Tag Archives: buttercream frosting

valentine’s day cupcakes

Make everyone break their New Year’s resolution diets by bringing these everywhere you go.

valentine

These cupcakes were the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. And I had two other people tell me that too! So, it must be true. I’ve never been great at making cupcakes. In fact, I sort of hate it. But these were real winners.

YELLOW CUPCAKE RECIPE
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Yields: appx. 38
Prep: 10 minutes.
Bake time: 16 min per dozen or 48 minutes total

Ingredients:
2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cup whole-wheat all purpose flour*
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk

Do it!
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until the batter is fluffy, light, and no longer gritty.
– Mix in the vanilla and beat in the eggs one at a time on medium speed.
– Mix in the buttermilk at a low speed. The mixture will look a bit curdled.
Slowly mix in the flour mixture in parts, until everything in well combined.
Pour the mixture into the cupcake cups. I filled them 1/2 full. These really rise. When in doubt, do a test cupcake first.
Bake for 16 minutes.

*The original recipe called for four cups of cake flour. I only had two. I used this substitution. The cornstarch gave the whole thing a very slight cornbread taste, which made them taste amazing, especially since the frosting was so sweet.

valentines day cupcakes

 

BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

Ingredients
2 cups vegetable shortening
8 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp clear imitation butter flavor
6 cups heavy whipping cream

Do it!
– In a large bowl, cream shortening until fluffy. Fiercely beat in the confectioners sugar about one cup at a time until it’s fluffy. Then add salt and the butter flavor.
Beat in the whipping cream in parts. You’ll know the frosting is done when it’s light and forming slight peaks.

This was a perfect amount of frosting vs. cupcake ratio (minus the cup my boyfriend probably ate while I was making it.) I dyed the frosting with Wilton’s food coloring gels. They’re the best.

valentines day cupcakes

I used these frosting tutorials.

Frosting Cupcakes
Four Cupcake Frosting Techniques

And just for fun, I thought these Valentine’s rose cupcakes were beautiful.

wilton method decorating basics – class 1

I stopped by Publix today to pick up a birthday cake for my boss and I was appalled at the sights I saw. Really, it was cakewrecks [fantastic blog!] worthy. I would be too embarrassed to take a picture, but the selection was terrible and all of the frosting was squished on the plastic. I’m not sure how professionals let that happen. Also, the color choices were sickening.

Really this was all my fault, because I completely forgot to pick up a cake yesterday, when I would have had more time. I remembered this morning in the shower. I did happen to find a beautiful cake, but I just had to pay more than I would have liked for it.

This whole instance had me thinking about how I’d like to start decorating cakes. I bought a great kit at a garage sale for a steal of $5 a while back, and it’s just been taking up room in my kitchen. I hate having things in my house that are of no use. So I called the only place I could think of that had cake decorating classes – Michael’s. This next part was really luck, because there were classes starting today [day after payday!]. Impulse buy? Yes, but the idea has been stewing in my mind for a while. Also, classes were 50% off, so I paid $23.

Michael’s uses the Wilton Cake Decorating Course. While I would really like to apprentice with a professional baker, I guess I can’t do that until I have some basics down. It’s a lot more challenging than it looks.

cookie4Today we did stars – both the decorating technique and the shape. I don’t know what made me think I could decorate this, because I can’t even draw a star.

cookie1

Since my camera was stolen, I took these pictures using a low-quality digital camera I borrowed from my dad this Thanksgiving.

cookie2

They make you practice on a laminated sheet before you move up to the cakes. Today we didn’t even get that far, it was cookies only.

cookie3

Since I was late signing up, I didn’t even get a chance to buy supplies, but a nice woman sitting next to me had an extra set [happenstance] and let me have it.

cookie6

This was supposed to be a snowflake. It would have worked out, if I could have centered the frosting a little more.

cookie7

The Wilton cake decorating course is very structured, which means there isn’t much room for experimentation, which I think is always worthwhile. Also, in the decorating book, it shows the type of cakes we’ll be able to make, some of them are pretty ugly, but some aren’t that bad. The course only uses one type of frosting and it’s not spectacular. It’s one of those lard and powdered sugar frostings, which works well with decoration, but isn’t strong on the taste side. It also uses artificial butter flavor for the buttercream, not real butter (this should be appalling for any baker). I’m not so concerned about the frosting choice, but I’d like to learn how to decorate with other types. I’m optimistic the skills can transfer from one frosting to another. I hope I’m not wrong.  One final note, we don’t really learn how to bake a decent cake, which I thought would go without saying. Our instructor suggested box mixes, which are great, if we don’t plan on eating them.

I don’t mean to sound so critical of the course. I’m really excited to give this a go. If I am any good, I’ll eventually be able to work with fondant and make all sorts of fun shapes.