Floral Cupcakes for Chinese New Year

Earl grey cupcakes with Speculoos Filing + Lemon Cupcakes filled with Lemon Curd and Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
Things that went well:
Things that went not-so-well:
Chinese New Year Floral Cupcakes
makes 16 cupcakes
Ingredients
Vanilla Cupcake recipe adapted from The Cupcake Project1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
3 Earl Grey teabags
Zest of 1 lemon

Lemon Curd recipe from Eugenie Kitchen

Speculoos Filling

2 tablespoon Speculoos Cookie Butter
2 tablespoon buttercream

Buttercream recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

120g butter, room temperature
160g icing sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp salt
Food coloring of your choice

Lemon Cream Cheese recipe from Epicurious

113 g cream cheese, room temperature
57 g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon curd
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make vanilla cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).

In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.

Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid.

Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.

When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.

Variations:

Earl Grey: Infuse whole milk with the leaves of 3 earl grey teabags. Heat on stovetop until it just comes to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Cool and use the earl grey milk in place of regular milk. Use the earl grey milk in the buttercream as well.

Lemon: Add zest of 1 lemon to the final batter.

To make Speculoos filling:

Mix equal parts of Speculoos cookie butter and buttercream.

To make buttercream frosting:

Beat butter at medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed and add the icing sugar a little at a time. Beat well after each addition. Add salt to taste.

To make lemon cream cheese frosting:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in lemon curd and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until just firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

To assemble:

Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill it by piping in the lemon curd or Speculoos filling.

To pipe flowers, I used the Wilton 103 for the chrysanthemums, Wilton 103 for the rose, and Wilton 2D for the hydrangeas.

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