Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Snowflake Cupcakes

Happy New Year!

When I was thinking about what to write about in my very first post of the new year, I kept coming back to one thought:  in a world as productive as ours, it's unimaginable to me that there are people who are not only hungry, they die of starvation. If I could have just one wish, I would ask that no one in this world goes hungry. There are many ways to give and many worthy organizations to contribute to. In the coming days, I will be adding links to just a few of these organizations to my site. Please give, in any amount, if you are able. Thank You.

Another thought I had, while thinking about the new year, comes in the form of a challenge:  one random act of kindness. I challenge each of you to commit just one random act of kindness a year, a month, a week, or a day. Whatever best suits you. Just one. One of my resolutions is to do one random act of kindness a day. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or time consuming - just something nice for someone else. And, whenever you're feeling a little blue, just think about something kind that you've done for someone else. I guarantee, it will lift your spirits!

I also have a special treat for you:  Snowflake Cupcakes! Otherwise known as, Lemon-Filled Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting. They're delicious!

Snowflake Cupcakes

6 oz. (3 squares) Vanilla Candy Coating (Almond Bark) for the White Chocolate Snowflakes

Lemon Curd (you can find the recipe I used HERE)

1 lemon-flavored cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist) plus the ingredients called for on the mix package

Cream Cheese/White Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)

My first step was to make the white chocolate snowflakes to decorate the cupcakes. Trace a snowflake template or two on a piece of paper. You'll want the snowflakes to be about 2 inches. Tear or cut pieces of parchment or waxed paper into 3 inch squares. You'll lay the parchment or waxed paper over the templates and pipe your snowflakes on to the paper. Set aside. Next, melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a simmering pan of water (double-boiler), making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water; also be sure to keep an eye on the water level so you don't run out of water in the pan. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the pan of water, and cool slightly. Transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a writing tip or a zip-lock baggie (you'll snip the very end of one of the corners to pipe from). Following the templates, pipe the snowflakes on to the small pieces of parchment or waxed paper and place the squares on a baking sheet. Take care, that the snowflakes aren't touching one another. If you like, you can embellish the snowflakes with colored sugar or other sprinkles before they harden. Let the chocolate snowflakes harden at room temperature and then move them into the freezer until you need them. I left mine on the baking sheet. I confess, I don't do much piping, so my snowflakes weren't quite as pretty as the the ones you see in photos online. But I think they came out OK.

Step two is to make the Lemon Curd. I followed the recipe found at Menu by Vicky - in the link above. It's my "go to" recipe for lemon curd because it never fails. I made half of her recipe to fill the cupcakes. Be sure to cover the lemon curd with a layer of plastic wrap - touching the curd - to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until needed.

So, at the end of step two, you should have white chocolate snowflakes in the freezer and lemon curd in the refrigerator. On to making the cupcakes.

Step three is very simple:  make the cupcakes. I mixed up the packaged cake mix (according to package instructions) and made cupcakes out of the batter. Let the cupcakes cool completely before filling them with the lemon curd. You can use two methods to fill the cupcakes:  injecting the filling right into the cupcake or coring the cupcake and filling it. You can find some great tips for filling cupcakes HERE. I chose to core the cupcake using a corer (like the one shown below) and filled it with the lemon curd. You can use the method that works best for you. Refrigerate the filled cupcakes until you are ready to frost them.

And finally . . . step four! Frost the cupcakes using the recipe shown below. I {attempted} to pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes and added a white chocolate snowflake before the frosting set.

Be sure to refrigerate the cupcakes - once frosted - until you are ready to serve.

White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz. (3 squares) white chocolate 

1 - 1/2 pkgs. (12 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pot of water. Be sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Cool the chocolate.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter. Add the melted white chocolate and mix until well-blended and whipped. 

Using a piping bag or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

I'll confess, my cupcakes weren't as pretty as I had hoped they would be. BUT! They tasted awesome! The White Chocolate-Cream Cheese frosting was a perfect match with the lemon curd filling and lemon-flavored cupcakes. I hope you give them a try!


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