I had such high hopes for the birthday cupcakes.
Let’s just say they didn’t quite meet the vision in my head or my perfectionist standards (but really, the five-year olds could’ve cared less).
But this blog isn’t called Misadventures in Cooking for nothing. (Though I admit that nowadays my successes far outweigh my semi-failures.) We gotta have a little mess up here and there to keep it interesting. I just wish it hadn’t happened at his birthday party…
My son was very, very adamant that he wanted mint chocolate chip cupcakes (just like the ice cream). This fell in perfectly with my plan to have the cupcakes be an obnoxious Grinchy green color. I discovered a small problem, though, when I went to search for a mint chocolate chip recipe – everything I could find was a chocolate cupcake with mint pieces. He wanted a mint cupcake with chocolate chips. In his mind (and mine) not the same thing.
I finally somewhat lucked out when I found this recipe on (of all places) Oprah.com.
Vanilla-Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes on Oprah.com
3 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t coarse salt
1 c whole milk, room temperature
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 t peppermint extract
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk and extracts; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.
(Originally I used this frosting, from before, but – and I’ll explain in a minute – I had to move to the new frosting recipe below.)
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting, adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes and found on food.com
1 c butter, softened
3 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar
1 t milk
1 t peppermint extract
1/8 t salt
In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
Provides frosting for a dozen cupcakes.
Oh, I was so excited to make these. I knew exactly what they were going to look like when I was done – and it was going to be fabulous. I started out coloring the batter the exactly perfect Grinchy green.
Unfortunately, as they baked, the color faded to a barely there lime green.
I learned quickly, though, that red frosting is a very, very hard color to make. I also learned that my frosting recipe from before (that held up nicely and made gorgeous rose shapes) wasn’t going to be my friend for this task. Let’s just say it didn’t set at all on my cupcakes – which were completely cooled, I might add.
Ummm, not the color or shape I was looking for. It was getting late, so I just decided to live with it, and add the white frosting – hoping it would make it look better. It was then that I realized that I had not saved nearly enough white frosting, so I went with the top dot of white. (And then I had to put them in the fridge to set the frosting completely, so it didn’t continue to run off the sides like it really wanted to.)
Now, I really didn’t think they looked too bad, until the next morning, when I saw them all lined up in the box. To be completely honest, they looked like rows of little nipple cupcakes. Yikes! Not appropriate for the party.
So, the morning of the party, I looked up another buttercream frosting recipe and got down to work. I had very little powdered sugar and even less red food coloring left, so a lighter pink prevailed. And this recipe held up SO much better than the first.
The cupcakes did look more like Santa Hats (at least the ones I could fix with the limited frosting I had).
Here was the whole display:
I know they weren’t the most perfect cupcakes in the world, but as Hubs pointed out they looked exactly right for Who-cupcakes (a little odd, a little crazy, bright and colorful). That made me feel much better.
The party itself was wonderful. The kids enjoyed un-decorating the Grinch Tree.
Pinning the antler on Max was a hit, too.
I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of the Who-punch with the gummy worm ice, but it was quite tasty, too. If you ever need a good punch recipe, I highly recommend this one from Miss Paula Deen.
And I think the kiddos enjoyed the cupcakes – I know the birthday boy did. I was sad they got a little dried out from being in the fridge, but the overall flavor was very exceptional. Light and minty with a rich chocolate chip crunch. They tasted just like the ice cream.
My boy had a great time, and honestly, that’s all that mattered to me.
(And now, I think I need a long rest. Three parties in four weeks is a lot.)