Today, my dad comes home after being out of town for work for two weeks. What better reason does one need to make cupcakes? I felt like branching out a little from my usual baking cookbook staple, Shirley Corriher's Bake Wise, but there's no better source for recipes, so I used her "Moist Golden Cake" as a base for some extremely silly cupcakes that were inspired by a cake I saw at the River North Goddess and Grocer the other day:
I didn't really want to make a six-layer cake, but I loved the idea of coloring batter and playing with it. My cupcakes didn't involve any icing in between layers, which created a really psychedelic banding effect. I only made five layers (no yellow, alas) because I would be separating the batter over 12 little cupcake wells. Five layers seemed like trouble enough. My colors aren't as bright, either, but I'll keep that in mind next time. I didn't want to spoil the delicious cake with all that dye, and I didn't want to waste all my dye on an experimental dessert! I'm happy with the results, nevertheless:
On top is lemon cream cheese frosting, which I made by altering Shirley's "Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Frosting" recipe. There's about a tablespoon of pure lemon extract and the zest of one lemon in there. It's really lemony, which is perfect with the richness of the frosting and cake. Plus, dad will love it. But don't spill the beans; it's a surprise!