Mardi Gras cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
purple, green, and yellow food coloring
purple, green, and yellow sanding sugars
For the Buttercream Frosting:
20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups Confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
In a 2-cup glass measure, combine milk, egg whites, and extracts and mix with fork until blended.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1½ minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Pour a scant cup of the cake mix into three separate mixing bowls. Mix in food colorings and place the colored batter into three individual Ziploc bags.
Squeeze cake batter into each cupcake well, alternating colors. (I did purple first, followed by green…)
Then yellow on top.
Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer muffin pan to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cool completely prior to frosting.
To make buttercream frosting, in standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
Place frosting into a large decorators decorating bag fitted with the 1M decorating tip and approximately 1/4″ above cupcake top at a 90° angle to cupcake surface, pipe a spiral of icing, beginning at the outer edge and working inward. Sprinkle with sanding sugars.