The Avengers came out today, and while I’m not going to get to see it until Sunday, I was going to make a cool Captain America pull-apart cupcake in the shape of his shield. Alas, it was not meant to be. In order to make that I was going to need a metal off-set spatula, but my boyfriend was unable to drive me to the craft store yesterday so I couldn’t get it. But! I did still make cupcakes! They’re not Avengers-themed at all, but let’s pretend they are. Though now that I think of it, I could’ve made actual rainbow cupcakes, for the rainbow bridge in Thor, but too late now.
Anyway! Last month I was actually going to participate in the Daring Bakers’ challenge for once, but I’ve just been so busy with work, and I typically only have one day off a week now, and I don’t always want to spend that day baking. It’ll have to wait for another time, I suppose. And since my Captain America cupcakes fell through, I decided to pick something from a cupcake recipe book my friend Anna got for me for Christmas (or my birthday, I can’t remember which).
The recipe called for cake flour, whiiiiiich I don’t have, and neither does the grocery store. Luckily, it’s easy to make your own cake flour with regular all-purpose flour and a bit of corn starch!
For every cup of flour you need, you take two tablespoons out of the regular flour and add two tablespoons of corn starch, then mix it all together very nicely so it’s all incorporated. You’re supposed to sift it, but I don’t have a sifter, so I just used a fork. Well, I do technically have a sifter, but it’s a hand-cranked deal and it’s annoying to use and to clean.
Every cupcake recipe in the book I was using assumes you have/want to use a 6-cup muffin pan. I don’t have one, nor did I want to use one for these cupcakes. Maybe some other time, but I didn’t want to buy YET ANOTHER pan just for this and any possible muffins I might make in the future. So I thought, if it fills 6 muffin cups, it’ll fit 12 smaller cupcakes, right?
It barely managed to fit 7. Which is okay, I guess, since I wasn’t really planning on making a ton of cupcakes or anything (since I usually have the opposite problem of having batter left over), but still somewhat annoying. If you plan on making these, and you want more cupcakes, I recommend doubling the recipe — which I’ve actually included for the first time in a while!
Despite the limited amount of batter I had to work with, the cupcakes came out looking pretty good. The pink sprinkles melted into the batter, creating a cool look.
I didn’t feel like waiting ages for the cupcakes to cool, so I moved some stuff around in the fridge and stuck them in there while I got ready to make the frosting. I actually had really good luck today, as far as softened butter went. For a while now, the damn butter hasn’t softened properly, leaving nasty lumps and such in my batters and frostings. That didn’t happen today, though! They sat out for an hour and they were nice and soft by the time I was ready to bake. Thank God. I sooooo did not want to deal with that shit today, let me tell you.
I added a little red dye to my frosting, and then I decided to experiment with color combinations. What other shade of pink could I get? I added more red dye, and then some yellow to see what would happen. Fearing the worst, I cringed as I mixed the colors in, and —
Oh, hey! It actually looks good! I really like the peach color this turned out to be. I’ll have to remember to mix my colors up more often. It’s like the color wheel in art class all over again.
In my job at the grocery store bakery, I’ve basically been moved from night crew to afternoon crew, which means — time permitting — I can put together things like dessert cups, cupcakes, etc. So I’m used to using very large pastry bags that can fit tons of frosting in them. And the tiny 12-inch ones I have at home are just… not cutting it. THEY’RE SO SMALL. I don’t wanna keep adding frosting into them, I want to put a ton in there so I don’t have to re-fill it every time I frost two cupcakes! God, it’s so ridiculous. I need to buy some really big ones next time I go to the craft store. Or maybe order some online.
Still came out looking pretty good, though, despite my frustrations with the tiny-ass pastry bag. I put more sprinkles on top, too. I just wish I had been able to pile on more frosting, but what can ya do. The frosting is very sugar-y, though, so maybe it’s a good thing I wasn’t able to do that. I really need to find a good non-meringue buttercream recipe that isn’t so goddamn SUGAR-Y. I always feel like I’m gonna go into a diabetic coma whenever I eat homemade American buttercream.
OM NOM NOM.
Pink Rainbow Cupcakes (adapted from Perfect Cupcakes)
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup assorted pink sprinkles
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Set up a six-cup muffin pan, or a 12-cup cupcake pan (but be prepared to only have about 6-7 cupcakes, unless you double the recipe). In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until blended. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing until light. Gradually beat in half of the flour mixture, then add the milk. Add in the remaining flour mixture until blended. Pour in half of the sprinkles and fold into the batter, then divide the batter into the muffin/cupcake liners.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back to the touch. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes, then take the cupcakes out and let them cool completely (or, if you’re pressed for time, stick the pan into the fridge or freezer).
While you wait for the cupcakes to cool, begin your buttercream. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add in the vanilla. Add the heavy cream until a suitable piping consistency is achieved. Dye the buttercream pink, either by using a very small amount of red dye, or doing like I did and mixing red and yellow until you get a shade you like. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and frost the cupcakes. Add the rest of the sprinkles, and you’re done!