It’s always so exciting to receive requests for unusual cupcakes. It’s a challenge to find or create a great cupcake recipe. Then, it’s a challenge to design the decorations. I recently had a request for cheesecake cupcakes for a “Night In Atlantis” themed prom party.
My first thought on decorations with an underwater theme was seahorses. Now, I love to paint on Royal icing, so I knew that was the direction I wanted to take. I started by coloring the royal icing light brown and piping and flooding the outline of a seahorse. After 24 hours and the seahorses where dry, I painted them. Using brown food color (mix, red, blue and green together) I used a food safe sponge to dab on color and a food safe brush to paint on the details. (A tutorial for painting on Royal icing is here.)
Note: If you choose to make Royal icing decorations, they must be made 2-3 days ahead of time. They can be stored in the refrigerator for almost forever.
The “seaweed” is melted white chocolate. Pour a small amount of chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 5 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Pour into a zip-lock bag and cut off a small corner. Pipe irregular lines into a fan shape. Make extra to allow for breakage.
Now on to the best cheesecake cupcakes recipe (credit: Joy of Baking ) and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
Note: It’s best to make the cupcakes a day before decorating and serving to give them time to set up.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- t Tbls. sugar
- 4-5 Tbls. butter, melted
- 2 8 oz. pkgs. full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 3 Tbls. vanilla extract) 1
- 1 Tbls. heavy cream
- blue gel coloring
Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tins with 12 paper liners.
Make the crusts: In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar and melted butter. Press a heaping tablespoon of crumbs into the bottoms of the 12 cupcake liners. Press down the crumbs with a juice glass. Cover and refrigerate while making the filling.
Filling: On low speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add 2/3 cup sugar and salt and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and sour cream and beat until incorporated.
Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 cups. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until firm but centers still wobble. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
In a stand mixer, beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter until creamy.
Slowly add the sugar until incorporated. Add vanilla bean paste (or extract) and heavy cream and beat for another minute.
Add small amount of blue coloring and mix well. Continuing adding small amounts of color until desired color is achieved.
- Pipe a small bit of frosting onto each cupcake.
- Add a royal frosting seahorse.
- Add white chocolate seaweed.