Friday, July 19, 2013

Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Yay! I finally got around to posting more cupcakes!! Sorry for the delay!

So, I know I'm advertising these as Cotton Candy Cupcakes, which is totally what I wanted to make, but they ended up being more Bubble Gum Cupcakes than anything. You see, I had done a little research and I found a Cotton Candy flavoring that I thought would work. I looked it up and was going to buy a small bottle (1 Dram, aka .063 oz) for $4. Then I noticed that I could buy a bundle of 10 bottles for $16. I decided to go that route and bought 10 different flavors. These flavorings were supposed to be really potent, so I figured that I would be good. When I went to flavor the frosting, I put a couple of drops in and tasted it. Didn't taste like Cotton Candy. Couple more drops. Still didn't taste like Cotton Candy. Long story short, I ended up putting in the whole bottle... Still didn't taste like Cotton Candy... At that point, I figured that I'll just put in a different flavor, and since I was already on a candy streak, I decided to go with Bubble gum. I put in about 8 drops and you could definitely taste it. I'll be looking for and trying out different Cotton Candy flavorings in the future and keep you updated if I find a good one!

Anyway, with that being said, my Mom gave me the idea to try out a Cotton Candy Cupcake. I thought it sounded fun and I immediately ordered the flavorings and actual cotton candy. The frosting is a Swiss Meringue Butter Cream, so it's nice and light. I'm just not a big fan of regular butter cream. I feel it's too heavy. The cake is an easy to make fluffy and moist white cake. WARNING! If you taste the batter before you bake the cupcakes, you will eat more than originally intended!

Here's how to make it:

- 1 1/4 cups Vegetable Oil
- 1 3/4 cups White Sugar
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 Tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. Pure Almond Extract
- 2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Full Fat Sour Cream

- 8 Egg Whites
- 2 2/3 cups Sugar
- 6 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Cotton Candy Flavoring
- Red and Blue Food Coloring

- Cotton Candy for decoration

Note: The frosting ingredients actually made more than necessary, so you could get away with using 6-7 egg whites. If you do however, adjust the recipe with the following. For every egg white, add 1/3 cup sugar and 6 1/2 Tbsp butter.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. To make the cupcakes, start by mixing together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In a second larger bowl, add the oil and the sugar.
4. Beat the oil and sugar for 2 minutes until it's mixed well together and the sugar has somewhat dissolved.
5. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat again for another couple of minutes until the mixture looks smooth and creamy.
6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to mixture until it's incorporated.
7. Add the sour cream and mix in thoroughly.
8. Fill the cupcake liners slightly over half full. I like to use a large measuring cup to pour the batter in. It's easier and a lot less messy than trying to use a spoon.
9. Bake the cupcakes for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
10. Cool on a wire rack. Let them completely cool before frosting.
11. To make the frosting, you are going to need a double boiler set up. I use a large metal mixing bowl over a small pot of boiling water so that I don't have to transfer containers when I take the mixture off of the stove. If you need more information about double boilers, check out this post:
12. Start off by putting the egg whites and sugar into a large metal bowl.
13. Put the bowl into the double boiler set up and whisk the mixture constantly. If  you don't whisk, you'll end up with really sugary scrambled eggs.
14. Heat the mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off anything harmful that could possibly be in the eggs. If you don't have a thermometer, you can check the mixture by rubbing a little bit of it between your thumb and forefinger. If you feel sugar granules, you still have more heating to do. The thumb and forefinger method however isn't fool proof and you should get a thermometer just to be 100% sure.
15. Take the mixture off of the double boiler and continue whisking until the mixture reaches room temperature and stiff peaks form.
16. Whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until it is incorporated. Note: While adding the butter and for a little bit after, the mixture will go from the nice stiff peaks of the meringue to a soupy curdled milk looking substance. Just keep whisking and it will eventually turn back into a nice smooth creamy substance. Seriously, it's like magic and I'm amazed at it every time. It's so cool!
17. Add in your flavoring to taste. Start off in small doses. It's always easier to add more flavor than it is to take it out.
18. Split the frosting into two bowls. Add the blue coloring to one bowl and the red to the other until you get the colors that you desire.
19. To get the multi-colored swirl, I half filled one piping bag with pink frosting and half filled a second with blue. I then put them both into a third piping bag with the desired tip and used them together.
20. Put a cotton candy fluff on top and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes.

So, all in all, I think they turned out pretty good. I'm disappointed that the Cotton Candy flavoring didn't work out that well. Everything else was great. The frosting had the perfect light and creamy consistency. The colors and swirl turned out great. The cake was fantastic. It's moist, fluffy, and flavorful.

Note: Don't put the cotton candy fluff on top of the cupcake until you are going to serve them. I decorated all the cupcakes last night and when I checked on them this morning, the cotton candy had absorbed some of the moisture from the frosting and turned hard and crunchy. *sigh* I should have thought about that, lol.

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