additions, alternating dry and wet. Mix until just combine. Scoop into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
To make the Italian Meringue Buttercream:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to pan.
While your sugar mixture is heating, place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When your sugar reaches 230 degrees on the candy thermometer, begin to whip eggs whites at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
Once your sugar reaches 240 degrees, remove it from heat, and with the mixer running, add it to your egg whites in a thin stream and beat on high speed.
Continue to whip your meringue until no heat remains in the bowl. The bowl should feel room temperature to the touch.
With the mixer still running, add your butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes.
~This is where my buttercream went wrong. I added the butter too soon, and it went flat and liquid-y. If yours does that, don’t freak out! Add all the butter in and beat until fully incorporated. Then set the mixer bowl in the fridge until it is fully cool. Then you can beat until light and fluffy. Mine came back perfect, fluffy, and delicious.~
Beat in vanilla. If your buttercream appears curdled, keep beating until smooth.
If desired, core out the center of the cupcake and spoon in a little bit of raspberry jam.
Divide the buttercream into three bowls, and color to your liking (I kept my colors very pastel for Easter). Using the method of your choice (be it a tri-color swirl tip set-up like this
, or putting the colors into individual piping bags and squeezing them into a single bag like I did) prepare the buttercream for piping. I recommend using a star tip, and starting from the center, swirling the buttercream to the outside, and back up to make a peak in the center.
Gently press a peep onto the mound of buttercream and serve.
Buttercream recipe from How To Cake It (she makes the most amazing looking cakes!)
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