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These cupcakes are to continue our review of the book Pinkalicious.
Be careful not to eat too many—you may just turn pink, too.

So if you haven’t already figured out, I’m pretty big into things being all natural. I suppose I don’t have enough money or enough time to fuss over whether things are organic usually, but I do put my foot down with things like flavoring, butter, unbleached flour, etc.

I put off making these cupcakes, actually, because I knew they had to be pink, and I didn’t want to use fake coloring. Furthermore, I knew the all natural coloring is really expensive, and I had this big debate over whether or not I should buy it.

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As I prepared my ingredients, I thought, Oh whatever! I’ll just buy it already (it was $12.00 for just one little bottle of red!). I took it home, started making my cupcakes, added the all natural fancy coloring, and . . . it was brown. But not even a dark brown, and it didn’t even really color the batter (Thank goodness!). I even noticed later as I cleaned up, that it had turned green! It reminded me of an awful henna hair dye fiasco I had with my son when he wanted to be Harry Potter for Halloween, but that’s another story.

Needless to say, I broke down and used the artificial stuff. And I think we’ll all be okay.

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pinkalicious cupcakes

1 1/2 cups (185g) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon all natural strawberry flavoring or pure almond extract
1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
3/4 cups (170g) milk
4-5 tablespoons of your favorite strawberry jam
easy buttercream frosting (recipe follows)
white sprinkles
maraschino cherries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees * (180 degrees Celsius). Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

2.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth, about a minute on medium speed.  Add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes more. With mixer on medium-low, add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add in vanilla and strawberry flavor or almond extract. Add in food coloring to achieve desired tint.

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4.  With mixer on low, add in a third of the flour mixer, followed by half of the milk and the sour cream.  Add in the next third of flour, the remaining milk, and finally the remainder of the flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Use a rubber spatula to fully incorporate the mixture, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

5. With an ice cream scooper, divide up the batter evenly among the paper liners (I use a scoop that holds 1/3 cup, which works perfectly). Tap pans on the counter to remove any bubbles.

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6. Bake at 350 (180 degrees celsius), or until a toothpick inserted into the center ones comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pans for at least ten minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before decorating.

7. Use a melon baller to scoop out a small hole in the center of each cupcake. Spoon a small amount of strawberry jam into each hole.

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8. Use three fourths of the pink buttercream frosting to ice the top of each cupcake. Add a few more drops of the food coloring to the remaining frosting and place in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Set aside.

9. Pour white sprinkles onto a plate and dip the center of each cupcake into the sprinkles. Top with a cherry, and use the frosting in the pastry bag to create a decorative swag all around the cupcake. Serve (or freeze).

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easy buttercream

1 1/2 sticks (175g) unsalted butter
4 cups (1 pound or 450g) confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon all natural strawberry flavoring or pure almond extract
red or pink food coloring

1. Put all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix, starting slowly and then increasing the speed, until frosting is smooth and creamy.

2. Add in food coloring as desired

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