Vanilla Cupcake Menorah
Children will love this special menorah created from cupcakes, mini marshmallows and yellow gumdrops. It would be a wonderful centerpiece for a night of Hanukkah, or placed on a dessert table with more traditional desserts.
Ingredients for cupcakes:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup milk
- Cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)
- 24 miniature marshmallows
- 12 yellow gumdrops
- 12 toothpicks
Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
- 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 1 Tb. milk
- Pinch of Kosher salt
Preparation for cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light in texture, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides if necessary. Add the vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture and half the milk to the sugar mixture and blend just until combined. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ingredients and mix until the batter comes together uniformly.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Cupcakes should be firm but springy to the touch and slightly golden on top. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost each cupcake with a generous amount of the frosting. Thread two marshmallows onto each toothpick and add a yellow gumdrop at one end, leaving a small space at the other end of each toothpick. Insert the bottom of one toothpick into the center of each cupcake, creating the look of a candle on top. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
- Arrange cupcakes in the shape of a menorah, or stack all of them in a pattern of your preference.
Preparation for cream cheese frosting:
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary. On low speed add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the vanilla, milk and a generous pinch of salt. Mix again until the frosting is well combined and smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
If refrigerating the frosting, make sure to allow the frosting to come to room temperature for one to two hours before frosting the cake.
Note: This cream cheese frosting calls for less sugar than many others. If you’d prefer yours a little sweeter, add up to ½ cup more powdered sugar and up to 2 tsp. more milk.