Colorful, sugar-coated marshmallow Peeps are synonymous with Easter. They’re simple and loved by most kids. A great way to take advantage of their colorful look is to use them as a decoration for cakes and other baked goods. I’ve taken that one step further here by making Peeps-inspired cupcakes for Easter!
These cupcakes have a vanilla butter cake base and are topped with a marshmallow cream cheese frosting that is coated in colorful sugar – just like Peeps are. The vanilla cake base is easy to make and is just a great cake for a spring gathering, as it is somewhat lighter in flavor than a chocolate cupcake. The white cake also blends in with the white frosting, giving the cupcakes a more spring-like look than a darker color cupcake would. Since the major complaint of those who don’t care for Peeps straight is that the marshmallow critters are too sweet, I opted for a fluffy cream cheese frosting that incorporates marshmallow fluff. This adds a great flavor to the cupcake as a whole and does prevent the frosting from seeming too sweet when it is covered in sugar.
I’d recommend sprinkling the frosting with sugar over the sink, rather than trying to dip the frosting into a bowl of sugar. It’s easier to control where the sugar goes this way, and the frosting won’t get smushed down while you work. Peeps generally come in yellow, green and purple, so try to stick to those colors for the sugar. Use a toothpick to prop each of the Peeps up on top of the cupcakes to finish off the presentation. Leftover Peeps make great s’mores, but you can always save any leftovers for another batch of cupcakes.
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (low fat is ok)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar, until fluffy. Beat in eggs, on at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture and milk in two or three alternating additions, ending with an addition of flour. Stir only until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting (recipe below).
Vanilla Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
pink and yellow sanding sugars (colored sugars)
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Spread onto cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula, or pipe on using a piping bag (or plastic bag with the corner snipped off). Generously sprinkle each cupcake with colored sugar, choosing colors to match the colors of your Peeps. Skewer each Peep with a toothpick to help it stand up and plant each one in a frosted cupcake.