Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Well another Alpha Gam Alumni function inspired me to make these "snow" cupcakes. This was my first year attending our annual Holiday Brunch and it was lots of fun. I love Christmas like most people but my idea of Christmas is not traditional. Snow people, snowflakes, gingerbread people and houses, and penguins are more my speed. Something about blue, white, and silver is just elegant in my opinion of course. In my search for blue Christmas cupcakes I found this Bakerella picture for inspiration.

I was considering baking Gingerbread Cupcakes but I was concerned that not everyone is a fan of gingerbread so I chose cinnamon instead. Back in my pumpkin phase I found a recipe on the Pink Parsley blog for Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Icing that I did not get around to making. I began by baking these cupcakes with Mary Engelbreit  snowmen cupcake liners. Oh and I doubled the recipe so I could spread more Christmas cheer. The recipe says to add buttermilk to melted butter. I let the butter cool a bit but was still concerned about combining the two ingredients. As suspected I ended up with a lumpy mess. Luckily my mom was helping and she reassured me that the heat of the mixer would dissolve the lumps. Not sure about that theory but the lumps eventually disappeared. I must say the cupcakes were perfect - great cinnamon flavor and moist!

Next it was time to make icing. Of course I made Wilton Buttercream thin icing which I used to frost about half of the cupcakes. I had some light blue almost teal in the freezer and added a few drops of blue to get that blue Christmas color I love for the rest of the cupcakes. Also, in the fridge was some purple and again I added a couple drops of blue to make it darker. Don't judge me for reusing icing people! There is nothing wrong with it.

For the snowmen I piped three white "dots" with a round tip. Of course the dots get bigger in size like real snowmen. Next I used a knife to gently touch the icing and quickly pull up to create an uneven fluffy snow look. Hope you followed that explanation! Haha. I mean HoHoHo. Then with the dark blue I piped a scarf and hat. No snowmen is the same so each hat is slightly different on purpose. With black sparkle gel I added buttons, eyes, and a smile. Well I tried to make it a smile at least. Orange sparkle gel made a cute carrot nose! I added a few sugar pearls around the snowmen to look like falling snow. Brrrrrrrr!!!

My plan was to decorate some with raw sugar. This was my first time to purchase raw sugar and I chose the wrong kind!!! For future reference "sugar in the raw" is BROWN not WHITE. One of my friends said I should have just went with the brown to make it look more realistic. Sorry but I wanted fresh, clean fallen snow not dirty brown snow! My mom tried to dust some with regular sugar and it made the blue cupcakes sparkle a little. We sprinkled some with sugar pearls to add glamour. Lol.

Snowflakes are a little complicated at least for me anyway. I piped dark blue on white cupcakes and white icing on the blue cupcakes with a small round tip. Everyone said they looked great but the perfectionist in me expected better. Oh well.

All my Alpha Gam sisters seemed impressed with my skills. One sister asked "who made the cupcakes?" and the other replied "Jen, she is our chef." I was informed that it is now expected for me to bring cupcakes to our events.  Love it!

Here is what I decorated with:
- black sparkle gel
- orange sparkle gel
- white sugar pearls (you can use nonpareils too)
- white icing
- blue Christmas icing
- dark blue icing

Cinnamon Cupcakes
adapted from
Annie's Eats, originally from A Southern Grace
makes 12

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest (optional)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with liners, and spray with cooking spray.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Melt the butter and combine with buttermilk. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and eggs until a thick batter forms, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and orange zest, and mix until combined. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined, and then do the same with the butter and milk mixture.

Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, and bake 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely before icing

Happy Holidays!!!

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