Category Archives: Buttercream

Pink Rainbow Cupcakes

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!

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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?

Haha. Wrong.

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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!

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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 —

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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.

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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.

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OM NOM NOM.

Pink Rainbow Cupcakes (adapted from Perfect Cupcakes)

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 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup assorted pink sprinkles

Buttercream

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!

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Cupcake Cones

For many people, summertime is the time for ice cream. Personally, I think all of the time is ice cream time, but I will admit it is a very awesome treat when it’s hot out and you’re sitting at home or walking around your neighborhood. And the ice cream trucks! There’s something special about ice cream from the truck. Even if it’s the kind of you can just buy at the store and keep in your freezer, it somehow tastes better after chasing down the ice cream man for blocks and blocks.

I recently came across a picture of what appeared to be ice cream, but was actually a cupcake in a cone with buttercream frosting on top, designed to look like an ice cream cone. “Holy shit, that’s really cool!” I thought to myself, and hunted down a recipe. I was sure it was going to be complicated, but every recipe I found was your basic “use a cake mix and put it in the cones and put the cones in the oven and yay you’re done!”.

Surely it couldn’t be that simple, though! Wouldn’t the cones tip over, or break, or burn? Wouldn’t the cupcake burst forth through the fragile sugar cone like the Hulk?

Surprisingly… no!

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All of the recipes for Cupcake Cones said to use a cake mix, but I decided to actually make it from scratch this time! This recipe used boiling water, which made the batter more… well, water-y, as opposed to your usual thick cake batter.

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A good tip that someone posted on a website was to put the batter into a Ziploc bag and pipe it into the cones. This worked very well, even though it was still a bit messy. Just… expect mess. A lot of mess. Chocolate everywhere.

I was still very nervous about the cones falling over, even as I gingerly placed the first batch into the oven. I checked them every few minutes or so, expecting to see broken cones and cupcake splattered everywhere, but it never happened. The cupcakes came out great, actually! They had nice little domes and it was really cool to eat through the cone to reveal more cake.

I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the icing, and it came out pretty good, although I realized after I had already piped the frosting on that I had forgotten to add the vanilla extract. But it still tasted okay.

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Also, for some reason my stand mixer wasn’t turning the bowl, so I had to stand there and twirl the bowl around so it wasn’t just mixing the same spot over and over. Then, randomly it started working again, so I was like, “Okay”, but then when I came back a minute later it had stopped again. What the hell, man. What the hell.

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Doesn’t it look nifty?! As you can see, the frosting has a slight pink tinge to it, because I finally used that Wilton Color Mist I got for my birthday last year. Be careful with those things, if you ever use them, because the spray gets everywhere. Cover everything in your surroundings if you don’t want to be wiping pink off of your toaster oven days later.

I didn’t have time to add more decorations, but I suggest going crazy with these things! You can add sprinkles, dip the top in chocolate, anything you want to make it look more like ice cream. These are super cute and really fun to eat and look at.

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The only problem is transporting them. If you have to bring these somewhere besides your house you might run into some problems. I’m lucky enough to work in a bakery so I took a cake board and a plastic container from work and stuck the cones onto the board with frosting, but even then they tipped over a couple times on the way. I would recommend making these wherever it is you plan to serve them. A lot easier.

Cupcake Cones

For the cake: Use this chocolate cake recipe from Hershey’s.

Place the cones on a baking sheet or in a muffin tray. Pour the cake batter into a pastry or Ziploc bag and fill the cones a little more than half-way full. Carefully place inside the oven and let cook for about twenty minutes. Let cool.

For the frosting: Use the swiss buttercream recipe from Annie’s Eats.

Put the frosting into a pastry bag and, using a star tip, swirl onto the cupcakes so it looks like soft-serve ice cream. Decorate as you wish, and enjoy!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Let me begin by apologizing. I know it’s been weeks since I’ve posted on here, but somehow I have just been too damn lazy to do so. But! I have still been baking! …Well, last week I didn’t, but still.

So, I post today, on this merry Christmas — a Christmas where I got a stand mixer!

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It’s not a Kitchenaid, but I can’t wait to try it out. Although I really, really wish I’d had this yesterday, when I was making Swiss meringue buttercream.

I’m sure some of you remember my last attempt with Italian Buttercream. Needless to say, it was a spectacular failure wherein I weeped over my inability to make fancy frosting. But this week, I decided it was worth another try. It’s Christmas, after all!

