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Natalee’s Memorial Day Cupcakes

Posted by Hallee on May 28, 2010 in Desserts, Hallee's Galley, Holiday fare, Recipes |

Doctor Natalee: Cupcake Artist, Guest Blogger

My friend Natalee is a veterinarian living in Washington state with her husband and 2 awesome kids. Imported from Canada some years ago, she does things with cupcakes you just cannot believe.You can find her other amazing contributions to the blog here.  I wrote her a couple of weeks ago and  asked if she could do a cupcake for Memorial Day.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when she decided to do something with Forget-Me-Nots.  These flowers are traditional memorials for Canada’s Newfoundland’s war dead instead of the Flanders Poppies that are popular in America.  These cupcakes are beautiful.  She named them “Red, White, and Blueberry Cupcakes with Forget-Me-Nots.”    — Hallee

Memorial Day Cupcakes: Red, White and Blueberry cupcakes with Forget-Me-Nots

Let me start out by saying let’s remember why we have a three day weekend coming up.  Remember all those who have fallen so that we might enjoy the freedom that we so cherish.  Please also lets give a moment of silence to those very important men and women at 3 p.m. on Monday May 31st

Let me also say this, “My name is Natalee, and I’m a perfectionist.”  Now that is out of the way, whew!  These cupcakes for some reason had a curse on me.  Some of my missteps are a bit more humorous then others.  :)

I thought a fitting tribute to the day would be a blend of patriotic cake with forget-me-not flowers on top.  I have provided two ways to create the forget-me-nots as not all of us are Hallee.  :)

I first created Red, White, and Blueberry cakes (Red Velvet cupcakes from Hallee’s recipe and filled them with Blueberry Pie filling and topped with Hallee’s Mascarpone Frosting).

Blueberry Pie Filling

(for 24 cupcakes I halved this recipe)

¾ cup sugar
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries (drain if frozen)
6 tbsp. flour
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter

In saucepan combine sugar, flour, spices, zest, and slowly add water.  Mix in blueberries and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly but gently so as to not crush the berries.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Here I show you the cone method of filling a cupcake, where you use a knife to cut a cone out of the center of the cake.

Cut the top of the cone off.

Fill.

Replace the “lid”.

Very effective for pretty much any filling especially if you are dealing with a dense cake that would not take kindly to piping a filling inside or if like here you have a very lumpy filling.

Now some decorating ideas.

First misstep I made the frosting, and ran out of icing sugar to thicken it better for decorating…hence the sloppy appearance to my flowers (if you were using a stiffer frosting they will hold their shape much better).  Second misstep also frosting based, forgot to save WHITE frosting to put flowers on after thinking up cool swirl idea for cupcakes…this leads to BUSY BUSY looking cupcakes.  Third misstep, uhm, I think I should wear gloves when this much red food coloring is in play!  I might have some explaining to do for my clients tomorrow at least it is now pink and less ‘suspicious’ looking.  Also a first I managed to spare the countertops from needing a desperate scouring with alcohol.

First a simple patriotic swirl.  This is achieved by painting the inside of your pastry bag before putting your plain colored frosting into it.  It doesn’t matter if your painting is perfect, it will look GREAT when it’s piped out.

Forget-Me-Nots
First way (aka the Hallee way) piping them.

Tint some frosting light blue (or pink or leave white if you like they come in those colors too) and a smaller amount light yellow

Use a 101 tip if you have one (I couldn’t find mine so I had to use a plastic 104 so my flowers are big, real forget-me-nots are about half of the size of a dime, tiny, brilliant and beautiful.)   Demonstrating this with pictures was hard so I’ll try to describe it and again if you are working with a stiffer frosting you will get better results.  I ran out of icing sugar and was left with my mascarpone frosting.

I held the wide tip out from the center of the flower and moved the tip in a slight oval motion while piping the frosting out before easing up on the pressure to the bag and returning to center and gently lifting up at the end.  repeat for 4 more petals.  I find holding the cupcake in my hand so I could gently rotate it to place the next petal slightly overlapping the previous one made it much easier than putting it on the table to do.

Once you have all five petals you’ll want a yellow center, I just used a ziplock bag and cut the corner off and piped a small yellow dot in the center.

Second way (aka the anybody can do this with no sweat way) mini marshmallows.

Your muse, the commercial mini marshmallow, full of horrible ingredients but oh so wonderful in hot cocoa.  I don’t know what it is that even though I make my own marshmallows for home use, there is something about these darned mini marshmallows that they just HAVE to come along for a camping trip and cocoa.  Then their big brothers and sisters also have to tag along for the s’mores….mmmm….s’mores….but I digress….

Cut mini marshmallows diagonally.

Cut straight down, do not move knife back and forth or you will be left with small balls of marshmallow instead of the petal shape.

Press the cut edge gently in blue sugar.

Arrange as five petals, pipe center yellow dot and voila!

Hallee


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