Tags: bee, honey
My cousin Carrie is getting married on October 1, 2011 (Eek!) Actually she’s my husband’s cousin but we’re very close (she was a bridesmaid at my wedding!) so we always introduce each other as cousins. Not cousins-in-law. That sounds too forced. Just cousins. We’re use to the confused look. I can tell by peoples’ 15 second pause that they are debating if it’s rude to ask if one of us is adopted. lol
So when her mom called me to ask if I’d bake cupcakes for her bridal shower, I said “OF COURSE!”
I got her bridal shower invitation and it had an understated bee theme. I remember talking to Carrie on the phone and loved when she said “I wanted a bee theme for my bridal shower b/c [fiance] is my honey!” She pretty much gave me creative license on the cupcakes. The only thing she requested was “cream cheese frosting”. So I took that idea and ran.
I immediately thought of my favorite cupcake cookbook, What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I consider Alan my cupcake mentor. I wish he lived closer so I could do more than just talk on the phone with him. (Hi Alan!!) So I knew their honeycomb cupcakes would be PERFECT for the bridal shower.
But you know me. I had to change it up a little.
Alan and Karen use canned frosting and cake mixes. Unlike other cupcake-ers, I have no beef with cake mixes and canned frosting but since I haven’t baked in a LONG time I decided to dig out my favorite vanilla cupcake, cream cheese frosting and sugar cookie recipes. But I don’t like black jelly beans. Blech! So I used chocolate covered almonds (bees) instead. Mmmmm!
Oh Ginger Spice, I’ve missed you…
Two days later. My kitchen is still a disaster zone.
No biggie. Oh honeyyyyyy! Your time to shine. ♥♥♥
Makes 36 cupcakes
For vanilla cupcakes
5 cups AP flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cup sugar
24 tbsp (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 large egg + 4 egg whites, room temperature
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I used half-and-half instead)
For honey cream cheese frosting*
2-8 oz package cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel cheese)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted plus extra if needed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup honey** plus more for assembling honeycomb
* Depending on how much frosting you pipe on each cupcake, you may have some leftovers.
** Use the amount to desired honey taste.
For honey comb cookies***
3 cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold (I used unsalted butter)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp light corn syrup
yellow sprinkles (I used Cakemate from my grocery store baking aisle)
*** Cookies can be made up to 2 days advance and stored in a air tight container.
chocolate covered almonds
yellow gel food coloring
To make honeycomb cookies—
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl. Make sure you get everything that settles on the bottom.
The dough will be crumbly (That’s ok!). Knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl until it comes together.
Roll dough to 1/4″ inch thick on a floured surface and cut into hexagon shapes. If you don’t have a hexagon cookie cutter, you can print out the template I used (here). Place on baking sheet and let chill in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are firm to the touch and lightly golden. Let cool completely.
Place yellow sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Microwave the corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl for about 10 seconds. Using a food dedicated brush, coat the cookie with corn syrup and dip in the yellow sprinkles to coat.
To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating on low.
Then add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture.
Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.
To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar until well combined. Add vanilla extract and honey. If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar until you get desired consistency. Add yellow gel food coloring to desired shade. (I added about 5-6 drops)
NOTES: I reserved 2 cups of frosting for honeycomb cupcakes but in retrospect I really didn’t have to. Who cares if the center of the honeycomb is white frosting right? It gets filled in with honey anyways.
CUPCAKE 1: Honeycomb cupcakes
Spread the top of 13 cupcakes with frosting. Adhere 1 cookie on top of each cupcake. Arrange 5 cupcakes on a serving platter and 4 cupcakes on each side. Position the cookies to form a honeycomb.
Pipe frosting in random places along the honeycomb and attach a chocolate covered almond. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.
Add 1 tbsp of honey in the middle of each cookie right before serving.
CUPCAKE 2: Beehive cupcakes
Using a Magic Tip 9ST (or your favorite round tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Add 1 chocolate covered almond on top of frosted cupcake. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with yellow frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.
Husband rating: N/A
Wifey rating: A+
Is there anything BETTER than a cupcake garnished with a sprinkled decorated cookie? I don’t think so! Since I’m a frosting girl, I loved the honey cream cheese frosting but I might up the honey quotient next time to really get the honey punch of flavor.
Other rating: A+
Cousin Carrie and all guests RAVED about the honeycomb cupcakes. But the BEST compliment came from my Niece Allison (age 18 months).
I told you. lol