Raspberry Sundae Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

To me, one of motherhood’s greatest pleasures is introducing my kids to all the same kinds of treats that wowed me when I was a child. Things that seem old hat to me now, as a jaded 37-year old, always seem to light up those angelic little faces with delight, and before I know it I’m reliving the magic all over again…

You remember Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, right? A cupcake baked in an ice cream cone and decorated to fool the eye? I think I was about five years old the first time I encountered one, and, with Choochie’s fifth birthday being tomorrow, it seemed like the perfect time to introduce him and his pre-K classmates to the old favorite.

C’s preschool has strict standards about what can be served to the children, which I happen to appreciate. It does make things a little more challenging, though, at birthdays. One of the things they don’t allow at school is chocolate, and there’s just something in my personality that doesn’t allow me to show up with just plain old vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing.

So here’s a fun twist on that old original, Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, with a tasty raspberry surprise to tease those tastebuds!

If you are having one of “those” days, take the blessed shortcut and use a box-mix and a can of frosting. It’s every bit as fun for the kiddies! Or, if you are like me, and nothing makes you happier than puttering in your kitchen, use this scratch recipe. I’m including it within the post, by popular demand! These are my favorite yellow cake and buttercream recipes, adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s ultimate guide: The Cake Bible. They take a little extra effort (eggs need to be separated, and there’s hot sugar involved), but for those times when you really want to wow, these recipes never fail. To borrow a quote from food writer and Food Network Star Troy Johnson, “they taste like giving a damn…” (He actually said that about artisan cheeses, but it’s such a killer line I just had to use it.)

All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake
adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s The Cake Bible

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup milk, divided
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Begin by sifting the flour together with the baking powder. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the sugar and salt. Mix on low speed for a few seconds to combine. Add in the soft butter and 1/4 cup of milk. Once all the dry ingredients are moistened, beat on high speed for two minutes, to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, lightly combine the yolks, 1/4 cup of milk, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the cake batter in thirds, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl before each addition, and beating for 20 seconds after.

Tightly cover a 9″ x 13″ rectangular cake pan with aluminum foil. Cut 12 x’s in the foil with a sharp knife. Insert an ice cream cone into each “x.”

I use a little cookie scoop to fill each ice cream cone 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 16-18 ice cream cone cupcakes.

While they are baking and cooling, make the buttercream.

Mousseline Buttercream
adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s The Cake Bible

3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
16 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until very stiff.

Place the sugar and water in a small pot over medium high heat. Stir constantly until it reaches a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the soft ball stage, approximately 240 degrees. Immediately pour into a greased, heatproof liquid measuring cup to stop the cooking process.

Pour the hot sugar into the egg whites in thirds, whipping on high speed for ten seconds after each addition. Continue to whip until the mixture is cool.

Whip the soft butter in, a tablespoon at a time. (If at any time the mixture looks curdled, increase the speed and beat until smooth before continuing to add more butter.)

Whip in the vanilla.

Basically this buttercream is a real perv, and it just can’t get enough whipping. The more you whip it the better it gets. It is so delicately sweet and light, yet buttery and rich. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever tasted.

After the cupcakes have cooled, pipe about a half teaspoon of seedless raspberry jam into them using this type of tip:

Wilton #230

I’ve been seeing these crazy cupcake corers in stores lately. They are completely unneccessary. All you need is a long pointy tip for your pastry bag, the fluffy cake gets right out of the way of whatever you want to fill it with.

Generously pipe some of that soft, silky buttercream on top of the ice cream cone cupcakes, piling it on high to look like soft-serve. Sprinkle with a few rainbow jimmies and top with a fresh raspberry.

Happy Birthday to my special boy…

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