So tonight is the Oscars and I for one like to take advantage of any opportunity to do something "special". Let's face it, my inner theater-girl would appreciate this and I need an excuse to practice and experiment with the artistic side of baking.
I can rarely sit through a movie without munching on some buttery movie-theatre popcorn so when I came across the idea to make little mini-cupcakes look like popcorn I jumped on it. I got this idea and the recipes from a book a friend let me borrow called "Hello, Cupcake!" It's a book devoted entirely to cupcakes and all the crazy creations you can come up with them. I didn't follow the directions and recipes exactly but here goes...
Buttered Popcorn Cupcakes
36 mini vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners (I made my own and didn't have liners so I just greased my mini-muffin pan; recipe follows)
1 Can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting (I chose lemon for a more buttery look)
3 Cups white mini marshmallows (from a 10.5 ounce bag)
1 Cup yellow mini marshmallows (from a 10.5 ounce multicolored bag)(My store did not have multicolored bags which is also why I chose lemon frosting instead of vanilla, to make up for not having these)
3 popcorn boxes half filled with crumpled tissue paper (I just did the 1)
1. Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper. Spoon 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and close the bag.
2. For each piece of popcorn, use 2 marshmallows of the same color. Using clean scissors, cut 1 marshmallow into thirds, crosswise. Arrange the pieces on the cookie sheet in the shape of a three-leaf clover, pressing gently with your fingertips to flatten slightly. Snip a 1/8-inch corner from the bag and pipe a dot of frosting on one end of the second marshmallow. Press the other marshmallow into the center of the cloverleag arrangement; the frosting will hold the 4 pieces together. Repeat with the remaining white and yellow marshmallows until you have 225 to 250 pieces of popcorn (I just did this until I couldn't take it anymore...this can get tedious and as I only did 1 box of popcorn, I most definitely did not need 225-250 pieces)
3. Spread the tops of the mini cupcakes with the remaining vanilla frosting. Press 6 or 7 popcorn pieces onto the top of each cupcake. Any loose pieces can be secured with a dot of frosting from the ziplock bag.
4. Let the cupcakes sit for about 30 minutes before stacking them in the popcorn boxes or a bowl. (Disclaimer: Patience is not a strength of mine...I purposely ignored this and I shouldn't have as I smudged half of my cupcakes...oh well)
(OPTIONAL)5. (I decided to sprinkle the cupcakes with clear sprinkles to give them some sparkle and make them look "salted". I think it worked)
Mini Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
This is actually a recipe for normal vanilla cupcakes. It makes about 24. I cut down the recipe by 2/3rds; which as you can imagine, was not easy. Stupid math.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half cake flour and half wheat, next time I will use less wheat as this was just too much)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (I use skim)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened (I find that with cakes, its relatively easy to find butter substitutes...cookies? not so much. Instead of the butter I replaced it with an equal amount of non-fat greek yogurt. It has protein, no fat and still retains the cakes moisture)
1 cup sugar (as always I used my sugar-splenda blend;LOVE IT!)
3 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, oil, and vanilla extract in a 2-cup measuring cup or a small bowl.
3. In another medium bowl, with an electric mixer (or arms of steel) on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar unil light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just blended.
5. Spoon half of the batter into a ziplock bag. Snip a 1/4-inch corner from the bag and fill the liners two-thirds full. Repeat with the remaining batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pan, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely.
Now it is time for me and my roomate Miss. Amy to enjoy these while judging the fashion on red carpet. Cupcakes and fashion?! YES PLEASE..boy I love the Oscars :)