Springtime Cupcakes + Cookbook Challenge Link Up

I learned something really important over the four day weekend.

Four day weekends rule!

I feel like I accomplished so much this weekend...a desk detox, wardrobe detox and reorg, lots of family time, some friend time, some gym time...and I feelrefreshed today and ready for the week. Can every weekend be 4 days?!

 

So for Easter Sunday, I went with an old standard for dessert...cupcakes! My original plan was to make a cake, however, for any party, I always love bringing desserts that are easily distributed. No cutting involved, just grab a cupcake and go. Not to mention that I could make a whole bunch and bring some to Shaun's parents and some to my aunt's house. It's really a win all around.

 

I didn't get crazy with flavors here. I went with a classic chocolate cake and my newly perfected vanilla buttercream. I decided to try out a recipe from my Southern Living Cookbook (thanks Aunt Chet!)...and kill two birds with one stone since this also fulfills part of my Cookbook Challenge!

 

The cake was incredibly easy to make and came together in a snap. I really liked these cupcakes. For me, the could have been a little more chocolatey (perhaps a little espresso powder in them next time?), but overall, they were moist with a little crumbliness and they set up with a little chewy crust on top. I liked that part :) Lastly, I simply dyed some buttercream with Wilton Violet food coloring and topped them with springy non-pareils.

Springtime Cupcakes

Yields 3 dozen cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
*Adapted from Southern Living's Basic Chocolate Cake
1/2 C shortening
2 C sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped & melted
2 1/4 C cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 C buttermilk
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

for the vanilla buttercream:
*Adapted from my Giants Superbowl cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
4 C confectioners sugar
3 - 4 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 - 4 toothpicks of Wilton violet food coloring gel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening unil fluffy, gradually adding the sugar. Beat well and add the eggs one at a time, until completely combined. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Cool for a few seconds and add to the egg mixture, mixing well.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk but ending with the flour. Mix on low until all are completely combined. Mix in the water on low and then stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins. I used a medium cookie scoop for the perfect amount (Note: not a heaping scoop...just a plain old scoop will be plenty). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Once cooled, make the frosting.

Beat the butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, one cup at a time until combined and fluffy, adding milk as necessary to thin it out. Mixer should be on medium-high speed. Mix in vanilla. Add food coloring to your desired color and beat until gorgeously purple. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

Eat many, immediately.

 

So that was my big baking item this weekend. Pretty, no? I was really happy with how these turned out, though, as usual, my frosting skills could really use a little sharpening :)

Questions of the Day:

What did you eat/make over the holiday weekend?

What's your favorite kind of cupcake? My favorite combination is always chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream!