We celebrated my son's second birthday yesterday with some "out of this world" cupcakes!
Inspiration for these came from the 2010 Donna Hay Magazine kid's issue. Yes, I've had these cupcakes in my head for over one year! Finally the opportunity came to make them for myself.
I did not use Donna Hay's cake and frosting recipes. I will never use a Donna Hay recipe for cakes or frostings as in the past I have repeatedly had issues and failures with them. The recipes I used for my cupcakes were ones that I love and know will turn out properly and delicious. The chocolate cupcakes are vegan, and the vanilla buttercream, while not vegan, is my favorite vanilla frosting recipe. The recipes are below, although feel free to use your own favorite flavor combination.
A quick note about the vegan chocolate cupcakes: these cupcakes are very soft and moist and delicious. They are my favorite cupcake to bake. But I repeat, they are very soft and do fall apart easily. They would not be suitable for a heavy layer of frosting or lots of decorations.
Decorating these is extremely simple. Use Smarties or M&M's to place around the outside edges of the cupcakes (I used Smarties, but M&M's would be smaller and probably would look slightly better). The "alien" inside is a Starburst Sucks lollipop, in apple flavor. I had to trim the plastic lollipop stick to fit down into the cupcake. Finally, top the "alien" off with a tiny shot glass-sized clear plastic cup. Be sure to also use foil cupcake liners for the full UFO effect!
We placed two candles on our favorite UFO and our little guy blew them out! Happy Birthday!
These UFO cupcakes would be a hit at any children's party and being so easy to decorate, anyone at all could do it! If you make them for yourself or someone else, please share a photo with me - I'd love to see them!
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons almond meal
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- For the frosting:
- 6 ounces 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces confectioners’ sugar sifted
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- green food coloring – paste gel, powder or liquid is fine
- For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together, by hand, the coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the coconut milk mixture until it is uniform and smooth (do not overmix).
- Pour batter in liners, filling cups no more than ⅔ full (3 tablespoons of batter). Bake 18-20 inutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the frosting: Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla and enough food coloring to turn the frosting a bright pastel green, and beat until buttercream is smooth.