Under the Big Top Cupcakes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

Bright colors and circus animals are guaranteed to make kids of all ages smile and to make any day a celebration.

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Recipe from Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes

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Ingredients

  • White Cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Paper baking cups
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Multicolored confetti sprinkles
  • Vanilla Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • Food coloring gel in your favorite colors
  • Toppings:
  • Sugar circus animals

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in extracts. Stir in 1/3 cup multicolored confetti sprinkles.
  3. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.
  5. To prepare Vanilla Frosting, beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Make 3 cups.
  6. Tint Vanilla Frosting with food coloring gels of your choice. Frost each cupcake with tinted frosting. Roll edges of each cupcake in confetti sprinkles, and top each with 1 sugar circus animal.
  7.  
Note:

The cake decorating experts at Dreamcakes suggest that you check out your local crafts store or look at cakedeco.com to buy sugar circus animals.

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