Adventures in Natural Cupcakes: From “Ick!” to “Aww!”

As my readers know, last month we celebrated a very special birthday (little guy turned 3!) with a fun party and gourmet cupcakes from a local cupcakery. I got to thinking perhaps I should attempt to make some gourmet-ish cupcakes myself. I try to be as healthy as possible though we are not afraid of the occasional treat. But even when we have treats I like to keep them reasonably healthy. Lately I’ve decided there is just no need for all this artificial crap (flavors & colors) and I’ve been determined to eliminate it and find natural alternatives. So, in my quest to make reasonably healthy, natural and gourmet-like cupcakes I’ve had some interesting experiences. First of all, I discovered a delicious and all natural cupcake mix from my favorite store, good ol’ Trader Joe’s.

This vanilla mix makes a delicious cupcake!  cupcake mix

With half the battle conquered, it was on to the frosting. I wanted to keep the fat and calories down so I attempted to use a reduced fat butter cream recipe. First of all, it did not work for décor purposes as it was not substantial enough to pipe and just laid there in a glob (Sadly, I did not take photos of this monstrosity.) Secondly, it also apparently contained a strange ingredient which caused the Hubby to break out in hives. Then I found a regular Butter cream recipe used by the folks at the famous Sprinkles cupcakes. I ended up slightly reducing the sugar and cutting the entire recipe in half and it was still plenty to use for a dozen cupcakes. I also used this vanilla which I highly recommend:


The next trick was to get it colored naturally. I ordered a natural food coloring from my local health food store with very disappointing and frankly rather disgusting looking results. Combined with the fact that I did not have the proper size round tip to pipe the frosting on the way it should be and I ended up with this:

cupcake mistake

Scary, isn’t it? It looks a little an albino earthworm crawled on top.

So, I did some research and found a different natural food coloring and TA DA! The perfect pink! (I haven’t tried the other colors yet.) I still have not been able to find the large round tip so I decided to simply use the large round opening of the coupler itself with no tip and it worked much the way I wanted it to. To top off the cupcakes, literally, I found naturally colored sugar crystals as well as delicious naturally colored Sunspire chocolate drops in beautiful pastel colors. This is the end result:

 cupcake success cupcake

We recently celebrated my Mom’s 81st birthday with these and I was pleased with the taste and looks. Move over, Martha!

1 comment:

June said...

Very lovely looking cupcakes. I am sure they are very tastey too. Be sure and post the recipe sometime. I am sure your mother was very happy as well. Speaking of Martha...I'm sure she probably already carries the perfect tip you needed for the frosting..glad you had success without! Its a good thing!!! lol