Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

What better way to celebrate St. Pat's than with tiny cupcakes topped with almond buttercream? So maybe a big green beer would be nice, too. May I suggest you devour these after your lager?

St. Pat's Mini Cupcakes
Serves: 48 - 60 (depending on how full you fill the cups)
Points: TBD

For cupcakes:
1 box store-bought yellow cake mix
48 mini cupcake liners

For almond buttercream:
1/2 cup shortening, solid
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Using a measuring spoon, pour 1 tablespoon of batter into each prepared cupcake liner. Bake cupcakes for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in the cupcake tin or on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, add shortening and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream shortening and butter. Add almond extract. Slowly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl often. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, add the milk. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Since buttercream is a stiff icing, it's best to keep it covered with a towel and in the refrigerator when not in use. Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks, so don't worry that this recipe will make 3 cups (way more than you'll need for your mini cupcakes).

Using a spatula, butter knife, or pastry bag with decorating tip (my choice), frost each cupcake to your preference. Top with sprinkles, jimmies, sugar crystals, or even all three.

I took the extra time to make shamrocks out of green candy melt. It was a heck of a task since my first bag burst at the seams and the second time the candy melt was initially too warm and runny to have much control. The end result was cute, but I'm hoping my next adventure with candy melts is a bit more productive and a bit less emotionally draining.

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