Whether you celebrated Easter or Passover or simply the arrival of a disconcertingly large rabbit last week, chances are you noticed some sort of seasonal cuisine. This season brings with it such tasty morsels as pizza rustica, hot cross buns, and anything matzo. My tastes, I'll admit, are a little less refined.
Unless we're talking refined sugar. Then we're getting somewhere.
This colorful cake above is only the beginning of the Easter baking fun the Little Chips and I had last weekend. Follow the jump for more adventures in cupcakery!
Ever since my boyfriend--a baking enabler if there ever was one--got me a set of piping tips and pastry bags for Christmas (along with a cake lifter and turntable! What a keeper), I have been dying to experiment with different icing techniques. And when Middle Chip ordered a Wilton cake decorating workbook from Amazon last week, well, the opportunity just seemed too good to be true.
The first thing we decided to do was create a set of rainbow-colored cakes in addition to the plain yellow cakes. I used the technique Nicole describes for her Mardi Gras cupcakes here, separating some of the batter and using food coloring to dye it springtime colors.*
(*Disclaimer: Since we were experimenting with different frosting and decorating techniques, we used a boxed mix for the cupcakes and canned icing. I definitely want to try from-scratch icing really soon [especially this Oreo cream cheese frosting!] but I was nervous about having too many variables in one project. Plus, our family is super picky...if they decided they didn't like my from-scratch cupcakes, I'd have two dozen cupcakes to consume all on my own. Not ideal for the waistline, y'know?)
|Why yes, this is one of my baby food spoons from several decades ago. No, we do not ever throw anything out in my house. Thanks for noticing.|
|Action shot! Dyeing the blue batter.|
The important thing to remember about this technique is not to try to spread the batter evenly, layer on top of layer. As you can see in the picture below, the blue icing sits on top of the pink but doesn't cover it completely--that's okay. The colors will bake in clearly defined stripes if you leave them this way, but trying to spread them out will create a not-so-pretty mush of colored batter.
|The layers of colored batter, dropped in their cupcake wrapper and ready to bake.|
After baking the cupcakes according to the instructions on the box, they came out like this:
|Our renegade rainbow cupcakes amongst their plainer siblings.|
|I love that you can see the hints of pink peeping through!|
The next part of our project? Piping icing as a filling for our cupcakes! Most of my favorite cupcakeries use a frosting core, and it's always my favorite part. Now, I don't have a cupcake corer or any special tool to remove the centers, so I just used a really skinny sharp knife and cut a small cylinder out of the center--it worked just fine.
|Cored and ready for filling.|
|Piping the center...guess I should have gotten a manicure?|
|Piped full of delicious vanilla frosting!|
Our final step? Making the cupcakes Easter-themed! We created bunnies, complete with marshmallow ears and M&M facial features, Easter baskets with Twizzler handles and jelly bean eggs, and Easter eggs with M&M and piping gel decorations.
|Oh so festive.|
|Cross-section of a rainbow cupcake. Cool colors never looked so appetizing!|
|A casualty of the evening...filled cupcake, mid-consumption!|
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, whatever you happened to be celebrating. And hopefully I'll be back again soon to tell you my Oreo frosting success story! :)
P.S. Credit for all of these awesome photos again goes to Middle Chip and Baby Chip...I can only hope to someday use the macro setting with such aplomb.
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