These shimmery, summery beach cupcakes are making my Blue Monday brighter.
I absolutely love the beach, but, living in a big city like Montreal with no car means I spend very little time in the sand. As a Maritimer, I’m used to truly beautiful coastal landscapes. What they’ve got inland just doesn’t compare.
Also, it’s winter. Beach days feel so distant.
That was a big part of why I planned a tiki party in January (more details to come!) I wanted my apartment to feel like summer.
January 16 is Blue Monday. Basically, that means it is the most depressing day of the year.
It’s theorized that this is the day when we finally feel far from Christmas cheer, our holiday credit card bills have come in and we’ve lost our enthusiasm for our New Year’s resolutions. Pair these with the fact that winter in much of North America is hella cold and you’ve got the formula for sadness. Oh, plus the fact that it’s a Monday.
I say, don’t be blue! Eat blue.
Blue occurs so rarely in food, but it’s my favourite colour. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to blue-coloured junk food.
These cupcakes cheer me up just by looking at them!
The base is my all-time favourite chocolate cake recipe. It’s one I used in both my Halloween Candy Corn Cupcakes and my Coffee Crisp Cupcakes. It’s so rich and delicious, without being too sweet. The recipe includes a cup of strong, cooled coffee that really softens the sugar and amplifies the cocoa. You can’t even taste coffee, just deep, delicious chocolate.
The frosting is a simple buttercream. I used heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand. But, you could also use milk. the finishing touch just won’t look as silky.
The decorative umbrellas are also optional, but I just love how cheerful they are! You could also stick a Sour Patch Kid on the “sand” as a beach-goer, or go one step further and lay him on top of a slice of sour rainbow belts as a towel.
There is so much room to be creative here.
Happy Blue Monday, everyone. Treat yourself!
Makes 18 cupcakes
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup cocoa
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup of strong, cooled coffee
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla
- A few drops of blue food colouring
- Coloured sugar
- Cracker or graham crumbs
- Decorative umbrellas
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line your cupcake tin with liners.
- Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Combine your eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and coffee with beaters or in a stand mixer. Add dry ingredients to wet 1/2 a cup at a time until the dry mix is empty and the batter is just combined, with no lumps.
- Fill each muffin cup two thirds of the way up. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until the tops of your cupcakes are springy and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare your frosting. Cream the butter until fluffy and add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Then add one tablespoon of cream. Mix again. Add additional cup of powdered sugar, tablespoon of cream and vanilla. Mix again. Add an additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and test it out. If it’s creamy and not stiff, you’re ready to pipe! If it’s still too liquid, add a bit more powdered sugar.
- Divide your frosting into three bowls. Leave one plain white. Add just a few drops of colour to one. And a few more to the other. I did about 4 in the first one and 8 in the second. Stir until the colour is fully incorporated.
- Spread your white frosting onto half the cupcake. Using a piping bag with a flat tip, spread your light blue frosting and darker blue frosting into the same bag. Pipe onto the cupcake in a wave-like pattern. Sprinkle the white half with graham or cracker crumbs and the blue half with coarse, coloured sugar. Coarse white sugar will also work!
- Top with a festive umbrella.