I was gallivanting around the craft stores today, and I found the cutest Easter egg baking accessories. I decided to make cupcakes before my grandkids came over for the night. (This was meant to avoid yet another baking disaster.) The kids love colorful treats, and they love fruit. Instead of making plain chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, I decided to add color and flavor. I used freshly squeezed orange, lemon, and lime juice, and I made strawberry juice from freshly picked Plant City strawberries. I sprinkled a little grated peel, and added a few drops of food coloring gel to the batter and the frosting. Apply icing with a fork to give the cupcakes a grassy Easter basket look. My grandkids went for the orange cupcakes first.
Colorful Easter Cupcakes
For the strawberry juice
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup water
For the batter:
- 2½ cups sifted cake flour
- 1⅔ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup soft shortening
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 5 egg whites unbeaten
- 1½ teaspoons clear vanilla
- 2 tablespoons each orange lemon, lime, and strawberry juice
- 1 teaspoon each grated orange lemon, and lime peel
- orange yellow, red, and green gel food color
For the buttercream frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1-2 tablespoons each orange lemon, lime, and strawberry juice
- orange yellow, green, and red gel food color
- Easter colored decorator sprinkles
- Easter themed cupcake baking cups
- To make the strawberry juice: clean strawberries and add to small saucepot with 1/4 cup water. Simmer, covered, until juice is extracted, about 10 minutes. Cool before adding to cake batter or icing.
- To make the cake: In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add shortening and milk, and beat with an electric mixer until blended. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating on low-speed. Add vanilla, and stir. Divide batter evenly in 4 bowls. Add juice and grated peel to each bowl; mix. Add a small amount of food color to the corresponding flavor until batter is a light pastel color. Fill cupcake tins. Bake at 350°F for 15-17 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan and cool on wire cake rack.
- To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Divide icing into 4 bowls. Add juice to each and mix well. Add one or two drops of food color to icing until it turns a pastel color. For a fluffy look, apply icing with a fork. Finish cupcakes with sprinkles. Note: to thin icing add a small amount of light corn syrup.
Adjust flavoring one tablespoon at a time. For vibrant Easter colors, increasing food gel a few drops at a time.