November 3, 2014

Pistachio flavored Hydrangea Cupcakes

 She's a little bit of sunshine,
    She's a smile to light your days,
    She will steal your heart and
    keep it with her warm endearing ways,
    She's your precious little daughter,
    With a sweetness from above
    Who will fill your years with laughter
    and your lives with lots of love

~ Anonymous 

If you have been following my blog you would know that I love photography as much as I love cooking and baking. I like to capture snippets of my life and various milestones in the form of pictures and that’s the main reason I love Instagram, where you speak and express through pictures. To reveal a quirk of mine though - as much as I love photography, I hate posing for pics which is why you would rarely find my selfies or pictures. But I am glad my daughter has taken on her dad and loves posing for mommy. Here are a few pictures I took for her 5th birthday (Yep - she is already 5 - time flies !!!).

Every year for my daughter's birthday I make an elaborate cake. This year even though I was pumped up in spirit I just could not muster the energy to get into the whole physical process. So I decided to cheat a little (well a lot ;) ) by using a cake mix. I jazzed up these cupcakes and made them pistachio flavored by adding Jell-O pudding mix. This addition not only enhanced the flavor but also gave the cupcakes a cute pastel green color. Quite a few went into our bellies before getting frosted :)  This is how they looked before they got frosted.

I frosted the cupcakes with simple vanilla butter cream frosting. I used shades of pink, blue and purple to make them look like Hydrangea flowers. And finally added some sugar pearls to make them prettier. You can choose any color combination you like but I wanted these cupcakes to resemble real flower so choose blue & purple for one set and shades of pink for another set. My daughter took these cupcakes to school and obviously the boys got to eat the blue ones and the girls preferred the pink.

After frosting the cupcakes I had a challenge to take a picture that would showcase both the blue and pink colored cupcakes together. After a few failed attempts I took a walk outside my house thats when my eyes spots these pretty vines and I came up with the above arrangement. I was pretty pleased with how it looked finally !

Yields: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients for cupcakes 
1 box - White or yellow cake mix & the ingredients that the recipe calls for (I used Betty Crocker)
1 box - Jell-O Pistachio pudding mix

Directions for cupcakes
  • Follow the directions on the cake box and mix all the ingredients along with the pudding mix.
  • Line the cupcake tray with cupcake-liners
  • Fill the batter in the cupcake-liners up to the halfway mark
  • Bake as per package directions and let the cupcakes cool on a cooling rack before frosting them.

Ingredients for frosting
1/2 Cup - Butter (at room temperature)
3 1/2 Cups - Confectioners' sugar / powdered sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoon -Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon - Whipping cream (optional)
Wilton 2D tip (closed star)
Piping bag or Ziploc bag
Food Color of your choice (I used pink, blue and purple)

Directions for frosting
  • Whisk the confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla essence on lowest speed.
  • Once the ingredients incorporate and turn into a homogeneous mixture, increase the speed and whisk for another 3-5 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.
  • Divide the frosting into 2 parts (one for the pink hydrangea flowers and the other for blue hydrangea flowers)
  • For pink hydrangea flowers, I divided the frosting into 3. I added a pink color to the first part to get a dark pink color. To the second part I added fewer drops to get a light pastel pink color and to the 3 part I didn't add any color.
  • Fit the 2D tip onto the piping bag and fill it 3 colors (dark pink, pale pink and white) in equal proportion, side by side. Now start piping large star shapes around the edges of the cupcakes, then moving to the center.
  • For the blue hydrangeas, I divided the frosting into 2. To the first portion I added blue color and to the rest I added purple color. Then I filled the piping bag with both the colors side by side and started decorating as mentioned above.
Note and Tips
  • If the icing gets very soft, then place the piping bag in the fridge. This will make the frosting firmer and easier to handle
  • I made the cupcakes and frosting 1 day ahead of the party. But if are using it the same day feel free to add 1 tablespoon of whipping cream to it to make the frosting fluffier.
  • Watch this tutorial from Rosie Cake Diva for more tips on piping the flowers.


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