Princess Torte Cupcakes

Yield: about 15 cupcakes

Cake: 
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chardonnay or sparkling white grape juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin with plain cupcake papers.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  in a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup chardonnay and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).  Add flour and chardonnay mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be thick.
  3. Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup measures of batter.  Bake for 17-22 minutes.  Set aside.

Chardonnay Pastry Creme Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup chardonnay or sparkling white grape juice
2 tbsp cornstarch 
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup chardonnay in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.
  2. Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture.  Pour 1/3 of boiling chardonnay mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook.  Return the remaining chardonnay/heavy cream mixture to a boil.  Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.  

Assembly:

10 oz. Marzipan

1/2 lb. rolled fondant tinted pale green with 1 or 2 drops of liquid food coloring

3 tbsp. rolled fondant tinted pink

1 tbsp. rolled fondant tinted leaf green

Cooled pastry cream (recipe above)

1/3 cup red raspberry jelly

White ruffled cupcake liners

Gold luster dust and artists' brush (optional)

  1. Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with 1/2 tbsp. pastry cream and 1/2 tbsp. raspberry jelly.  Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a "lid" and place on top of the filled divot.
  2. Roll the marzipan out on a work surface dusted with confectioners sugar.  Cut 3-inch rounds using a round cookie cutter or pastry ring.  Re-roll marzipan scraps and cut more circles as needed.
  3. Lay a marzipan circle over the top of a cupcake and press the edges down onto the cupcake, creating a perfectly smooth top (picture).  If the marzipan doesn't want to stick, you can brush the cupcake with a little water using a pastry brush before applying the marzipan.  Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
  4. Roll out the green fondant and cut 3-inch circles as before with the marzipan.  Roll each circle out a little larger using a fondant roller.  Place circle over a marzipan'd cupcake and gently smooth over and around the cupcake top using  cupped hands. Trim off excess fondant using a small, non-serrated knife.
  5. Place fondant covered cupcakes in white ruffled papers (I double up on these for extra-ruffly effect!). Roll out pink fondant and cut into 3/4-inch strips.  Roll up strips from a short end to form a rose bud. Pinch off excess and place on top of fondant covered cupcake. If it doesn't adhere naturally, moisten the bottom of the rose bud with water, then apply to top of cupcake.  Roll out the leaf green fondant and cut out tiny leaves with a plain-edge knife (I did this without a template or cutter). Apply the leaf next to the rosebud by pressing it onto the fondant; brush with water if necessary to help it adhere. Brush rosebud with gold luster dust.
  6. Store in an air-tight container in refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
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