Easter is coming! And I am excited! I'm up to my ears in Easter eggs and these Speckled Egg Cupcakes are the first Sweetest Menu Easter creation for 2016. I have so many exciting Easter treat ideas but this is the first one to tick off my list.
Buttery vanilla cupcakes topped with creamy vanilla buttercream in gorgeous speckled egg colours topped with speckled Easter eggs. Aren’t they pretty? They will be a wonderful addition to your Easter celebrations and they are a great one to make with the kids. They look festive and taste absolutely delicious!
It has been a cake-filled week here in the Sweetest Menu kitchen. It was my dad's 60th birthday a few days ago and I asked him what cake he would like. Just a sponge cake please, was the request. Ah, the good old sponge cake. So light and fluffy, filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. It's one of our family's favourite desserts.
The only problem was I had never made one! So off to the kitchen, I was baking cakes all week. Some turned out a little too spongy, others a little hard and then, the perfect sponge. Soft, springy and absolutely delicious. PHEW!
I love to share desserts with other people but for some reason whenever I have to make something for something (other than my blog or to satisfy my own sweet-tooth) I really feel the pressure. In my head, I always have the perfect vision of a perfect cake and in reality, it can be pretty hard to make a cake look perfect.
There's always a few crumbs here or there but that is what home cooking is all about right? Rustic, imperfect but made with a lot of love. And there is nothing like the joy of giving or receiving a homemade baked treat.
So just when I thought I was all caked out, I decided to get back in the kitchen to make these cupcakes this weekend. First there's the buttery and light vanilla cake. Then an easy buttercream that is tinted with a little teal gel food colour.
To get the speckled spots, you just use a little paste made from cocoa powder and then flick it on using a pastry brush or even a clean paint brush. I got this technique from The Cake Blog where they made a Speckled Egg layer cake masterpiece. Finally, there's a few speckled Easter eggs to pop on top. Gorgeous!
Speckled Egg Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
175 grams (1 and 1/4 cups) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar
115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
120 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
35 grams (1/4 cup) funfetti pieces
115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
435 grams (3 and 1/2 cups) powdered or icing sugar
3 tablespoons milk
Teal food gel paste
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon water
Speckled Easter eggs, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C (360 F). Line a 12 hole muffin tin with patty cases. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and then add the sugar - give it a stir. Pop the butter into the microwave for a short burst, 10 seconds or so at a time, until it is JUST melted. Give it a stir with a fork to eliminate any lumps. In a separate mixing bowl, add the eggs, vanilla and butter and whisk together until smooth. Then add the wet mixture into the dry mixture, along with the buttermilk and gently fold until just combined. Try not to over mix so your cupcakes stay light and fluffy!
Spoon the mixture into the prepared patty cases and pop into the oven. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until just cooked through. Set cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Check them regularly as over baking may make the cupcakes dry.
To make the teal frosting, add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla. Gently sift in the icing sugar, one cup at a time. Add a tablespoon or two of milk to help loosen up the mixture. I added about 3 tablespoons of milk in total. Then add your food colouring until you reach your desired colour. Frost your cupcakes using a small spatula.
To make the speckles, add the cocoa powder and water and stir together to form a paste. Dip a pastry brush in and gently squeeze out the excess, then flick the bristles over the cupcakes to get a few dots. Top each cupcake with a couple of speckled Easter eggs.