The king's cake is believed to have originated in France on or around the 12th century. The yeast cakes are made round to symbolize the circular route that was used by the wise men and traditionally an item such as a bean, coin or a small plastic baby to represent the Christ child is placed inside. I didn't bake a king's cake this year for Mardi Gras nor did I hide anything inside, but instead opted to do cupcakes with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream decorated with the traditional bright colors; Purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power. Laissez le bon temps rouler...Let the good times roll!
Another tradition that my mother started was to have pancakes on "Fat Tuesday." I use to believe we got pancakes for dinner because we were suppose to fast for the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday and didn't get a meal again until dinner that night! However, I so looked forward to my mother's buttermilk pancakes for dinner, whatever the reason, and I hope these cupcakes create the same sweet effect before the start of Lent for your families.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. Princess Cake/Cookie flavoring
3 cups cake flour (I used Queen Guinevere's Organic)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Line muffin pans with "tulip" parchment cups or cupcake cups. In the KitchenAid bowl, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With mixer running add eggs, vanilla and flavoring. Meanwhile, sift the dry ingredients and add to the bowl, alternating with the buttermilk, ending with the flour. Beat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated
Use a 1/3 scoop to fill the cups. Makes 24 regular sized cupcakes or 12 extra large. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites (use the leftover egg yolks to make Creme Brulee!)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. pute vanilla extract (or your favorite flavoring)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
In the KitchenAid bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar and whisk together. Place them over a pan of simmering water to create a double-boiler. While whisking constantly, cook 5 to 7 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature of the egg white mixture reaches 140F-degrees. (Use a candy thermometer.) Remove the bowl, wipe the bottom with a towel, and place it back onto the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Turn the mixer to a medium speed and add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing until all the butter is incorporated. Your mixture may look like it's "curdled", but don't be alarmed. Turn the mixer up to a higher speed and watch it come together into the most luscious buttercream. Add the vanilla or your favorite flavoring.
I used a 6B tip to pipe the frosting, then sprinkled with colored sugar in the colors of Mardi Gras. Enjoy!