Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Green Velvet Cupcakes

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and I couldn't resist trying something different to celebrate the occasion.  Oh, there will be Irish Soda Bread, for sure, but today, I was thinking on the sweeter side with these cupcakes.  I changed up my red velvet cake recipe with green gel color, added a white chocolate "gold" nugget in the middle, then, topped it off with a white chocolate/cream cheese frosting...sprinkled with more gold!

During the 19th century, thousands of impoverished Irish citizens came to British North America and the United States.  My grandfather said the Tierney family came through Canada because they didn't have papers to enter Ellis Island.  Since the 1840 Great Potato Famine brought so many settlers, I suppose they could have been in that group.  My great grandfather, William Henry, lost his family to illness and was raised on a remote island in the Chesapeake Bay--Tangier Island.  My dad sailed to this island to see where his grandfather grew up and said it was as if time stood still, but it maintains the fishing and crabbing industry that it was well known for. When he was there, only a few people had automobiles and he saw the one room schoolhouse that his grandfather attended.  As the story goes, my great-grandfather left the island at age 16 to join the navy and was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Constitution; the oldest commissioned boat in the navy.  It was retired in 1881 and he received a medal for being on the ship that has been passed down to the first son--my grandfather, my dad, my brother, and now my nephew--all of them are named William!

Green Velvet Cupcakes with a Gold Nugget Center and White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest from 1 lime
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 "tube" green food gel
2 1/2 cups + 2 T King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)

Gold Nuggets:
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
2T peach or apricot jam  (if you use apricot, make sure you mince any large pieces of fruit)
In a double boiler, warm the jam first (if it's from the refrigerator), then, add the white chocolate chips.  As the chips melt, stir to combine.  Use a scoop to drop the mixer onto a parchment lined tray, then refrigerate.

I actually cute these into quarters to resemble a nugget! 
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and line 18 openings of a muffin pan with liners.  
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the first seven ingredients together, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and with the mixer on low, slowly add the buttermilk.  Mix just until combines.  Remove from stand and give the batter a stir with the rubber spatula to make sure all ingredients are combined.  
Fill the cupcake liners half-way up. Then add the nugget and fill 2/3 full.

 Bake in the preheated oven about 18 to 20 minutes until done.  Remove from the oven and cool completely--about 1 hour.  This recipe makes 18 cupcakes.

White Chocolate~Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 cup of white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave

6 cups confectioners' sugar
juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 T)

Gold Sprinkles

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, melted white chocolate and half of the confectioners' sugar together.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  Add the lime juice and the remaining confectioners' sugar and mix once again, whipping it to a fluffy state.  Use your favorite tube to pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.  As a final touch, sprinkle Pearlized Gold Sugar Crystals over frosting.
The cupcakes are moist and the nugget will be the treasure at the end of the rainbow.
 ...and may God hold you in hallow of His hand. Enjoy!


  1. I read an article once about the people on the island still having such strong accents because they have not been around the "masses of humanity".

  2. That's what my dad said too! When he was telling us about the island, I could tell he had a strong connection seeing where his grandfather grew up. Thank you for stopping by, XOXO

  3. They still speak with an accent that is quite interesting! Tangier is an interesting island--you can take a ferry and have delicious crab cakes in a quaint little restaurant there.
    Your cupcakes are beautiful Susan. I love the suprise in the middle. Irish blessings to you! xoxo ♥
    Martha Ellen

  4. What interesting family history! I enjoyed reading that. And it goes without saying that these are very nifty St.Patrick's cupcakes.

  5. How very creative of you! I love your family history too.

  6. It isn't easy being green!! (Tee-hee)

    Dick and I sailed to Tangier Island in 1984 and it was truly like stepping back in time! We had a difficult time understanding Cockney that the fishermen spoke on the docks. We ate a wonderful family style meal at "Hilda Crockett's" and we enjoyed walking the entire island! Dick and I had planned to take the ferry over to Tangier a few years ago for our anniversary but plans were changed because of a hurricane! Hopefully we will get another opportunity.

    As I recall, the story about Great-grandfather Tierney was that he received the medal for bravery for saving the life of a drowning fellow sailor.

    1. That's why you're my older remember those things better than me:-D

  7. Very fun! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  8. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! what fancy cupcakes!
    stamping sue

  9. I love that old Irish blessing. My kids would love those cupcakes with the "surprise" in the center. Have a fabulous day!

    1. Me too! My mom sent me that card when we moved to California--it was the first time I lived far away and I was missing the St. Patrick's Day celebration she'd always have. I framed it and it's been with me in every home we've lived in since. XOXO

  10. They looked divine even *before* I knew there was chocolate in the center. My frosting never looks anything like yours, but I know if I follow your recipe, it will still taste good! xoxox

  11. I love this! My grandson Asher loves it when I make green baked goods for him. This is a definite must for St. Pat's day.

    Hope you are well and happy.

    Thinking of you,


    1. It must be the Green Eggs & Ham thing that kids just love! I've been thinking of you too and wondering how your new grandson is doing, XOXO

  12. These look really good! I'll try to do this.

  13. Breakfast! :) These look amazing and so fun! Happy St. Patrick's Day, my friend. Lv, me

  14. These look so wonderful! I hope you have something in store for Pi(e) Day today!!

  15. Great family history; beautiful cupcakes!

  16. wow how interesting! i would love to visit that island. how special you have history with it susan. i would like to eat one of those cupcakes right this minute!

  17. Green speaks to me! And with white chocolate filling and creamy filling, these cupcakes are not only beautiful, also very delectable, Susan.

  18. What a fun idea! And I love the spring look of your blog! :)

  19. Yet another great recipe and so creative! My mother-in-law's family was from Ireland (Mullane) but we don't know a lot about their story. We need to find out...I loved reading yours