Friday, 16 March 2012

Easter Cupcakes
So Easter in Australia is a funny thing - a bit like Christmas here is a funny thing too.  While the rest of the world is revelling in the fact that Spring is either sprung or about to, we're moving into Autumn.  Somehow the chicks, rabbits, and blossomy type flowers look a bit odd when the leaves are turning brown and falling off the trees!  But, there are some conventions I'm happy to continue...however odd they look.  I'm planning to post a few Easter recipes over the next week or so and here is the first - a cupcake, to ease myself in gently. 
I think I can safely say that these meet all of my criteria for an appropriate seasonal offering: there's chocolate in a couple of forms, there are the obligatory spring flowers, and that grass is the required luminous green!  I chose to pipe the grass with a simple buttercream frosting - because I'm a cake-geek and I have a grass piping tip - but you could just as easily colour a bit of shredded coconut green and get the same effect.  There are instructions for colouring coconut in the Sesame Street cupcake recipe which can be found here.

And so to the recipe:  it uses a 2 egg mix (from the cake mix matrix which can be found here) but I've made the chocolate version, so swap 30g /1oz of cocoa for the same amount of flour.  Bake the cupcakes at 170 C / 350 F  for about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.  Allow them to cool for 5 minutes in their tins, then cool completely on a rack.

Icing - this is enough to ice the cakes as in the photo, you will only need about a third of this amount if you plan to use coloured coconut.
100g / 4oz unsalted butter softened
250g / 2 cups icing or confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Green colouring (I prefer to use the concentrated gels so that the icing doesn't become too soft)
  1. With the mixer on slow, beat the butter and sugar together until they are well combined.  Then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy.  
  2. Now, start adding the colouring a drop at a time and allow the mixer to thoroughly combine it before you add more.  When you have a shade of grassy green that pleases you, add the vanilla and beat briefly.
  3. Spread a small amount - about a teaspoonful - over the top of each cupcake and smooth it with a palette knife, this will provide something for either the piping or the coconut to stick to.
  4. If you're piping the grass, place the rest of the icing in a bag fitted with suitable tip (I'm afraid I can't remember the number of it) and start in the middle and work outwards in circles.  This way you won't crowd yourself and bend your beautiful blades of grass over!
Royal icing or fondant flowers
12 Sugar coated chocolate mini eggs
  1. Luckily, I had a million little spring flowers already made from scraps of fondant I used a few weeks ago so I used those but you could just as easily use pre-made royal icing flowers that are available from every supermarket (or cake decorating shop).
  2. Finally, take a mini egg and push it gently but proudly into the centre of each cupcake...and congratulate yourself on producing a masterpiece!

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