It has been a busy weekend for us around here, with a sleepover birthday party, a trip to the mall for an ear-piercing, church youth temple trip, oldest daughter returning from college, middle daughter returning from a school orchestra trip, a playdate for a little boy feeling left out of all the fun, regular Sunday church activities (plus an evening Easter devotional), followed by a child’s gall bladder removal on Monday.
If anything can help you through the wonderful chaos that is raising kids, it is these Peeps cupcakes. We served them at Little J’s 10th birthday party, but they would also make a fun Easter dessert.
The kids were excited to find a surprise inside of the cupcakes when they bit into them!
I scooped out the center of the cupcakes and Little J filled them with candy Easter eggs and m&ms. I piped a swirl of the rainbow frosting onto each cupcake and then we topped each one with a Peep. We used the Vanilla, Strawberry, and Orange Crème flavors. These Peeps are separated in their package so that you don’t have white patches (with no sugar covering) where you have to break the Peeps apart from a normal package.
To make the rainbow swirled frosting: Attach a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) to a pastry bag. Using a clean paintbrush, paint stripes of gel food coloring along the inside of the pastry bag (the stripes do not have to touch). Carefully spoon white frosting into the bag. Squeeze out and discard a little of the frosting, until you begin to see color on the edge of the frosting. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes: start on the outside of the cupcake, holding the bag straight up and down and proceed in a swirl, slightly overlapping layers, to the center of the cupcake.
Happy Birthday Little J! Here she is sporting her newly pierced ears:
This week will be a much needed recovery week for all of us. A perfect time to reflect on the gift of the Atonement that we celebrate this week. Here is an Easter video on the Savior’s gift to each of us and who we can become Because of Him:
Cooked Vanilla Frosting
1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Gel food coloring
In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk with a whisk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and let it cool completely to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy and completely uniform throughout.
FOR SWIRLED FROSTING: Attach a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) to a pastry bag. Using a clean paintbrush, paint stripes of gel food coloring along the inside of the pastry bag (the stripes do not have to touch). Carefully spoon white frosting into the bag. Squeeze out and discard a little of the frosting, until you begin to see color on the edge of the frosting. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes.
For a peaked swirl pattern: start on the outside of the cupcake, holding the bag straight up and proceed in a swirl, slightly overlapping layers, to the center of the cupcake. For a rose pattern: start in the center of the cupcake, holding the piping bag straight up and proceed in a swirl to the outside of the cupcakes (do not overlap layers).
Yield: frosting for about 24 cupcakes
Today is my baby girl’s 9th birthday. We worked together to create this fun Penguin Cake. She has a delicious cotton candy belly.
Here is the penguin without the cotton candy:
We love having Little J in our family. She is just as sweet as her penguin friend.
Happy Birthday Little J
We love you always!
Inspiration for cake from an Australian Women’s World Cookbook magazine from 1998. Cake frosted with this Buttercream Frosting (with the addition of orange extract).
We had a slightly different cake planned for Little A’s birthday party, but with the unexpected hospital stay, we went with something much simpler: a rectangular cake make into a soccer field. The frosting is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It has a few steps, and does require a double boiler (or metal bowl over a pot of water) and a stand mixer. But the result is a wonderfully light, not too sweet frosting. You start with a cooked meringue (one whole cup of egg whites for a regular sized round cake; two cups for the cake we made). This is a fairly large cake (two layer 11×15” rectangle).
I had about a cup of egg whites left from making the Vanilla Custard for the Trifle, so I used that plus some reconstituted dried egg whites (Just Whites brand-available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores). Once the meringue has cooked, it is beaten until cool and glossy, then butter is beaten in to make a stable, spreadable frosting. I think this is my new favorite frosting. It was very easy to work with once it was beaten, and it is not too sweet. Now, almost a week later, the frosting is still soft (no crust) and delicious.
I love that this frosting gets most of it’s bulk from egg whites, and not sugar (that makes it almost healthy, right?). Just ignore the 4 sticks of butter when you answer that question.
I made a raspberry filling for the cake by beating ½ cup Raspberry Jam into about 3 or 4 cups of the meringue frosting. It held up great, and did not ooze out at all when the top layer was added. This would make a great all-around frosting as well, if you are looking for a pink cake. I would just use either a seedless raspberry jam, or a lightly sweetened raspberry puree if I was going to put it on the outside of the cake. The little bits of pulp and seeds were fine for a filling, but I would prefer a uniform color for an outside-of-the-cake frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites, or use “Just Whites” egg white powder, reconstituted, or refrigerated egg whites)
1 ½ cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature**
2 tsp vanilla extract (or use small amounts of other flavored extracts)
Gel food coloring (for colored frosting)
In the top of a double boiler, stir together egg whites, sugar and salt. Bring water in bottom of double boiler to a low simmer; cook until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160°F and sugar is completely dissolved (rub mixture between fingertips-it should not feel gritty). Mixture will be foamy and not a uniform consistency.
Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip until meringue is completely cooled and glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. DO NOT ADD BUTTER UNTIL BOTH THE BOWL AND FROSTING ARE COMPLETELY COOL. Switch mixer attachment from the whisk to paddles. Add butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Mixture may appear curdled at times. Continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and frosting is fluffy and smooth. This will take about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat smooth. Add gel food coloring and beat until color is uniform.
**BUTTER NOTE: butter should be room temperature soft, but not at the point of melting. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate well into the meringue, and you will have butter chunks. If the butter is over-soft, it will cause the frosting to curdle while beating-this is okay, it isn’t ruined: it will just take longer (more beating) for the frosting to become smooth.
Storage: Store frosted cake at room temperature. To store leftover icing: store in a covered container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, bring to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy.
Yield: frosting for a two-layer round cake. For the cake above which is a double layer 11×15” rectangle, double the recipe.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling
2 cups prepared Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
¼ cup raspberry jam or lightly sweetened raspberry puree
Beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread between cake layers.
To frost the entire cake with raspberry buttercream, use about 1 cup lightly sweetened raspberry puree or seedless jam (for a uniform pink color with no seeds or pulp pieces) with entire batch of icing above.
Makes enough filling for a 2-layer round cake.