Friday, February 12, 2010

Make Way for the King!

I'm feeling a little burnt out on the Vday and Chinese New Year press.
Let's spice things up a bit and indulge in some green, gold, and purple for Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday.
I have a confession to make: I think I may be a bit of a dessert snob.
This is a recent realization; an even more recent admission. I'm accepting of any and all tastes, just they don't always apply to me. I've trimmed meat from my diet in the last few years, but I've certainly had it before and appreciate its deliciousness. Same with most fats- admittedly trimmed too much sometimes, but ooo I know the divinity in a triple cream brie or a chunk of crusty bread generously dunked in olive oil.

For dessert, this girl's sweet tooth has less willpower to discriminate; moderation certainly, but not much would (could) be turn down. But with the exception of homey comforts (apple pie, fruit crisps, iced chocolate cake), the favor goes to more sophisticated and snotty desserts. I think if a mille feuille were human it would turn up its nose at a chocolate chip cookie. Some Ben & Jerry's wouldn't be allowed to play with the gelato. Anything with multi-colored sprinkles couldn't associate with the glaze on a fruit tart.

Hold on girl- what about those cups of frozen yogurt doused in rainbow sprinkles that you imbibe on a regular basis? Some kind of loop hole? Maybe I am ok with those sprinkles; how can you not when they look so darn happy.

Any snob in me went out the window when I sliced into the colorful top of one of these- it's surprisingly fun to eat such unnatural colors. The frosting process was no less grin-indusing.


Dip again

and Again
(I couldn't find purple sugar, but this multi I had in the pantry gives a bit of optical allusion)

The secret ingredient is Fiori di Sicilia; the citrus-vanilla flavor extract is common in panettone bread, and it makes these white cupcakes very special. With the freshly ground nutmeg, it's a dead ringer for King Cake. These are a cheeky take-off of that cake, with a cream cheese frosting in place of the filling. I snuck one pecan in the batter, so the lucky winner of that cupcake gets some extra luck.

I find that advance prep for cupcakes and frostings (assembling the ingredients ahead of time) creates less mess in the kitchen. My movements are akin to a tornado when I bake, so there's less flour and sugar flying through the air in the process.

Gah, and the cream cheese frosting!
I go positively gaga over this stuff. You know those magnet foods, the things that draw you in and cause all self-control and civilization to go out the window. Oh yea, top of my list.

Mardi Gras King Cupcakes
taken from King Arthur Flour, makes 12

1 cup granulated sugar
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 tsp Fiori di Sicilia extract
2 large eggs
1 pecan

3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces (half a package) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp milk
yellow, green, and multi-colored sugars

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and spray the insides of the papers with baker's spray.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Once the butter-sugar is fluffy, add the flour slowly on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the vanilla to the milk and add all at once. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add one egg on low speed. Beat for 30 seconds, then add the second egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds more.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 23-25 minutes until lightly golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely before icing.
To make the icing: Beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the sugar slowly in batches, until well combined. Add the milk a little at a time until the frosting becomes spreadable. You may or may not need all 2 tablespoons.

Pour the sugars into three wide shallow bowls. Ice each cupcake liberally with frosting, then immediately dip the dies of each cupcake into the three sugars.

Note: try not to lick the tops off these before you can share them.
The temptation is strong, but you're an adult, remember?


1 comment:

Erica said...

Ow! They look so fun! Cream Cheese frosting is amazzzzzzzzzzing! Hope you guys have a fun weekend