I quickly tire of swirls of icing, so I am always looking for new ways to decorate those small pieces of wonder called cupcakes. When I saw McCormick’s Hello Flower Cupcakes, using sliced marshmallows and colored sugar, sprinkles, and coconut to create flowers on cupcakes, I knew I would give them a try.
Have you ever heard that it requires the same amount of energy to go from 0 to 90 percent that it does to go from 90 to 100 percent? I am great at the 0 to 90, but the 90 to 100 gets me every time. I am definitely motivated by seeing my progress, so those final details at the end just do not provide the same boost as creating something larger. This is a problem because it’s the 90 to 100 that really makes things look nice!
I was slightly skeptical I could color the sugar, sprinkles, and coconut as nicely as store-bought decorations, but the color took to the ingredients very easily and looked vibrant. My tendency was to set the marshmallow on its flat end and cut, but you actually want to lay the marshmallow down horizontally like a small log and slice it into rounds. I found it helpful to coat my knife now and again with non-stick cooking spray to get a smooth marshmallow slice.
While sacrificing the cleanliness of my teeny-tiny kitchen to make what I hoped would turn out to be cute cupcakes, I couldn’t help but wish I lived closer to my two-and-a-half-year-0ld niece. I really could have used some help dipping those pedals, and I’m pretty sure she could have done just as good of a job as I did. I think my cupcakes looked more messy than awe-inspiring, but sometimes it is the experience that counts. At least that is what I am telling myself.
Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes
- For the Cupcakes
- 2/3 cup soy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup light agave nectar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the Decorations
- vanilla frosting
- assorted food colors
- green-colored sugar
- large marshmallows
- colored sprinkles, sugar or coconut (see notes)
- small gumdrops
- Place the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and allow it to sit two to three minutes to curdle.
- Once curdled, beat in the agave nectar, canola oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the wells of a muffin tin lined with cupcake papers, about 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean.
- When cool, decorate the cupcakes by tinting the frosting green and frosting the tops.
- Place the green-colored sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the edge of each cupcake in colored sugar.
- Cut several marshmallows crosswise into 4 slices with kitchen scissors or a knife.
- Place the colored sprinkles, sugar, or coconut in small bowl.
- Press one of the cut sides of each marshmallow piece into the colored sprinkles, etc. to coat
- Repeat with remaining marshmallows until you have all the petals you need for decorating.
- Arrange four to five marshmallow petals on top of each cupcake to resemble a flower, pressing the marshmallows into the frosting. Place a gumdrop in the center of the cupcake to complete the flower.
To make colored decorations, place white sprinkles or nonpareils, white decorating sugar, or coconut in large resealable plastic bag. For 1 cup sprinkles, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon food color. For 1 cup sugar, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon food color. For 1 cup coconut, add 1/4 teaspoon food color. Seal the bag and knead until the color is evenly distributed. Spread the colored sprinkles, sugar or coconut on a large rimmed baking sheet and allow to sit for 15 to 30 minutes or until dried. Store in airtight container.