Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peppermint Candy Cane Cupcakes

Every Christmas time I always have to make at least one thing with crushed candy canes. If I don't, then I at least add them to heavy cream to top hot chocolate. It just isn't Christmas for me without it. Lately, I get all my cupcake ideas from Trophy Cupcakes Facebook feed. When I saw they were making candy cane cupcakes I knew I had to have one. The problem: Trophy Cupcakes is in Seattle. I decided I would search out my own. A candy cane cupcake search produced a lot of cupcakes with boxed cake mix. Not exactly what I was going for. Luckily I thought to search Peppermint Cupcakes and came up with this great recipe that I was able to adapt for candy canes. I was able to create exactly what I was looking for, the cake is subtly flavored (more vanilla), and the frosting packs a nice peppermint punch.
I already had the box of Christmas decorations on the dining room table. I pulled out the lights and turned them on to take these photos. I heard a little crunching noise until the table, I figured our pup had scavenged up some broken bits of candy cane on the floor. Turns out he was chomping away at our Christmas lights under there! Looks like I need to add new lights to the shopping list...

Candy Cane Cupcakes

adapted from Oprah.com and Sprinkles Bakery
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup whole milk , room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp.candy cane dust*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg whites , room temperature

Vanilla-Peppermint Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm but not cold1/8 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar , sifted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 tsp. milk
crushed candy canes for decorating

*For crushed candy canes and dust: Place an entire box of candy canes in a food processor, pulse in short bursts until desired consistency for decorating Cupcakes tops. Place crushed candy canes in a fine mesh sieve and sift out dust by gently tapping edge of sieve over bowl.

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, vanilla extract, and candy cane powder; 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; mix until just blended. Add the milk; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. 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.

To make frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the extracts and milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Do not over mix or the frosting will incorporate too much air; it should be creamy and dense, like ice cream. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if frosting does not have a spreadable consistency.

To frost: Scoop a generous amount of frosting on top of a cooled cupcake. Hold the cupcake in one hand and with the other hand use a small offset spatula to smooth the frosting over the entire top of the cupcake.
Be careful to handle the cupcake with care and not grip it too tightly, which can crush the delicate cake.

Top with crushed candy canes!

1 comment:

  1. I love these festive cupcakes! I too, have to use crushed candy canes every season (I put them on chocolate biscotti cookies this year). Just like your pup did, when my son was a baby he chewed up and ate several tiny lights off the tree and I called the pediatrician in an absolute panic. Surprisingly it's not a big deal! He's twenty now and no longer eats the lightbulbs off the Christmas tree, but he still really likes candy canes and will love these cupcakes. Thanks!

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