with the beginning of fall comes football season frenzy for many of my friends. during those first few games and then the big ones, there are often gatherings, get-togethers and tailgating parties. a fun way to add a little spirit is with food coloring.
take your favorite cupcake recipe, add a little of your team's color to the frosting and voila- you've got a sweet crowd-pleaser.
for all my tennessee friends' pleasure, i knew i had to go orange. then the football party's hostess special requested 'something peachy' and i couldn't let her down.
the moment i came across this recipe for peach cupcakes, it was love at first sight. not only were the cupcakes laced with little bits of peachy goodness, but the frosting was brown sugar cream cheese. i mean, come on- doesn't that sound like an irresistable taste combination?
there was only one problem. my friend hosting the little soiree doesn't do cream cheese. i know, i know...you'll have to take it up with her.
i opted to make her happy by keeping the peach cupcake and nixing the cream cheese frosting- almost.
most of the little cakes got stuffed with a spoonful of brown sugar cream cheese frosting. however, i left a few without for my gal pal. some cupcakes even had a surprise walnut or two hiding in the center. i was feeling froggy.
all of them were iced in a vanilla buttercream frosting. to take a bite of of all those flavors at once was more explosive than the game. (maybe that was just for me)
my grand finale was to dye the frosting just right and i went to great measures to mix the balanced ratios of reds and yellows to create a light orange. this portion of the baking program was a wee tense and my eye guy had to throw in his two cents worth as well.
i just stuck to what my mom taught me about the color wheel with red and yellow creating orange and was pretty pleased with how they turned out. the color was on the light side, more peachy than tennessee-ey, but i was happy with it.
after all that faux-artistry, i felt a little flushed and went into my guest bedroom (a.k.a. craft storage closet) to pull out the football toppers when i saw something in the same bag. a small jar of the exact right orange food coloring that i had bought the weekend before. totally forgot i ALREADY had the perfect color, pre-mixed orange.
have i mentioned i'm a little on the overwhelmed side this year? regardless, these are the type of cupcakes that taste like an easy going saturday afternoon with friends. have a bite.
peach cupcakes stuffed and frosted
adapted from smitten kitchen
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk, sour cream or full-fat yogurt
3 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped smallish (I went for a 1/3-inch dice)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 28 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach chunks.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
vanilla buttercream frosting
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
brown sugar frosting filling
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth and light. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens back up a bit, about 30 minutes, then spread or dollop on cooled cupcakes.