Sunday, 6 June 2010

Mad Hatter Cupcakes and Free Downloadable Toppers

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for being absent for a few weeks. It's been a bit of a crazy one at work and at home and then we had to spend last weekend in Liverpool. Don't ask me about it, we had an awful time and I may explode with anger when ranting about it. The only good things to come of it were buying a sprinkle covered pretzel, visiting Tate Liverpool and the Picasso exhibit, M&S chocolate brownie dessert and finally, finding this postcard in Paperchase.

Postcard from Paperchase

See that cake that the birds are sitting in? That's a Saint Honore cake from legendary french patisserie Laduree. That's a pricey cake right there. So who the hell would think to cut it open, drain out the rose creme patissiere and stick some fake birds in it? That's the kind of imagination I could only wish to have. Props to you crazy bird cake person, whoever you may be.

FYI the pretzel tasted pretty lame, but boy was it pretty. I'm a sucker for anything with sprinkles on, although to be honest I'm not big on the taste.

Sprinkle Pretzel

But anyway, back to the cupcakes. I had been pretty stuck on what recipe to do this week, I wanted it to be a goodie as I've missed a few weeks and when the lovely Tara called to order some cupcakes for a Mad Hatters Tea Party my mind got a whirring. Of course they'd have to be a little crazy, but not so crazy that they tasted gross. Visual kookiness was key and I think I hit that combination of looking pretty but tame from the outside and containing a lovely surprise inside.

I ended up trying Hummingbird Bakery's standard vanilla cake recipe which is a good standby, not as good as my go to vanilla but still tasty and pretty moist. The frosting was a combination of vanilla flavoured white and strawberry flavoured grey swirled together. And what was the surprise inside? Well here you go...

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

Mad Hatter's Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 standard American size cupcakes
Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp each of blue, red, green and yellow food colourings
extra plain flour for thickening the coloured batter if needed

Preheat the oven to 170 C / 325 F.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter until it reaches a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and mix until well incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk in a seperate bowl and then add to the flour mixture. Beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl sides if needed and then mixing for a further few minutes until the mixture is thickened and smooth.

Divide the mixture equally between four bowls. One at a time tint the batters with the food colourings, the strength of colour varies depending on which make of food dye you use. Gel colourings are best as they are more concentrated and therefore need less adding to give a good bright hue.

Add one teaspoon of colouring at a time, you want a really vivid colour to the batters. If when the correct colour is achieved the mixture is quite thin add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it is back to the consistency it was before adding the dye.

Split each colour of batter between twelve standard American cupcake cases so that there is a little of each of the four colours in each one - you should end up with something like the image below.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are slightly browned and the cake springs right back when touched. Leave to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

Vanilla and Strawberry Monotone Frosting
Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes with a little leftover

500g sifted icing sugar
160g unsalted butter at room temperature
50ml milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1-2 drops concentrated strawberry flavouring oil
1-2 tsp black food colouring

Large 14" piping bag
Extra large closed star tip
Card suit sugar sprinkles
Gold edible glitter
12 Eat Me cupcake toppers - link below

Beat the butter and half the icing sugar until well combined, then add the milk and remaining sugar. Mix until smooth and thoroughly combined and then divide between two bowls. Add the vanilla to one and mix thoroughly. Next add the black food colouring to the second bowl along with the concentrated strawberry flavouring oil and beat until smooth and there are no streaks in the colour.

Put both the colours of frosting into the piping bag trying to keep one colour to each side of the bag in order to give a good stripe. Squeeze the icing out of the bag until you start to see the stripe in the icing and then frost the cupcakes squeezing the bag gently and using a circular motion so as to cover the cakes completely.

Sprinkle or place on the card suit sprinkles as quickly as possible so they stick before the frosting starts to set and then add a little shake of gold edible glitter to each. Stick an Eat Me cake topped into the centre of each frosting swirl and arrange on a lovely platter ready for a wonderfully mad tea party.

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

I use a brand of gel food colours called Americolor which I order from an amazing US website called Bake It Pretty - click here for a link to the product on their website. You should browse anyway, it's such a gorgeous site!

You can also buy the concentrated flavouring oils from there site - click here for a link. You can use them to flavour just about anything - cakes, frostings, chocolate, fudge, candy, drinks, cookies and much much more.

Eat Me Cupcake Toppers - Ok guys, click here or on the image below for a link to the downloadable cupcake topper templates.

Eat Me Cupcake Toppers - The Inky Kitchen

I cut mine out using a 2" scalloped circle paper punch which you can get from several online craft shops and stuck them together with a cocktail stick between using double sided tape.

I bought my card suit sprinkles from eBay along with the gold edible glitter and my black cupcake cases.

If any of you give them a try do send me photos of your results!!!

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen


  1. They are beautiful! I have been thinking of trying rainbow cake. Alas I am currently without a proper kitchen. Soon!

  2. You'll have to post a picture when you've done them! I love love love rainbow cake!!!

  3. I found this picture while looking for a card suit cupcake for our mad hatter tea party. Who sold the card suit sprinkles on ebay? I can't find them no matter what I search for on there! I may just have to make some out of fondant. Thanks!

  4. Love the cupcakes, can you tell me where to find the edible card suit sprinkles?