Friday, March 25, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

Our first time making Rainbow Cupcakes was a huge success. I couldn't have asked for them to turn out any better. Not only did they look beautiful, but I also had a terrific time making them with my wonderful little girl. I love making special memories like this with her.

We got started with the cupcakes a day ahead of our playdate. We used this recipe and inspiration for our cupcakes.

I like this recipe because it makes a thick batter, which is good for getting a better differentiation in the color stripes when baked. (ETA: I highly suggest using Greek yogurt vs plain yogurt. It is creamier (more like sour cream) and has a better flavor and consistency.)

First we mixed up the batter, then divided it into five bowls. Each bowl was 1 cup. Then we mixed in Wilton Icing Colors to get really vibrant, pretty colors for our rainbow.

Haleigh Ann helped mix the colors into the batter.

We used red, yellow, green, blue and purple for our rainbow colors.

Next she put cupcake liners in our cupcake pan (the 12-cup muffin pan stoneware piece from Pampered Chef -- it makes simply divine cupcakes!!). The color of cupcake liner doesn't matter since you'll peel it off before serving anyway. Tip: I stock up on them when they go on sale half-price or more after holidays.

Then I put a scoop of the bottom color into the liners (ours was purple). I have a handy dandy small scoop from Pampered Chef that holds about 2 teaspoons and was perfect for this. After placing the batter in there you'll want to have a small bowl of water for wetting your finger to spread the batter out evenly. Then repeat until you have all the layers done. Note: You'll want to make sure you have enough time set aside for this part of the project. It took me about an hour and a half to get them from start into the oven, but keep in mind that also included letting a 3-year-old help.

The last layer before spreading.

The top layer after spreading.

 Now it's time for the oven to work it's magic.

 Fresh out of the oven.

 Aren't they beautiful?

Now let them cool completely before you touch them again. After they are cool, you can remove them from the pan and peel off the cupcake liner. Since we made these a day ahead of time, we put them in a cupcake keeper for the night (the liners were still on at this point). The next morning I removed the liners and put them on a plate and made their "clouds" of Whipped Cream Frosting.

Sitting pretty on a plate, sans liners.
Just love the bright colors!!

Now it's time to make the topping for these beauties. I used the recipe below -- easy, fluffy and not too sweet. It was perfect. Then I used my medium scoop from Pampered Chef (2 tablespoons) and placed "clouds" of frosting on top.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • splash of vanilla
Add whipping cream to a large bowl. Chill bowl and beaters in fridge for at least 10 minutes. Beat at medium speed until mixture starts to expand; increase speed to high and beat until thick. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla; continue to beat. Be careful not to beat it too long. Whipping cream is like meringue -- at the end it goes very quickly and can easily be beaten too much.

 The finished Rainbow Cupcakes. 

So pretty and tasty, too!!

 Here's one split in half. I think the colors are gorgeous. It's fun to see the stripes of color.

It's also a really neat lesson in how cupcakes bake in the oven. See how the bottom layer is thicker? The cupcake bakes from the bottom up and pushes the rest of the batter up and out. 
*That's the end of my Alton Brown lesson for the day, LOL.*

I think we'll definitely make these cupcakes again. Of course you can use whatever colors you like, and even make themed cupcakes for sporting events, birthdays, holidays and most importantly, just for fun.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rainbow Playdate

Today we had a wonderful Rainbow-inspired playdate at our house. All the kids really enjoyed their snacks and crafts and even played well with each other to top it off!!

I must admit I had a lot of fun myself making the Rainbow Cupcakes and Glass Block Jell-O. They both turned out so gorgeous for the rainbow theme I did a little happy dance inside. :O)

The kids did a super job with their Fruit Loop Rainbow and Scented Rainbow crafts. One of them even went the extra mile and added clouds and her name in Fruit Loops to hers. :O)

I'll have to make a separate post to describe the Rainbow Cupcakes and Glass Block Jell-O, but links to the crafts are here: Scented Rainbow, Fruit Loop Rainbow.

Now for pictures of these adorable kiddos:

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