Have a Mardi Gras party to attend? Or hosting your own Mardi Gras theme party? Try your hand at making these cute Mardi Gras cupcakes!
purple, green, and yellow gel color
gold or silver luster dust
small paint brush
purple, green, and yellow m&ms
purple, green, and yellow cupcake liners
#2 and #3 round decorating tips
2 bags confectioners’ sugar
white cake mix
1 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
Prep Day 1:
Draw or copy a mask image that you want to use. Be sure that your image will be an appropriate size for topping your cupcake. Darken your image/drawing enough so that it may be seen through parchment paper. Set it aside.
Decide where you want to make your masks. You will need to leave them to dry for several hours so choose a surface that is out of the way or work on a large piece of firm cardboard or large tray.
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
6 Tablespoons water
Gather the ingredients you will need to make the royal icing. Measure out the confectioners’ sugar and place it into your mixing bowl. Mix the meringue powder in with the confectioner’s sugar and add water one tablespoon at a time. The royal icing should be of a consistency so that you can comfortably pipe it through a pastry bag. If it’s too stiff add more water.
Separate royal icing into three bowls and tint each bowl a different color. Cover the green icing with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out. Prepare a pastry bag with a #2 tip and spoon the yellow icing into it. Fold over the top or secure with a rubber band and place upright into a glass with an inch of water in the bottom to keep the icing from drying out.
Prepare another pastry bag with a #3 tip and fill it with the purple icing. Rip off a large portion of parchment paper and place it on your work surface. Slide your mask image underneath the upper left corner of your parchment paper. Pipe the purple royal icing along the outside line of the mask and then trace the eyes. Trace the next mask underneath the first, leaving enough room to add your detail later, and continue until you have the number of masks you need. Make a couple extra just in case some break. Its easiest to work down in columns moving towards the right edge of the parchment paper.
Add some water to your green bowl until the icing is of a consistency that when you drizzle some of the icing back into the bowl it disappears back into the icing within a ten second interval. Spoon green icing into a pastry bag and carefully pipe inside the purple lines of your masks. Use a toothpick to move the icing into any gaps you left behind to make the masks one solid piece. When you are done filling all the masks let them dry for at least an hour.
Before you start using the yellow icing squeeze out a tiny amount of icing to make sure there is no water left in the tip. Pipe the details onto the masks. With the remaining yellow icing icing pipe the amount of fleur-de-lis you will need to top your cupcakes. To make the fleur-de-lis, pipe a bead of icing straight down then position your decorating tip halfway down the line you just piped and pipe the left curve, then the right.
Continue to let the masks and fleur-de-lis dry at least four hours or preferably overnight. Carefully test to see if the masks are dry by separating the edge of the mask away from the parchment paper. If it sticks it needs more time to dry. Your masks will break if you try to peel them away before they are completely dry. Be very careful!
Once your masks and fleur-de-lis are dry brush the luster dust on to give them a glittery look.
Prep Day 2:
Mix the cake batter as directed or prepare your own batter from scratch. When your cupcake batter is prepared fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full. Put one green, one yellow, and one purple m&m on top of each cupcake before putting them in the oven.
Bake as directed, cupcakes are done when they spring back when you lightly press the tops. The m&ms will sink down through the batter while baking and will leave streaks of color behind. I decided to use only three m&ms per cupcake, you may use more or decide to use mini m&ms too.
While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the sugar and buttercream.
2 cups white granulated sugar
3-4 drops purple gel color
Pour sugar into small food processor and add purple gel color. Pulse until sugar is uniformly purple. If you do not have a food processor you can work the color into the sugar by hand, it will take longer and turn your hand purple, but it can be done!
Spread the colored sugar out onto a large plate or cookie sheet and set aside.
1 cup room temperature butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
Whip the butter in the mixing bowl then add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time at low speed. Add in vanilla extract and then milk. Whip icing until creamy. Add enough purple gel color to reach the shade of purple you desire.
Prepare a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. Start from the outside edge and work inward, building up towards the center. This will give you a base to prop your mask against.
After you have iced the cupcakes, carefully roll the edges of your cupcakes through the purple sugar, giving an even coating all the way around the cupcake.
Carefully peel a mask from the parchment paper and place it at an angle on top of the cupcake. Stick a fleur-de-lis in the top center of the cupcake.
To honor the Mardi Gras king cake tradition, omit the m&ms from all the cupcakes except one. Whoever ends up with the m&m cupcake is Mardi Gras king or queen!