My dad’s birthday was last weekend, and to celebrate, my parents and sister came down to Bloomington for the weekend. We hung out at home and went to the Indiana/Michigan football game. My dad is a huge Michigan fan [born in Ann Arbor; it’s in his blood!] so when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said, maize and blue, kind of as a joke, I think.
My initial thought with that request was something lemon and blueberry. However, I quickly nixed that idea because my dad isn’t the biggest fruit lover you’ll ever meet, so I thought I should find a recipe that he would love. It was for his birthday after all. After spending some time researching recipes and scouring cake supply stores, I finally found something that would work: food coloring.
I chose to make cupcakes out of a simple white cake and buttercream frosting, and use gel food coloring to dye the cupcakes and frosting. I dyed half the cupcakes and half the frosting maize, and the other half of each blue. Frost the maize cupcakes with blue frosting and frost the blue cupcakes with maize frosting… and you have a true Michigan cupcake dream! Next time I’ll have to be more adventurous with the decorating. I can’t say I am an expert cupcake decorator but these did turn out pretty cute if I do say so myself… and they were tasty too!
The cupcakes were moist and rich, even a week later as I was finishing up the leftovers. The frosting was sweet but not overly sweet, which is a welcome change from the frostings that leave you in a sugar coma. Paired with vanilla bean ice cream, this is the perfect birthday dessert.
Maize and Blue Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/3 cups half and half [this recipe called for buttermilk, but I used what I had…]
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pans with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray. This recipe should make 24 cupcakes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg whites, one by one, mixing in between each addition. Mix in vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to butter/sugar/egg mixture gradually, alternating with half and half; beating well to combine after each addition.
If desired, divide batter in half and add food coloring to desired shade. I used gel food colorings, which provide more intense color.
Fill individual tins 2/3 of the way full, then bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine took about 17 minutes to bake. They are done when they spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove from tins and let cool on cooling rack, frost, and enjoy!
For the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, half and half, and vanilla. Mix on low until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Adjust with additional sugar or milk, depending on your desired consistency.
Frost when cupcakes are cool… otherwise you’ll have melty frosting! And no one likes melty frosting…
Here are some more photos of game day!
Are you a sports fan? I’m not, except for running… but going to the game was more fun than watching football on TV! How about you?