Here's a recipe for these fun color wheel cupcakes from this new cookbook by blogger Heather Baird of SprinkleBakes. Stay tuned for a contest to win a copy! Reprinted with permission from SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist © 2012 by Heather Baird, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co. Photographs @2012 by Heather Baird.
COLOR WHEEL CUPCAKES
YIELD: Approximately 20 cupcakes
This exercise will teach you the basics of color mixing. While mixing your own color wheel of cupcakes, use the color wheel as a guide while following the recipe instructions.
¼ pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 small bottle (1 ounce) red gel food coloring
1 small bottle (1 ounce) blue gel food coloring
1 small bottle (1 ounce) yellow gel food coloring
Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners.
2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the sugar mixture alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping down the bowl between additions.
6. Fill the cupcake liners halfway with the batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a rack to cool completely before icing.
Make the Swiss buttercream:
1. Set a medium saucepan one-quarter full of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
2. Whisk together the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof mixing bowl.
3. Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar has melted. Cook until the mixture feels hot to the touch.
4. Remove the bowl from the top of the saucepan, wipe the bottom with a towel, and transfer the contents to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
5. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture has doubled in size and has cooled, about 10 minutes. The mixer bowl should feel cool to the touch.
6. Switch to the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on medium-low. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
7. Add the vanilla and beat again until it is completely incorporated and the icing is fluffy.
8. To mix the colors, in three separate bowls, divide the icing evenly and mix each primary color with the icing: 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 red. Mixing icing color is different from mixing paint because each food coloring is blended with white frosting and not a singular pigment. White lightens pigment, so add a large amount of food coloring to each frosting bowl. It’s a good idea to dedicate an entire 1-ounce bottle of each primary coloring for this project.
9. After each color is mixed, frost 3 cupcakes with about ½ cup of each color and place them in a triangle on your work surface. Place the yellow at the top, the blue to the bottom left, and the red to the bottom right.
10. In another bowl, mix equal parts (2 or 3 tablespoons each) of yellow and red icing to make orange. Frost a cupcake with the orange icing and place it between the yellow and red cupcakes.
11. In yet another bowl, mix equal parts (2 to 3 tablespoons each) yellow and blue icing to make green. Frost a cupcake with the green icing and place it between the yellow and blue cupcakes.
12. In still another bowl, mix equal parts red and blue (2 to 3 tablespoons each) to make purple (or violet). Frost a cupcake with the purple icing and set it between the red and blue cupcakes. These are your secondary colors. Note: Tertiary colors are created by mixing a primary color with its “offspring.”You may need to mix more secondary colors (orange, green, and purple) to produce tertiary colors.
13. Mix equal parts of red and orange icing to make red-orange icing. Frost a cupcake and place it between the red and orange cupcakes.
14. Continue this process with red and violet to make violet-red; blue and violet to make blue-violet; blue and green to make blue-green; green and yellow to make yellow-green; and yellow and orange to make yellow-orange. Your color wheel is now complete. You may have leftover icing and a few extra cupcakes. Frost the extra cupcakes and enjoy!