I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. My gift to you...candy cane cupcakes! Enjoy!
Candy Cane Cupcakes
The Best Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Makes about 4 dozen cupcakes
-3 1/2 c flour
-2 c cocoa powder
-1 tbsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 1/3 c granulated sugar
-1 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
-4 eggs, at room temperature
-4 tsp vanilla extract
-2 c buttermilk, at room temperature
-1 1/4 c sour cream, at room temperature
Set out the butter, buttermilk, eggs, and sour cream beforehand, so they come to room temperature before beginning. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In an upright mixer (with the paddle attachment, if possible) cream the butter and sugars on high for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla to the wet mixture and combine. In another medium-sized bowl combine the buttermilk and sour cream. Set the mixer to low speed and alternate adding 1/3 of the buttermilk and flour mixtures, starting with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and mix batter a little more by hand to make sure that the butter mixture is well-incorporated. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Peppermint Meringue Frosting
Thank you, Sister, for the recipe
Enough for about 2 dozen cupcakes, double if using above recipe
-4 egg whites
-1 c granulated sugar
-1/2 c powdered sugar
-1/4 c water
-2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
-1/2 t clear vanilla extract
-1/2 t peppermint extract
-red food coloring gel
-white sanding sugar for final decoration
Start by putting egg whites in an upright mixer (with beater attachment). Beat the eggs on medium or high speed until they have stiff peaks. This may take a few minutes. In the mean time, put granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat sugar to 245 degrees, stirring constantly. Set eggs in mixer to medium speed and slowly add the hot sugar mixture. This will cook the eggs while keeping the frosting nice and fluffy. Continue to mix frosting until the mixing bowl is no longer warm to the touch (this may take 5 or 10 minutes). Once cool, add the butter, about 1/2 tbsp at a time, to the mixer on medium speed. Allow each piece of butter to disappear before adding the next. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Continue to mix while adding the powdered sugar to the frosting. Be sure that the frosting is a good consistency at this point. If it's too watery to pipe, add more powdered sugar or butter.
Once the frosting is ready, prepare a large pastry piping bag (ours is 18") with a large tip (round or star; we used a star tip). Get a toothpick and use it to put 2 lines of red food coloring gel from the tip of the bag to the opening. Carefully fill the bag with the frosting. Start piping the frosting onto a plate until the red is visible. Then frost your cupcakes in a swirl, starting at the outside and working your way in. Sprinkle the cupcakes with white sanding sugar for a sparkly finish.