Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal Cupcakes for my Prince and Princess

I'm sure you've seen way too much about the royal wedding already (but all my efforts to post these on Friday came to naught!) I DVR'd the event at my mom's and haven't been over to watch it yet, though I've loved seeing all the dress and crazy hat pictures. I've had to laugh at the copious facebook statuses exclaiming total excitement or annoyance at the whole thing, but I couldn't let the weekend go by without making a treat in honor of the wedding (it has something to do with my kids' super 'top secret' names, since, well, I don't actually call my own little princess Baby Strawberry around the house, though my little man does answer to that). 

In 2008 my family took a trip to Greece to pick my brother up from his mission, and we stopped in London on the way home for about 8 hours overnight. Our parents stayed in their hotel like sane people and my brother and I work up at 3 to take the tube (that's what they call it, right? I always want to say metro, but I'm a frenchie at heart!) downtown and see what we could see in three or four hours.

 
When we walked up the stairs from the 'metro' we were right next door to Big Ben, it was so fun! It was still totally dark but we wandered across the bridge and back, through the park, over to Buckingham Palace, through what must have been the business district, judging from all the people heading to work, and eventually back to Big Ben and to the airport. We made it barely on time and were totally exhausted but it was wonderful to have been there, if only for a couple hours! Now I want to go again and see all the places from my favorite British historical fiction books.

 
As for the cupcakes themselves, little additions really put them over the top. Adding vanilla bean to the batter, filling them with pastry cream or pudding after they cool (I fill a pastry bag and use Ateco tip #230, but any substantial round frosting tip could work), and frosting them extra high- with homemade frosting of course- are some of my favorite tricks. Of course the king of the castle over here doesn't like frosting, so I usually help him with his and he graciously finishes off my cake. We're good like that.

I've posted about making candy melt decorations for cupcakes before and will have a nice explanatory post up in a week or so with some college graduation cupcakes I made last year with ASU's logo. The short of it is, I print out the design or monogram I'm looking for, cover the sheet with wax paper, and trace using a parchment bag (or clipped baggie) filled with melted candy melts (you can buy a huge assortment of colors at Michael's or Joann's). Then I freeze the sheet and after a few minutes, you can pop the design right off the paper and stick on top of the cupcake. I really wanted to come up with a sapphire blue to match Kate's ring but the best I had was a pretty light blue my friend loaned me (plus some food coloring). I had to thin the candy with Crisco and it was still a little clumpy due to the coloring. All would have been well, though, had I remembered the piping tip- somehow I ended up with half of my supplies and half at my mom's (who was also out of wax paper). So my grand plans for individually labeled Kate and Will cupcakes didn't pan out, but my own little royalty loved them just the same. You can see a picture of the process here if you are interested.

Update- I just found the prettiest Will and Kate printables and hope to find a good use for them soon, check them out here!

Royal Cupcakes for Will and Kate
from Anne Strawberry

{printable recipe here}

1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 box betty crocker french vanilla cake mix

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place atop a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until well combined. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop into muffin tins.

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.


Anne Strawberry's Favorite Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
1 package of cream cheese, softened (I like to use Neufchatel, less fat and I don't notice much difference)

2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend.

Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.

Variation:
Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting

For the filling:
Anne Strawberry's Slightly Lightened Pastry Cream
After the cupcakes have cooled, fit a pastry bag with a long, medium tip. Fill with cooled pastry cream and squeeze one or two tablespoons into the center of each cupcake, filling until the top of the cupcake starts to bulge slightly. Frost and decorate the cupcakes and serve.

P.S. Sorry about the world's longest post, but did you spot my favorite car ever in the pictures? So many beautiful things in Europe! Come back tomorrow for TWD- Chocolate Peppermint Pound Cake!

3 comments:

Chelsea said...

So cute! I love all the photos!

LaNell said...

Could your royal family be any cuter! Love the photo of the red stand on the white dresser. I really want to go back to London, Paris and Athens. I wonder how much time is really enough...

Karalee and Anthony said...

Love it! And I'm so glad you posted the frosting recipe. Anthony and I were both like, MAN! THIS IS GOOD FROSTING!! Seriously. :)