Have you ever noticed that candy comes in the most GORGEOUS colors? I love to decorate with candy and my friends, both young and old, love it when I do!
Decorate? Yes, I use it to pizzazz up my table decors with an added bonus: my dinner guests get to sneak a nibble here, there and everywhere! Here (scroll down) and here are a few fun examples of decorating with candy.
You might have to hunt a bit, but look for a store* or perhaps a specialty shop, that carries the tiny jelly beans and chocolate covered candies in a multitude of colors – pick out matching, contrasting or just fun colors and use them liberally on your dining and buffet tables. Sometimes I’ll even put tiny colorful bowls piled high with these delightful treats at each place setting. Oh, and children …………… well, they’ll just think you’re the best thing that ever happened!
I got so excited about the candy that I almost forgot about the delightful cupcakes. These Vanilla Bean cupcakes themselves are moist, yet light and are definitely my go-to recipe when I want dessert in a hurry. If you’re a frequent flyer at The Café, you might recognize them from this post or perhaps this one. They’re as easy as any commercial cake mix; you throw the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir, then add everything else and mix for thirty seconds – see what I mean? ………. super simple!
But it’s the frosting that you’re going to go gaga over – a buttercream dream with sweet, fresh strawberries! A beautiful sight with fabulous flavor! Unless, of course you don’t like fresh strawberries ……….. But if good strawberries mean “Spring” to you, like they do to me, and the sight of a “Strawberries for Sale” sign along the roadside makes your heart leap, then be assured, you’ll be thrilled with this delightful Fresh Strawberry Frosting on these delicious Vanilla Bean Cupcakes!
*My Super Target has a candy section with a huge assortment of Jelly Bellies, M&M’s and other fun candies in every color you can imagine.
- 1 stick 4 ounces butter, softened
- ½ cup fresh strawberries halved
- ¼ cup strawberry jam or preserves
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon half and half
- Combine strawberries and jam and puree in a food processor or blender.
- Place butter in the bowl of and electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes or until very fluffy and pale yellow.
- Add strawberry mixture, half and half and 4 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat again for 2 minutes. Slowly add more powdered sugar until consistency is smooth and creamy, fairly stiff but still spreadable. For piping you want it a bit stiffer so that the pretty edges will set up nicely. If your icing doesn't hold up when swirled on cupcakes, it has too much liquid or has gotten too warm. Place frosting in the fridge for 20 minutes which will help it to stiffen. If it's still too thin, then add a bit more powdered sugar, beat well and try again. Like anything else, after you do this a few times, you will know the correct consistency right away.
- Frost or swirl-pipe cupcakes or cake. I use a Wilton 1M or a Wilton 2D tip for really pretty swirling. For a great tutorial on piping cupcakes, check out this site!
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk or sour cream room temperature
- 1 large eggs room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350˚ F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, buttermilk (or sour cream), egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
- Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tins. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.