Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring Flutterbys

The first formal dance I went to in high school was a spring dance. I had no idea what I was supposed to wear, other than a formal. I had a long, navy blue velveteen dress that was quite elegant. But it had only straps and I thought that would be a tad chilly, so I put a shiny turtleneck on underneath. Boy, did I feel like the odd one out at the dance. All the other girls were wearing frothy confections in pastel colors. (If you've seen Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, you know what I'm talking about.) Everyone else looked like a spring garden, and I looked like the winter carpet, rolled up to go to the cleaner's.

Bad fashion memories aside, I think spring is the happiest season of the year. The drudgery of dreary winter is buried under a carpet of cherry blossoms, dainty flowers lift their cheerful heads to the sun, and the promise of warm summer is in the breeze.

My daughter needed a dessert to take to a meeting and in thumbing through my copy of Nigella Express I came across these adorable cupcakes. They are quick and delightfully simple to make and will lift the heart of any recipient with the thrill of seeing the first butterfly of spring. I made a double batch so I'd have even more joy to spread around. And if you want to cut corners and use a boxed cake mix, I won't tell!

Butterfly Cupcakes
- adapted from Nigella Express

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup heavy cream
food coloring of your choice
colored sugar crystals

1- Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F. If making a single batch, place a rack in the center of the oven. If making a double batch, position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. (Two, if doubling the recipe.)

2- Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.

3- Add the eggs one at a time with a little of the flour, beating after each addition.

4- Fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder and baking soda. Gently fold in the vanilla and the milk.

5- Spoon the batter into the paper liners, dividing equally.

6- Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cupcakes are cooked and golden on top. Take the cupcakes in the paper liners out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

7 - Once they're cool, cut off the mounded peak (if one has formed), digging down a little with your knife. This will leave a small hole you'll fill with cream. If the cupcakes haven't peaked, just cut a slightly wider circle, digging in as you do so. Cut the removed top into half to form the butterfly wings.

8- Whip the cream until thick, coloring with food coloring if you wish, and place about 2 tsp of cream in the hole of each cupcake. Stick the wings into the cream, rounded edges together. Sprinkle the colored sugar down the middle to form a butterfly body.

Serve soon after making or store in the refrigerator.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Haha!! I LOVE that movie - so yes, I understand the fashion faux pas ;0)

Nigella Lawson's recipes are always incredibly inspiring; and your version of those Butterfly Cupcakes are impeccable!! I'm sure that the lucky people at your daughter's meeting will LOVE them!

Anonymous said...

Very pretty Lynn. I like the different colours of the butterfly bodies.
The cream inside the cake sounds very likable/lickable!

Peabody said...

I remember seeing those. Very cute...and very Spring.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Very cute idea. (The cupcakes...not the turtleneck! Haha!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn...someone from another site told me you may have a recipe I'm looking for... I'm looking for a vanilla bean scone recipe. I've only found regular vanilla scone recipes but not vanilla bean. I'd appreciate it if you could let me know or send me a link to another site that may have it. Thank you and have a great day!

Gigi said...

Beautiful butterflies Lynn! They are perfect for a tea party.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Winter carpet all rolled up, box cake, you - never!

Love the Flutterbys! Girls just need to have fun!

grace said...

the description of your outfit conjured up a pretty hilarious image in my head. i've been there. let's just say there's a reason i chose a career involving food and not fashion... :)

Big Boys Oven said...

looks so cute, simple, original and yet beau!

Culinary Cowgirl said...

These make me homesick for my time in England. They are a staple at little girls birthday parties there. Nigella's recipe is straight-forward and so tasty. Bravo on yours!

Jaime said...

those butterflies are so cute!

RecipeGirl said...

So cute! I'm always looking for cutesie cupcake ideas and this definitely fits that bill!

(My godawful prom dress was lavender and white striped- ick - with lots of ruffles) Not a good memory!!

Anonymous said...

Oh I love those! They look delish and so summery!

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are so beautiful, Lynn. And delicate!

LyB said...

My daughter would love these, very girlie as she would say! Lovely!

Mama Mia said...

these cupcakes are so cute and perfect for spring! Love it!