Aren’t these pretty? What is it about frosting things in sugar that just give them that deliciously ethereal look? As much as I hate winter, visually it can be pretty stunning. If only real snow were like this though. You know, not actually cold and deliciously sweet?
The cupcake version of these really only exist because I wanted to make a cake for my mom’s birthday (she’s 21 years young 😉 – see mom? Your secret’s safe with me. Happy Birthday! 🙂 ) and I wanted to do a test run of my plan in cupcake form first to make sure it was good. Quality control and all that jazz. These delicious looking marvels of a sugary nature are a white chocolate cranberry almond cake/cupcake filled with a marzipan custard and frosted with white chocolate frosting before finally being bedazzled with sugared cranberries.
Total side note now though, my use of the word “bedazzled” reminded me of the iconic 80s Bedazzler, which I then immediately had to look up (and while looking that up, I rabbit holed myself into wondering about the etymology of the word “bedazzle”. At which point I felt super dumb when I saw that it was quite literally a blending of “be” + “dazzled”. I hate to say mind blown here because it seems so obvious, but there you have it. Apparently it doesn’t take much for me to be impressed. Shania Twain I ain’t). Remember that thing? I always kind of wanted one. Turns out, my dreams of star studding the world into oblivion can still be obtained – they actually still sell them!
I wish that I also had photogs of this in it’s layered cake form, but alas, I’m really terrible about remembering to take pictures of things that I’m taking places (i.e., because I obviously can’t/shouldn’t cut it in advance, which then makes an interior shot impossible. I then convince myself that I’ll take pictures at said event, but then I never do. Lazy/forgetfullness for the win! …err…loss? Just use your imagination and try and picture these in layer cake format. I believe in you 😉 ).
Not to toot my own horn (except that I do it all the time, so I should clearly just start saying “So…to toot my own horn yet again…”. I suppose that sounds a little weird, but I’m all right with that), but I was pleasantly suprised with how well the frosting in particular turned out for these. I was overly concerned that adding super sweet white chocolate to icing sugar would make the frosting just way too dental-industry supportingly sweet. So, to try and offset that somewhat, I opted to switch out some of the icing sugar for coconut milk powder. At first, I had thought this was a bit of an epic fail, because although I liked the flavour, I thought it had a bit of grittiness to it that I wasn’t really going for. I sadly and dejectedly popped these cupcakes into a cookie tin in my refrigerator where they proceeded to taunt me with my (perceived) failure every time I opened the fridge.
“Luckily I did this test run on that frosting so I could realize what a terrible idea it was” I said out loud to what I thought was an empty kitchen. “You’re a crazy person Amber” said Kevin (probably partly because I was caught talking to myself….OK, full disclosure? More likely mumbling to myself like a confused old man). After scraping myself off the ceiling (because I have a tendency to be epically startled at even the slightest provocation. I strongly suspect that a heart attack caused by someone innocently saying “Hi Amber” when I don’t realize they’re there will be my own personal method of extinction. I absolve you in advance if you turn out to be the thoughtless boob who causes this 😉 ), I said “Why, whatever do you mean my beloved?” (because I always choose to speak as though acting out a Victorian Dickens novel). “This frosting is awesome! Have you even tried it?” At which point I took another bite, and lo and behold, the grittiness was gone! Apparently coconut milk powder just doesn’t dissolve instantly like icing sugar, so it just needed a little time to marinate into perfection. Yeah! Knowledge obtained. From this day forward, I will think of coconut powder as the potential love interest who just needs to be wined and dined a bit before melting like delicious icing into your arms.
If doing all the steps below seems way too daunting to you, I will also say that each element on its own is completely worth making. If you’re just looking for a great and unique-ish recipe to serve for dessert at your next German-themed dinner party (you have one of those regularly too right? I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t?) for instance, I can’t recommend the marizpan custard enough. It definitely cuts the custard with even the pickiest, most discerning of guests 😉 . Alternatively I think it would be great for your next intergalactic travel trip, or your next mission to Marz(ipan) as it were.
Yield: a dozen cupcakes
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups cake/pastry flour (or all purpose is fine too)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup cacao butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup vegan white chocolate
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 2 egg replacer (I used amaretto as the “water” portion here to amp up the almond flavour)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 3 large egg yolks (the Vegg)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons honey (or agave, maple syrup, date syrup or vegan honey)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7oz (1pkg) of marzipan
- 2 tablespoon Amaretto (optional)
White Chocolate Frosting:
- 3/4 cups vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup melted vegan white chocolate
- 1 cup coconut milk powder
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- Bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Add cranberries and stir to coat.
- Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight, stirring a couple times to coat with syrup.
- Remove cranberries from syrup and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Allow to dry for about 20 minutes, and roll in a second layer of sugar to adhere to any remaining wet spots
- Set cranberries aside to dry for a hour or so.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 2 9 inch round cake pans (or if making cupcakes, line 12 cupcake tray with liners). Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour (I highly recommend not skipping this step, it will make removing the cake from the pan afterwards a breeze).
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, melt together the vegan butter, white chocolate and cacao butter.
- Pour white chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add in sugar and mix until fully combined
- Add egg replacer one at a time, blending between each addition.
- Add in the vanilla and almond extract, mixing to combine.
- Toss cranberries in flour mixture until coated (this will help stop them sinking to the bottom of your cake).
- Fold dry mixture into wet mixture carefully until fully combined.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes (or longer if you’re not too impatient) before carefully inverting cake onto a plate or cooling rack to allow to cool completely.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar and prepared vegan egg yolks together. Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt together and then add to the egg mixture, whisking until you get a smooth paste.
- In a small saucepan bring the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, honey, vanilla and chopped marzipan to just barely boiling.
- Remove from heat and slowly add to “egg” mixture, whisking constantly.
- Return mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture for another minute or so until it becomes thicker.
- Remove from heat and immediately whisk in Amaretto if using. Pour into a bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature. Note: I made this the night before, so if you do the same, refrigerate it until ready to use (at this point you will want to warm it up slightly and beat it with a hand mixer to make it smooth again. Not need to do this if you’re using it right away though).
White Chocolate Frosting:
- In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter, vanilla and white chocolate.
- Slowly sift in the coconut milk powder and mix to combine.
- Beat in the icing sugar.
- Add the non-milk slowly, only adding as much as you need to get the right spreadable consistency.
- For cupcakes, hollow out the center, fill with marzipan filling, frost with white chocolate frosting and top with frosted cranberries.
- For layer cake – slice the top off of your bottom layer to achieve a smooth, flat surface. Spread a thick layer of marzipan filling over the bottom layer. Top with 2nd layer and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Spread a thin layer of white chocolate frosting over the entire cake to crumb coat before returning to the freezer for another 20-30 minutes. Frost completely and decorate the top and base with frosted cranberries.
- Store in the refrigerator.