One of the stars of the dessert table for Little Girl's Sleeping Beauty-themed birthday party were these cupcakes. Our party had a theme of "Make it pink! Make it blue!" from the scene where Fauna (the pink fairy) and Merryweather (the blue fairy) fight over what color Aurora's dress is going to be. Little Girl loves that scene and loves to play it out with me in dress up. Here I recreated it in the form of a cupcake! The cupcake itself is moist and yummy blue velvet -- it tastes just like the classic red velvet but with a deep blue hue. The frosting is simple pink vanilla buttercream that I tinted hot pink with food gel. You can certainly do the same to the traditional cream cheese frosting if you want that tang. I piped the frosting in a spray rose pattern (if you're up for it, try a larger rose pattern) to reference Briar Rose. And then I used blue crystals and pink sanding sugar with a "heavy spray," mimicking as if the fairies zapped the cupcakes with their wands to make it pink or blue!
I personally love everything about this cupcake. It tastes yummy and rich and moist, it presents and photographs amazingly, and with a few tricks of food coloring it looks a lot harder to make than they really were. I baked the cupcakes the night before and wrapped them in plastic wrap after they cooled completely. Then I tinted the frosting and refrigerated it the night before. Then the morning of the party, all I needed to do was bring the frosting up to room temperature, frost, and sprinkle. Voila! Done. And some added Aurora decor by way of these super adorable cupcake toppers (courtesy of A Paper Playground) completed the look.
Sleeping Beauty Cupcakes: Blue Velvet with Pink Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1.5 cups vegetable oil1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp good vanilla extract
2 Tbsp royal blue gel paste food coloring
1 Tbsp purple gel paste food coloring
1.5 cups sugar
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1.5 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 container vanilla frosting
dab of pink gel paste food coloring
hot pink sanding sugar
blue crystal sprinkles
48 blue or pink colored cupcake liners (you're going to double up on the liners)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line 2 cupcake pans with one set of liners. Save the other 24 liners for after baking.
Combine the vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, blue, and purple food colorings in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or conversely, in a very large mixing bowl if you're using a handheld electric mixer). In another bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once to make sure the batter is all mixed evenly. Scoop out batter into the lined cupcake pans, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The cook time will depend on how powerful your oven is (mine are ready at exactly 14 minutes! yours can take even 30 minutes depending on your oven!). Let stand in pan for 2 minutes, then gently remove and let stand on a cooling rack. Add the second paper liner for each cupcake. You're using two liners so the colors can come out and present better; if you used just one liner then it will blend to much into the cupcake.
To frost, place frosting in a plastic piping bag fitted with desired tip. To make the spray rose effect I did, start from the middle of the cupcake and pipe center to out. Don't worry about it being one perfect swirl; in fact, go a little crooked on purpose to create the proper effect. Once you've frosted, take a large pinch of pink sprinkles in one hand and hold the cupcake over the sink in the other. Give one hard dash of the sprinkles on one half of the cupcake. Turn and repeat with the blue. I like placing the cupcakes on a tiered platter for presentation. And add your topper if using. Enjoy!
This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
A note on food colorings....
There's a difference (HUGE) between food coloring and color gel paste. Food coloring is often diluted down; color gel paste is extremely concentrated. By extremely, I mean just dipping a toothpick into the gel paste will tint an entire container of store-bought frosting pink. So if you're using the gel paste, please start off extremely small and add gradually. Or, you'll end up using 40 containers of frosting to pale it back up!