Well, it is finally Election Day. And, I for one, will be glad to see it go. I am tired of the bad-mouthing tv ads, and ready to move on. I am hoping that the end of the election will signal a positive change for the direction of our country. (And, keeping my fingers crossed behind my back.)
So, rather than focusing on the craziness and remaining glued to my tv all night long, I am planning on making some fun food and celebrating the country that I am proud to live in - where I have the opportunity to vote and "make my voice heard".
Chocolate and Vanilla Election Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, preferably European-style, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
Vanilla Frosting (recipe below)
1 (24-ounce) package fondant
Red or blue paste food coloring
Silver edible glitter
Red, white, and blue nonpareils
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, add milk and vanilla extract; stir to combine and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk mixture; beat until just combined. Add cocoa powder and beat until just combined. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pans for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large 5/8-inch round tip (such as Ateco No. 808). Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and set aside. Meanwhile, press your thumb into the center of the fondant to make a well. Place a small amount of food coloring (red for Republican, blue for Democrat) in the well and knead fondant until color is well blended. Continue to add more food coloring to fondant until desired color is achieved. Roll out into a 1/16-inch-thick sheet.
To make Republican elephants, cut out 12 elephant shapes using 2-inch elephant cutters. Sprinkle with edible glitter. To make Democrat donkeys, cut out 12 bear shapes using a 2-inch bear cutter. Using a 2-inch daisy cutter, cut out enough daisy shapes so that you have 36 petals; sprinkle bear shaped and daisy petal fondant with edible glitter. Top each cupcake with a fondant elephant or bear, using two daisy petals to make donkey ears on each bear and one petal to make the tail. Sprinkle cupcakes with nonpareils and serve.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined.
Elephants and Donkeys too much for you? Here are some other ideas:
*Top your cupcakes with an American flag design. Use shoestring licorice for the stripes of the flag and blue frosting piped stars.
*Make star-shaped sugar cookies and frost in red, white and blue. Or, frost with white frosting and sprinkle with red and blue sugar.
*Make one sheet cake and decorate as an American flag. (Think 4th of July.)