Friday, March 16, 2012

Trying My Luck with Lucky Charms Cupcakes

"Multi-Layer Perfection"-- that's at least how people are describing these adorable, tasty holiday treats! 

After Nathan came home from work one day last week, he mentioned that there would be a contest the Friday before St. Patrick's day featuring green goodies from the kitchen.  I immediately chose to meet that challenge and became determined to win this little office competition.  My weapon of choice: Lucky Charms Cupcakes! 

Wow.  Not only are these absolutely adorable, they are absolutely delicious!  Start with a lucky charms crust, pour on a vanilla cupcake batter mixed with more cereal, then top with frosting and marshmallow pieces.  How much more fun can a cupcake get?  And to follow the rules of the game, I tossed some green food coloring into the mix!

I found the recipe on Stef's blog, Cupcake Project, and chose to use her Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe as the batter.  They turned out moist and flavorful and I am tucking that recipe away as a keeper for all future vanilla-flavored cupcakes!!  In addition, it does call for cake flour, which I do not have, but you can make your own simply by combining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1 cup all-purpose flour; therefore, I have written my version below.  Hope you enjoy these as much as we (and Nathan's office) did!

Here's the full "review" I got in an email from a co-worker.  I was pretty pleased:

"Holy cow Nathan, you need to advertise those babies better.
The adorable little decorations on the top are only the start.
That cupcake was multi layer perfection.
Was that a Lucky Charm crust at the bottom? Really cute and tasty.
Tell Chelsea I really enjoyed her treats."

Lucky Charms Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the Crust:
3 cups crushed Lucky Charms (a mini food processor works well for this)
5 tablespoons butter, melted

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake Recipe (+Lucky Charms):
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1 cup Lucky Charms cereal
Green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix together crushed Lucky Charms and melted butter.  Divide mixture evenly between ten cupcake liners.  Pack it firmly into the bottoms of the liners.  Bake for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean or vanilla extract.  Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.  Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  Blend in food coloring.  Fold in Lucky Charms.  Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again in two minutes.  If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.  When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.

Top with vanilla frosting and Lucky Charms marshmallows.

**Note:  Put the marshmallows on shortly before serving as they tend to get wet and soggy after a few hours.

Adapted from Cupcake Project.

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