A big part of why I enjoy Mardi Gras so much is the bright colors. As much as I want to be demure and classic, I am not. I tend to get really excited about a violent shock of color in cupcakes, desserts, clothing, pens. You name it.
So these cupcakes were right up my alley. The cake itself is a traditional king cake recipe. Forgive me for not shoving a tiny baby into one of the cakes, I didn’t happen to have a tiny baby on hand. The cake is almost muffin-like. The buttermilk adds a great twang of flavor. But the icing is really the piece de resistance here.
It’s classic buttercream – butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream, a dash of vanilla – that’s been tinted to epically bright proportions. Of course, we went with the standard Mardi Gras colors. Green, yellow and purple must make an appearance. And instead of doing each cupcake in a different color or attempting to fiddle with tie-dye icing in a pastry bag, we just layered. The result is a flavorful, incredibly festive rendition on the classic King cake.
Woohoo! Mardi Gras! Live it up! I’ll be eating one of these while I sit on the couch, gorging myself on as much candy and junk as I can before Ash Wednesday.
- For cupcakes:
- 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- For icing:
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 Tbsp. cream
- food color in purple, yellow and green
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add in egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
- In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beginning and ending with flour mixture, alternately add flour and buttermilk in two batches. Beat until fully combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin, ¾ to the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden and springy to the touch. Cool completely before frosting.
- To prepare frosting, combine butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat until fully combined. Add cream if needed to thin out the icing to a piping consistency.
- Separate the icing into three bowls. Add one to two drops of purple, yellow and green food dye into each bowl and mix until no streaks remain.
- Add additional drops of dye to increase the color if you would like more vibrancy.
- Transfer the icing to three piping bags fitted with a round tip.
- Pipe a circle of yellow icing on to each cupcake. Next, pipe a circle of green on top of the yellow. End with a circle of purple icing. Top with sprinkles if you choose.