I figured it would probably not be a good idea to try Italian Buttercream again, even with my handy dandy Egg Separator for Idiots. I remember the main problem with that particular experiment was the sugar caramelizing inside the bowl. Looking through buttercream recipes, I saw the Swiss Meringue one, and decided — hey! This doesn’t look so difficult! Because I can separate eggs now!

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I was a little worried when I had to heat the sugar and egg whites over the stovetop. I wasn’t entirely sure that I was doing it correctly, since it was a glass bowl and everything, and also there is this huge oven-microwave thing over the oven and I couldn’t really see what I was doing. But, it seemed to work.

This is where it got tricky.

The recipe said it would take about 8 minutes to whip into stiff peaks. I whipped it for ten minutes, aaaaaand it was just a soopy liquid.

Oh, well, I thought, turning my hand-mixer back on, It’ll probably just take another few minutes.

I whipped for five more minutes. Nope.

Ten more minutes. Nope.

My arm was starting to get incredibly tired at this point, and I was wondering if it was ever going to form those goddamn stiff peaks. Finally, about half an hour of whipping later, it was done!

Well, sort of.

You see, the recipe called for four sticks of butter, and I only had three. I thought it would be all right, but, of course, it wasn’t. The frosting was all curdled and terrible. Luckily, though, I suddenly remembered that I still had a stick of butter-flavored Crisco left over from the Dairy-Free Black and White Cookies, so I cut it up and dropped it in there.

And it worked!

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I felt most triumphant. Ha! Take that fancy buttercreams! I can so totally make you!

These were Christmas cupcakes, and I wanted to make red and green frosting. I guess I didn’t use enough of the dye, though, because the green was more of a light green, and the red was more of a salmon pink.

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Oh, well. They looked pretty and the frosting tasted great. It’s so much smoother and nicer than the American buttercream I usually make. I think I’ll be making all of my frosting this way now, since I have the stand mixer.

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Get the recipe here at Annie’s Eats!


Italian Buttercream Fail

Original post can be found here.

I should’ve known better than to do something even moderately difficult like Italian Buttercream because I have no idea what I’m doing and I suck. I can’t even separate eggs, for God’s sakes.

It just goes to show, everything I do I am hopelessly mediocre at. I wanted to throw out the cupcakes but my mom won’t let me because she says my dad will eat them, even though I know he won’t because he never eats anything I bake. I don’t want yet another cupcake from a mix with fucking store-bought frosting because I am an incompetent idiot.

Just forget it.

ETA: I calmed down after about a minute and made regular buttercream instead. And I still got to use my cool dessert decorator thing, so yay!

What happened was, I couldn’t separate the egg whites to save my life. The yolk kept falling out. I don’t know if it was the eggs themselves or if it was me, but the yolk was running all over the place and I wound up wasting about 18 eggs trying to get six goddamn egg whites. So I told my mom to please get me some egg whites from the store (I didn’t feel like going) when she got home from work. So I poured the egg whites into the bowl, mixed it, put the sugar and water on the stove… and I think where I might have messed up was letting the sugar cool for a bit because I wasn’t sure if the egg whites were doing what they were supposed to be doing, and then the sugar wound up caramelizing in the bowl and it was RUINED FOREVER.

So I went and cried in my room for a bit and felt like fail before I decided that I wanted to finish my damn cupcakes, even if I had to make regular, sugary buttercream. Luckily I still had some confectioner’s sugar left over from last time, and it wasn’t a ridiculous amount so this instance of buttercream frosting wasn’t as sugary as the last few times.

Cupcakes With Brown Butter Frosting

Original post can be found here. Also featured on Cream Puffs in Venice.

The day after I made my Brownie Sundae Cake with Chocolate Chips, I came upon this challenge at 17 & Baking — to make a dessert involving browned butter in some way. I figured, hell, why not — so I browsed through recipes on the Internet and decided that the easiest one for me to do would be regular ol’ cupcakes with buttercream frosting — only with browned butter instead, obviously.

I watched videos on YouTube and read about a dozen different recipes in the meantime. It looked simple enough, as long as I didn’t burn the butter.

But, knowing me, of course it wasn’t that simple.

I made the cupcakes from a mix first, and they came out pretty good. No problems so far…

But then I had to begin browning the butter. My mom insisted that she provide assistance, although she had never browned butter before either. (“It would never even occur to me.”) So, I chopped up the butter, plopped it in, and….

Well, it fizzed, and we stirred and stirred and stirred like the recipe said, and… it wasn’t turning brown. It didn’t smell nutty like it was supposed to.

