1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Assorted pastel food colorings
1. In a small bowl, blend cocoa powder in oil until smooth. Set aside. Heat oven to 350ºF. Place liners in two standard-size muffin pans, for a total of 24 cupcakes. In a medium size bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
2. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light-colored and smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir in vanilla. Divide batter in half. Stir cocoa mixture into one half. Spoon both batters into prepared liners, 1/3 cup in each (12 chocolate, 12 vanilla.)
3. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Let cupcakes cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then transfer cakes directly to rack; cool completely.
4. Beat butter, sugar, milk and vanilla on low speed to blend, then on high speed for 2 minutes, until good spreading consistency. Divide frosting into bowls and tint to desired colors. Transfer frosting into plastic bags and snip off one corner. Pipe in swirled pattern onto cooled cupcakes
>> Marshmallow Frosting:
In a large metal bowl, whisk together 3 egg whites, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup cool water and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. Place over a pot of simmering water; beat until mixture registers 160º on an instant-read thermometer, about 7 minutes. Tint and pipe onto cupcakes as in step 4.