With my whole family together for Easter dinner this weekend I wanted to make spring themed cupcakes for dessert. After taking a poll of what flavor everyone wanted - ignoring my brother's requests for bacon cakes - I decided that plain vanilla cupcakes with some sort of filling would please the most people.
Vanilla cake is generally a crowd pleaser and I am always searching for a recipe that will produce a , moist, flavorful cupcake. In the past dry, sad little cakes have hurt my feelings and found themselves in my kitchen garbage instead of at dinner parties.
I chose the vanilla cupcakes from the Food Network's site because in addition to the two eggs it calls for it also requires two yolks which add to the moistness of the cake. The yolks really do help because the cupcakes tasted great.
I didn't have vanilla extract on hand, but I did have a vanilla bean which I scraped into the milk. Vanilla beans are costly and I don't think its necessary to use them in this recipe, I just didn't feel like running to the store for some extract.
Those cupcakes had better be grateful because I had big plans to infuse a bottle of rum with that very vanilla bean.
I baked the cupcakes for around 20 minutes while keeping a close eye on the oven. Recently, I moved to a new apartment where my oven runs 50 degrees too hot and is significantly cooler in the front than the back. In order to end up with evenly baked cupcakes I used an oven thermometer and rotated the pans during their baking time. My baked-good babysitting paid off and no cupcakes were over or under done. Sweet sweet success (literally).
I filled half the cupcakes using the cone method with lemon curd. I love love love lemon curd, so good in between layer of cakes, or in pies, or from the bowl cooling in the fridge. In the past I've always shelled out for a bunch of lemons and unsalted butter and ended up with too much lemon curd. This time I was smart, this time I used a recipe that only made a cup and a bit so the lemon curd wasn't wasted.
I put a lot in each cupcake but I might hold back a bit next time because it was quite the explosion of lemon curd with the first bite. Napkins were required and eyes were averted from others dealing with their lemony situation.
For decoration ideas I turned to my to-do list book where I had doodled some cupcakes with little bunny ears and feet sticking out them them. I decided to skip the feet and just make some bunny ears and tails with sugar paste to stick on the cupcakes with lemon curd in them.
Instead of tinting the sugar paste pink for the inside of the ears I just poured out some pink lustre dust..
And painted the inside of the bunny ears with a clean wet brush. It saved me the time it would take to tint, roll, cut, and insert the pink inside. Plus, lustre dust adds some sparkle so it was basically a win-win situation.
I also wanted to use these mini-eggs that are smaller than the regular mini eggs. The reason is obvious: miniature things are cute, mini versions of miniature things are thus even cuter.
With the ears and tails done and a batch of cream cheese icing whipped together the only thing left to do was decorate.
Little bunny hiding under the icing! The lemon filled cupcakes got bunny ears, tails, and mini-mini-eggs.
The un-filled cupcakes got a topping of pink cream cheese icing and some sprinkles. Cream cheese icing is the tastiest of all the icings, but sadly it is also the most unstable. I don't know why I waste my time piping it when it always looks better just piled on top.
Ta-da! Easter cupcakes with lemon curd filling or plain vanilla.