February 9, 2011

Mardi Gras King Cupcakes

Last year, while rooting the New Orleans Saints to victory during the Super Bowl, I thought I'd try the themed-food thing (which snooty Andrew Knowlton disparages. Still love you though, Andrew!). And so I made a king cake and gumbo. This year, I toyed with the idea of themed-food, but then just decided to go with regular fare (there was cheese in everything though, so I guess that counts for a Wisconsin theme).

But, somehow, I decided to make another king cake, which evolved into king CUPcakes. Don't ask me, it made sense at the time.

Do you know how long and hard I had to look for plastic babies last year?

Anyway, my king cake last year was lackluster (thanks a lot, John Besh), so I turned to King Arthur Flour's blog for some recipe inspiration.

As a side note, I have totally fallen in love with the King Arthur Flour baking blog. I know I'm a little late to the party, but their recipes are totally hitting it out of the ballpark every time.

So these are king cupcakes because they are flavored with nutmeg, vanilla, and lemon, apparently traditional king cake flavors (how did I miss that last year?). They're also frosted with a cream cheese frosting, mimicking the cream cheese filling you frequently find inside a king cake.

And then, there's the green, gold, and purple decorative sugars for the traditional colors of the Mardi Gras celebration. A plastic baby was baked into one of the cupcakes, for which the lucky winner gets a year of good luck and to bring the king cake to next year's party.

Anyway, I was really excited these cupcakes turned out well, since they were my first from-scratch batch. It was surprisingly easy to make cupcakes from scratch- as easy as from a box!- and they tasted just as good, if not better (oh, how I love cake from a box, though).

And of course, since we had the green and gold out, M. made some Packers themed cupcakes (also my high school colors, yeah, North Harford!).

I didn't do a step-by-step for this recipe, since they do such a great one on the KAF blog. So come Mardi Gras (March 8th), head over there, break out your beads, bones, and boobs, and celebrate Fat Tuesday with some great cupcakes.

As another side note, I've never been to New Orleans or Mardi Gras, I just need reasons to get excited about things in late February and early March. If anyone wants to take me to NOLA, I'm available. Anytime.