Build an edible garden on top of delicious cupcakes with this recipe, featuring marvelously rich buttercream icing.
YIELDS: 12 servings
TOTAL TIME: 0 hours 50 mins
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. whole milk
2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Crumbled graham crackers, gel food coloring, marshmallows, and candy pebbles, for decorating
* Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
* Make cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat granulated sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated before adding the next. Beat in vanilla.
* Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beating just until incorporated.
* Divide batter among muffin-pan cups (about 1/4 cup each) and bake until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
* To make buttercream: Using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, and salt on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add cream. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
* Spread about 2 Tbsp frosting over each cooled cupcake and top with crumbled graham crackers for “sand” if desired. Tint remaining frosting and use, with marshmallows and candy pebbles, to decorate as desired. For buttercream decorations, pipe and freeze until firm; transfer to cupcake.
* For the cactus: Using a leaf tip, pipe stripes over a marshmallow, then pipe on white dots and colored “flowers.”
* For each succulent: Using a leaf or star tip, pipe short spikes on a parchment-lined flower nail.
* For each rose: Using a petal tip, pipe concentric petals on a parchment-lined flower nail.