Ryan and I have big news: this fall, we are expecting our first child! We are so excited to be expanding our little family – and our parents and siblings are delighted as well. Ryan and I are both first-borns, so this will be the first grandchild on both sides. Needless to say, the aunties-to-be are arm-wrestling over who gets to babysit first and the moms are already in shopping mode!
We are planners, so we decided that we would like to find out the baby’s gender at the 20-week ultrasound. That way we could keep dreaming about his or her arrival and planning our nursery, accordingly. Gender Reveal parties have become very popular lately, so we decided to do our own (smaller scale, less stressful) spin on that idea. We would make dinner reservations to celebrate with our parents the night of our ultrasound. That way, we could tell them our news in person, in a special way. For us, that was making "Surprise Cupcakes" or Baby Cupcakes that would be filled with either blue or pink whipped cream filling! Then, each parent could bite into their cupcake and find out the big news for themselves. We also were going to be at my parents’ home later in the evening, so we invited our siblings and other friends to stop by as they had time, in order to eat a cupcake and learn the news firsthand.
So, the day of the ultrasound arrived. I prepped the cupcakes before the appointment. It started by heating the oven to 350°F. This recipe makes over two dozen cupcakes, so grab two cupcake tins and line them with paper baking cups.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I carefully mixed the ingredients together with a whisk so they were evenly distributed. Then I set that bowl of dry ingredients aside.
In a separate bowl (I used my stand mixer), combine sugar and 3/4 cup butter. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy.
Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Carefully alternate between adding your bowl of dry ingredients and the milk with one tablespoon vanilla. I found the easiest way to add the milk and vanilla was to measure out the milk in a measuring cup and add the vanilla right to it. That way, you just have two containers to add: dry and wet. Beat well after each addition, just until mixed.
Divide batter evenly among paper baking cups. A ¼ cup measuring cup did the trick.
Bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until the toothpick trick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes stand for 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to wire cooling racks. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl at high speed, scraping bowl often, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. I like to fold the vanilla in with a spatula.
Since we wouldn’t know what food coloring to add until after our appointment, I covered my whipped cream filling with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator.
Here’s the sneaky part: you need to remove a teaspoonful of cake from the center of each cupcake, but you want to reserve that little cake plug to be able to frost over it.
Because I wanted to be sure that there was enough filling to make our announcement obvious, I first used a knife to cut out a circle (and saved the top). Then I held the cupcake over a bowl and used that same knife to cut a little deeper and wider so the hole for filling would be larger. The bowl catches all of those extra crumbs.
Now it was time to dash to our appointment! So, I lightly covered the cupcakes with plastic wrap and met Ryan at the doctor’s office. Thankfully, everything at the appointment went great – our baby was happy and healthy and wiggling around. Plus, we had our gender answer! So, Ryan left to run some errands before meeting our parents and I went home to finish up the cupcakes.
Upon returning home, it was time to remove the whipped cream filling from the fridge and add drops of the appropriate food coloring (no, I’m not telling you the answer yet!). Fold the coloring into the filling until you’re satisfied with the depth of the color and then fill each cupcake hole. You can spoon it in like the photo below, but the much better solution (that I used later) is to use a spatula to transfer your filling into a sealable plastic bag. Zip the open end closed, then snip a corner off the other end of the bag. Instant pastry-filler! It made filling the cupcakes so much easier. Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that one – it would give everything away!
Regardless of your approach, fill each hole with about 1 teaspoon of filling, then top it with the reserved cake piece.
For the frosting, I wanted something chocolate, because who doesn’t love chocolate? And it would also help ensure that no hint of the baby’s gender peaked out too early. So, to make your frosting, beat 3/4 cup butter in large bowl at medium speed until creamy. Add melted baker’s chocolate and stir.
Gradually add powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt alternately with half & half, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Stir in corn syrup, and you have a delicious creamy frosting. (In fact, I had extra, so I ended up refrigerating it for a couple days before my mom used it to frost brownies. That was an incredible chocolate-on-chocolate combo.)
Carefully frost over the plugged cupcake.
I bought a can of decorating squeeze-frosting to make it easier to add some inquisitive question marks as decorations. Then it was time to load up the cupcakes in a plastic container and meet Ryan, his mom Becky and my mom and dad at the restaurant. Life is short – and we were excited to break the news! – so we only made it to the salad course before we decided to break out the treats.
Each parent got a cupcake, and on the count of three they each took a big bite…
BLUE!!! That’s right, we are having a little boy, come this September! This has us looking forward to all sorts of new adventures with our son – including introducing him to great food as he gets older. And I’m looking forward to sharing those celebrations with you!
For those of you who love good cupcakes, but don’t plan to be making baby announcements any time soon, consider making these tasty Baby Cupcakes for other special occasions. Classic whipped cream filling is always a winner, but if you like to get colorful, go all out. Have a kids’ birthday coming up? Color the filling in the child’s favorite hue – purple, green, whatever they like! Want to use these for your Fourth of July picnic? Make red vanilla frosting, leave your cupcakes white and color the filling blue! The possibilities are endless. And, really, who doesn’t love a sugary surprise?
Check back in a few days when Liz will share a tasty summer dessert.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.