Nov 14, 2009

Starry Night Cupcakes

This summer we had a surprise 60th birthday party for my Aunt.   She is an artist and a retired art teacher - so when I found out about the party I volunteered to make the cake.  I looked through my copy of Hello, Cupcake! - and I knew the "Van Gogh - Starry Night" cupcakes would be perfect for her!     The party worked out great and she was completely surprised.   
You can use any cake or frosting recipe that you want (even a box!), but I decided to make both of them homemade.   There are 'instructions' in the book - but really to make these you just have to make all of the different colors and try to follow the picture.  The actual decorating part was surprisingly easy. 


For the cake - Hershey's Perfect Chocolate cake.   I liked the texture and taste of this cake - but my cupcakes all sunk in, which bummed me out.  Luckily they was a lot of frosting used to cover them up - so no one really knew except for me!  

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 30 cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 

3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). 
4. Pour batter into cupcake liners (2/3 full). 
5. Bake 22 - 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cupcakes to wire racks. Cool completely.  

Frosting - Swiss Meringue Buttercream (this recipe make a LOT of frosting - but I wanted to make sure I had enough - and I make extra cupcakes on the side - check out the other options on the Smitten Kitchen link for a smaller batch)

  • 2 cups of egg whites (approx. 12 large)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 cups butter, softened (2 1/2 pounds, 10 sticks)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.
2. Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size.
3. Add the vanilla.
4. Add the butter a stick at a time and whip (on high speed for about 15 minutes)

from Smitten Kitchen


  1. Wow, it looks amazing! How perfect for an artist. And then it must have been so fun to pull the cupcakes apart!

  2. Oh, that's the page that really caught my eye in Hello, Cupcake. I've been too chicken to try it. :) Yours looks great!

  3. You did a great job. I was always intimidated looking at that page in the Hello Cupcake book.

  4. Those are awesome! Great job!

  5. This is gorgeous!! I also have some Van Gogh inspired cupcakes but your cake is a work of art! :)

  6. I was browsing through your desserts, and I came accross these cupcakes, and they look amazing! Good job.