Cupcakes certainly have been popular in the last few years. In a small town near where I live there was a cupcake store next door to a cupcake store. This is in one of those old towns with a square. Right there on the square were the two stores with their big cupcake signs right beside each other. I could almost see that in a large city, but in a very small town it was cupcake overkill. I guess I was not the only one thinking it was overkill. One of the stores recently closed so now there is just one.
Kids do love cupcakes, well, at least most of them do. We have always had cupcakes for my niece and nephews at our family celebrations. We usually have the typical vanilla or chocolate cupcakes. This time I wanted to do a little something different. I remembered watching a cooking competition on television where the chefs were challenged to do something extraordinary with cupcakes. One chef filled the cupcakes with candy and I thought that was such a simple and fun idea.
The combinations of candies and cupcakes are endless. You can use the recipe below or your favorite cupcake and frosting. Choose whatever candies you (or your kids) like best. M&M’s? Gummy bears? Sours? I had some red & green M&M’s from Christmas I used with my cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes, cut a hole in the middle, fill it with candy, and frost the cupcake. Simple!
No one will know about the candy inside until they dig in. That is, if you can keep it a secret. Just sit back and watch the look on their face as they find the surprise inside. How fun! Who cares about sprinkles on top when you can have goodies inside? Okay, go ahead and use the sprinkles if you want. All a part of the clever disguise…
Candy Filled Cupcakes
Cupcake recipe adapted from Mean Chef’s Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs (large), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Put cupcake liners into a 12 count muffin pan or lightly butter the muffin cups if not using liners.
In a small bowl; whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium or large bowl; cream butter and sugar using high speed on a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla to the sugar and beat on high speed until well combined. Scrape the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add flour and buttermilk alternatively beginning and ending with the flour. Mix only until ingredients are combined and do not over mix. Fill each muffin cup about three quarters full, about ¼ cup of batter in each. Bake on 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until tops spring back lightly when touched. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes then remove cupcakes from pan. Cool cupcakes completely.
For the filling:
Candy pieces, any kind to your preference
For the frosting:
1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted
½ pound unsalted European butter (like Plugrá), at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons half-and-half (or more if needed)
In a large mixing bowl; beat butter, vanilla, and salt on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and half-and-half in increments until beat until combined. Check consistency and add more half-and-half as needed to reach desired spreading or piping consistency.
To assemble cupcakes:
Cut a hole in the center of the cupcake. Size of the hole depends on the amount of candy you want inside. Put candy pieces in the cupcake. Frost the cupcake and be sure to cover the candy inside.