It did eventually turn sort of brown, but it didn’t really smell like anything (not to me, at least), and when I put it in the buttercream, the buttercream certainly didn’t taste nutty either. Those videos were totally not helpful. Nor were the various websites. They all made it seem like it wouldn’t take ages for it to brown, so you had to take it out as soon as it turned brown. IDK, we probably did it wrong somehow, but I’m not sure what happened.

It still tasted good, though. BUT SO SUGARY JFC. Seriously, if I had more than one of these I think I might go into a diabetic coma. But it would be a delicious coma.

Successful Buttercream, Shoddy Cake

Original post can be found here.

I made successful buttercream icing! \\o//

I also made cookies, which again came out flat. I think I may be letting the butter sit out for too long, because I used to just kinda take it out of the fridge right before I started mixing stuff together and it came out normal. So I think next time I will try doing it that way again. IT JUST CAN’T BE THE BAKING SODA.

I’m gonna go get some cake mix later today so I can use the buttercream. I don’t really feel like making a cake from scratch…

First Batch of Cupcakes Ever

Original post can be found here.

I started off this project in the naive hope that my cupcakes would look at least somewhat presentable, and that I would be successful in learning how to make my own frosting and bake my own cupcakes, from scratch, and that I would end the endeavor feeling awesome and accomplished, with tasty treats to boot.

What I got instead was a huge, huge pain in the ass.

I spent Tuesday evening gathering the ingredients at the store:

Four sticks of unsalted butter
A bag of flour
Baking powder
Crisco
Toothpicks
Food coloring (in ~NEON~ colors!)

A purchase that cost me around $20, after my 10% discount. I realize later that I had forgotten the confectioner’s sugar and decorating bags, but I didn’t feel like going all the way back there, so I waited until the following day to start making the frosting.

Wednesday comes, and I go and get the sugar, but surprise surprise! My store does not have any decorating bags. I decide to just go ahead and make the frosting anyway, and worry about the bags later.

I fumble with the electric hand mixer for a bit, but finally manage to assemble it. I’d never used an electric mixer before, but how hard could it be, right? Just stick it in there and —

WHIRRRRR — PHHHWWWPOHHHH!

Milk, butter, and sugar go flying everywhere. Confused, I continue to try to mix anyway, hoping it would stop after a while… but it doesn’t. Ten very wet and milky minutes later (that sounds dirtier than intended), I give up and dump the mixture down the sink. Disheartened, I text my mother and whine, and she promises to take me to Michael’s to get the decorating bags, and that she’ll help me after work the next day.

We get the decorating bags and tips from the craft store, and I giddily look at all of the pastry devices. Cupcake holder things, cake levels, decorating machines, little contraptions that pop out cookies — I forget about my failure with the electric mixer and look forward to making delicious icing.

Fast-forward to today, and I walk home after a sort of miserable day at work. I spent the entire day feeling incompetent because they’re training me to work at the courtesy desk, which involves things like returns, money orders, lottery tickets, etc, and I felt slow and moronic. But I still had my awesome cupcakes to look forward to! I bought more confectioner’s sugar after my shift because I had run out with my botched batch yesterday. When my mom got home I immediately began making the frosting. She started the electric mixer and somehow managed to avoid batter flying all over the place, then she handed it to me and eventually I got the hang of it.

But, for some reason, the icing was thin and lumpy. It tasted fine, but no matter how long I mixed it for, it would not get any thicker or smoother. We tried adding Crisco later (because that’s what seemed to make the cupcake batter thick), but no go. We put it in the fridge and decided we’d worry about it later.

I made the batter for the actual cupcakes, and it was DELICIOUS OMG. I kind of wanted to just eat the batter, haha. But nope, in the oven it went. The first time I poured way too much batter in the tin so the batter overflowed so much it almost looked like a loaf cake. I wound up having to throw those out because they were all sunken in and kept falling apart. The second and third batches came out better, but not great. I almost always either poured too much or too little.

After the cupcakes cooled, we tried the icing, but it was still too thin and lumpy and unattractive looking. By this point I was practically tearing out my hair. We were gonna have to go to the store to get ready-made icing, and that meant FAIL. My parents don’t understand why I wanted to learn how to do this stuff from scratch instead of just using mixes, so they didn’t see the big deal, but I bought the Duncan Hines chocolate frosting begrudgingly. They’re still chilling in the fridge so I haven’t eaten them yet, but the cupcakes tasted kind of strange too, even though the batter was amazing, so idek.

UGH. I won’t be baking cupcakes for another week or two, at least. There’s no way I’m never making them again; I spent almost $40 trying to make these fucking things and BY GOD I WILL DO IT.