Down here in Miami, there’s no snow. Ever. So I figured that if I can’t have the real thing, I might as well have the cake version.
And really, that’s a strategy you could apply to so many situations. Think about it…
These cupcakes are really all about the decorating. You can use any yellow or white cake recipe and any buttercream frosting you choose; my only recommendation is to pick a frosting recipe that uses shortening (or mostly shortening) over butter, since the less butter you use, the whiter the resulting frosting will be. I used this recipe for the cupcakes and a regular old buttercream using mostly shortening (and a bit of butter), but I’m still on the hunt for that perfect yellow cake recipe and perfect buttercream. You’ll be the first to know when I find them!
So get those cupcakes baked and cooled, whip up a batch of frosting and get ready to make these sparkly little snowballs.
To decorate these cupcakes, you’ll need coarse sparkling sugar. I used Wilton’s White Sparkling Sugar, which I found at Michael’s but can easily be purchased online. As you can see in the photo above (look at the sugar sprinkled around the cupcake on the blue cloth), this is NOT the fine sanding sugar you might be used to using. You’ll also need a decorating bag with a jumbo round tip, or you can simply do like I did and leave the tip off entirely.
You’ll want to start decorating immediately after you frost your cupcakes, especially if you’re using a ‘crusting’ buttercream – you need that sugar to stick!
1. Pour a generous amount of sugar into a bowl that’s wide enough to accommodate the cupcakes.
Excuse that final photo on the right. The cupcake has an extra little ‘mound’ on top, which is not really what you’re aiming for but it won’t interfere with your results as long as your frosting is nice and soft.
4. Holding the cupcake upside down, gently touch it to the sugar crystals in the bowl, circling with your wrist to make sure the entire mound of frosting ends up covered with crystals. Be careful not to press too hard, or you’ll flatten your ‘snowballs’; this happened to several of my cupcakes before I got the hang of it (check out my pics – yes, my mistakes are on display for you!) and it’s not the end of the world, but you want the frosting to stay as rounded as possible.
Voila! Perfect for any winter or Christmas party, and just so easy.