I made these wee things ages ago for a friend's studio opening and they were a giant hit. I've been asked a few times for the recipe so thought I might as well pop it up here! I had seen something similar on the internet a while back and decided to give it a try! They would be amazing for a children's birthday party, or anything space themed. You can also use the same technique with different colours for a non 'galaxy' look - I have done it with pastels before and it looks amazing!
The first time that we made them, Richard was given the job of colouring the icing. I didn't realise that he had gone hard on the black food colouring until everyone who ate a cupcake ended up with black teeth. Thankfully nobody minded. However I have tweaked the recipe slightly, using black cocoa powder in the black part of the icing rather than food colouring. If you can't get your hands on black cocoa powder (its just super dutched cocoa, the stuff that they use to make oreos!), you can use black food colouring, just be aware that it takes a LOT to achieve a true 'black'.
I went with a vanilla cupcake and an american buttercream. Normally I would use a swiss meringue buttercream for cupcakes, but I find that it never holds really vibrant colours as well as american, and for this I wanted them bright and strong. I made two batches of buttercream - one with the black cocoa, and one plain batch, which I divided into three and coloured with two shades of blue, and purple.
Once they were piped, I covered them in flecks of white food colouring to represent "stars" - I just used my finger dipped in the colouring and flicked it on with my finger. I then sprinkled on a small amount of food safe glitter to give it a little sparkle. Make sure that you do this process somewhere that is fairly easy to clean up - the white tends to go everywhere, and the glitter is even worse. I generally turn a bowl upside down in the sink, then sit the whole cooling rack on top of it so that afterwards everything can be washed away.
I used a vanilla cupcake recipe, but these really can be made with whatever you like. I also chose to make mini cupcakes, but feel free to make these whatever size you would like!
Made this recipe and love it?
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking! If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!Print
- ¾ cup (94g) Self raising flour (or ¾ cup flour, plus 1 ¼ tsp baking powder)
- ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp (80g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (100g) sugar
- ½ cup (125ml) whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (113g) butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1 cup (225g) butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups (440g) powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp (30-45ml) milk
- Gel food colouring
- ½ cup (113g) butter, at room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (190g) Powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (25g) Black cocoa
- 1-2 Tbsp (15-30ml) milk
- Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Line a 24 hole mini cupcake tin with liners.
- Place flours and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for two minutes, then add the butter a cube at a time. Do not rush. Mix until it is the consistency of sand. Add half the milk and vanilla, and mix until combined, approximately one minute.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the remainder of the milk, and mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes until well incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the liners, with approximately 1 tbsp of batter in each. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the cupcake springs back when pressed lightly. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high until light in colour. Add sifted powder sugar and vanilla, and beat on high until well incorporated. Add milk a tablespoon at a time and beat until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency.
- Divide the buttercream between three bowls, and tint each with the desired 'galaxy' colour using gel food colouring
BLACK FOOD COLOURING
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted a paddle attachment. Beat on high until light in colour. Add sifted powdered sugar, black cocoa and vanilla, and beat on high until well incorporated. Add milk a tablespoon a time until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency.
Fit a large piping bag with a closed star tip (A wilton 1M or 2D). Add the buttercream to the bag a tablespoon at a time, alternating each colour in buttercream until the bag is full. Pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake. Place a small amount of gel food colouring in a bowl, watered down if necessary. Using your finger, flick small amounts of the food colouring onto the cupcakes to simulate stars. Follow with a small sprinkle of edible glitter on each cupcake.
Cupcake recipe adapted from Magnolia Bakery