Cupcakes with a twist

April 1, 2008 5:25:58 PM PDT
A new dessert your kids will love. Homemade cupcakes... with a twist!

Put a smile on your family's face with delicious cupcakes! Food writer and author, Elinor Klivans, shares a great recipe from her new book, "Cupcakes!"

Recipe: Spring Bouquet Cupcakes

Use regular-size (about 1/2-inch) gumdrops to make the flowers. You could also buy premade sugar flowers or press an edible flower into the top of each cupcake. An assortment of sugar flowers can be ordered from New York Cake and Baking Distributors (see Mail-Order Sources, page 000). Pansies, violets, or nasturtiums also makes a gorgeous finish, but be sure to use organic flowers that have not been sprayed.

  • Makes 12 regular cupcakes
  • Cupcake Making 30 minutes
  • Cupcake Baking 350 degrees F., for about 23 minutes
Yellow Cupcake Batter for 12 regular cupcakes

With this recipe I can have the batter for a moist yellow cupcake ready in minutes. Mixing the batter is a simple process of beating the eggs and sugar, then adding the liquids, sour cream, and dry ingredients. Using oil for the fat eliminates the step of softening butter. Beating the eggs and the sugar for a couple of minutes is the step that lightens the texture of the cupcakes, so don't skimp on that. Otherwise, it is all as easy as it sounds.

Mixing Time about 5 minutes

Batter for 12 regular cupcakes, 9 big-top cupcakes, 6 extra-large cupcakes, or 42 mini-cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola or corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Batter for 24 regular cupcakes, 18 big-top cupcakes, 12 extra-large cupcakes, or 72 mini-cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola or corn oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg and yolk (or eggs, for the larger quantity) and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth. The batter is ready to bake, or for additions such as nuts, fruit, or other flavorings.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Gumdrop Flowers

Powdered sugar for dusting the rolling surface

24 to 30 gumdrops in assorted colors (no black)

Make the cupcakes. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Fill each paper liner with a scant 1/4 cup of batter, to about 1/2 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Carefully place the wire rack on top of the cupcakes in their pan. Protecting your hands with pot holders and holding the pan and rack together, invert them to release the cupcakes onto the wire rack. Turn the cupcakes top side up to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, vegetable shortening, and salt to blend them. On low speed, beat in the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, and almond extract until smoothly blended, then beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting.

Using a thin metal spatula, spread about 2 tablespoons of frosting evenly over the top of each cupcake. Reserve a teaspoon of frosting to glue the flower centers, if desired. (See the instructions below for different options.)

Make the gumdrop flowers. Dust a rolling surface lightly with powdered sugar. Using a rolling pin, roll about 20 of the gumdrops to flatten them to about 1 1/4-inch circles. Start by cutting about 24 thin strips from the green gumdrops to use for stems, and use other colors for flowers. If desired, for two-toned flowers, cut about 12 thin slices (less than 1/8 inch thick) from some of the remaining gumdrops. Then roll a slice of gumdrop in a contrasting color onto the center of 12 of the flattened gumdrops.

To brighten the color and remove some of the sugar, pat the gumdrops with a damp paper towel. To form the flowers, hold a flattened gumdrop circle with your thumb and two fingers and pinch the center of the bottom to form softly ruffled petals. The sticky gumdrops are quite malleable and can be shaped as you wish. For the gumdrop flowers that are of a single color, cut a small piece of gumdrop in a contrasting color and press it into a tiny (about 1/16 inch or slightly larger) ball, dip the ball in the reserved frosting, and press it, frosting side down, into the center of a gumdrop flower. Arrange 1 or 2 stems on top of each cupcake---a V pattern looks nice for two stems---and place one or two flowers on or around the stems.

The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Choices If using edible fresh flowers, arrange them on the cupcakes just before serving them. Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator.

Instead of flowers, pastel-colored Necco wafers make a nice spring decoration. Arrange 3 or 4 of the wafers as a border around the edges of each cupcake or in any other pattern that you like.

Buy the book on Amazon: Cupcakes!