Friday, January 4, 2013

Mini Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Growing up, I used to think it was so fancy to order a Shirley Temple when my parents took us out to eat.  We could only get them at "fancy" restaurants and it was so special.  And for holiday dinners, my Dad would even make them for us at home.  I always got mine with extra cherries (probably why I will still order my Manhattan's with extra cherries today).  I remember ordering a Shirley Temple from the open bar at my Godfather's wedding and specifically asking the bartender to make it without alcohol (I was 7, I didn't understand how cocktails worked).  So I thought these clever little cupcakes would be a lovely nod to nostalgia and happiness for New Year's Eve.  I think they are cuter in miniature and the cherry flavor is light in the cupcake and a little more potent in the frosting, and comes together with a light almond accent.  Perfect bite-size treats, with a cherry on top to boot!

Almost a year ago, I pinned this recipe from Curvy Carrot and thought they would be even more adorable as mini versions.  So when scouring for dessert recipes for New Year's, these called out to me as a lovely option with a different flavor, a festive appeal and a lot of fun memories to think about. I added some King Arthur Flour Cake Enhancer for texture because I find it does make a difference in my cupcakes.  Because these were minis, the bake time is a little less, but overall, the recipe is solid.  They were sightly more time consuming due to the smaller version (more of them) and the two-toned batter, but they were absolutely worth it!

Mini Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Ingredients for cupcakes

1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon flour, divided
1 1/2 Tablespoons cake enhancer (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up, room temperature
1 Tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
red food coloring

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, cake enhancer, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, use medium-high speed to beat butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Add eggs, beating after each addition, then add both extracts and beat to combine.

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and Cherry 7-Up, alternating, mixing until fully incorporated.

Remove about 3/4 cup of the batter to a small bowl.  Add remaining Tablespoon flour, cherry juice and red food coloring, stirring to combine.  (Note: Use as much or as little food coloring as you like to get the intensity color you want.)

In a mini muffin pan lined with paper liners, evenly distribute red batter, dropping about a teaspoon into the bottom of each liner.  Jiggle or tap the muffin pan on the counter to get batter to smooth evenly in the bottom of each cup.

Top red batter with remaining uncolored batter, taking care to cover all the red.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 13-17 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and tops spring back.

Remove from oven and cool in pan slightly before removing to wire racks.  Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Ingredients for buttercream frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt
36 maraschino cherries with stems, for garnish

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar.  Once completely added, increase speed to medium and add cherry juice, lemon juice, both extracts and salt.  Increase to medium-high speed and beat for about 5 minutes, adding more cherry juice to reach desired consistency for piping.

Transfer frosting to a piping bag (Note: I didn't use a tip, just the coupling) and dollop frosting in the center of each cupcake.  Press a cherry into the top of each frosting dollop.

Makes 36 mini cupcakes.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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