In honor of Earth Day this week, I couldn't pass up making these adorable Earth Day Cupcakes. You can adapt your favorite from-scratch white cake recipe or even use a boxed mix. You'll need a generous amount of blue and green food coloring to get the right effect, so check your supply before you start. They are awfully cute and perfectly tasty without frosting, but I thought a little puffy cumulus frosting cloud was the perfect touch. Pipe little puffs on top, just enough that you can still see the great coloring underneath.
Earth Day Cupcakes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 large egg whites 3/4 cup milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract blue and green food coloring cupcake liners
Directions Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture. Divide batter into two mixing bowls, about 2/3 in one and 1/3 in the other. Stir in approximately 50-75 drops of blue food coloring into the bowl with more batter, or until you reach the desired color. Stir approximately 30-45 drops of green food coloring into the bowl with less batter, or until you reach the desired color.
Add two tablespoons of blue batter into each cupcake liner, followed by a generous tablespoon of green batter, offset to the side (to create the look of land and sea. Add more green or blue to create desired look, or until liner is 2/3 full. Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and cool before frosting.
Cloud Frosting (aka Perfect Frosting)5 tablespoons flour 1 cup whole milk 1 cup butter (room temperature) 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon almond extract Directions Mix flour and milk together in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until a thick paste forms. Cool mixture completely (you can use the fridge or freezer to speed it up). Cream butter at high speed until it is light and creamy. Add the sugar and blend until fluffy. Take a generous scoop of the sugar/butter mixture and add it to the cooled flour/milk mixture and blend it well. Add all of the flour/milk mixture to the sugar/butter mixture and beat until fluffy and light. Finally, add almond extract and mix well.