February 19, 2011

Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Cupcakes! They are such fun and the perfect way to celebrate any occasion. Since I'm celebrating my 40th *gasp* birthday tomorrow, I wanted to share these little beauties as a way to celebrate with you all. I actually made them for my Grandmother's 90th birthday party! She is an amazing lady with so many friends I had to make 96 cupcakes for her party. I only hope in 50 years I have that many friends to celebrate with. You rock Gran Gran!!
Here's how you take a plain little old cupcake from a box mix and turn it into a presentation worthy treat.
First off bake, your cupcakes adding a little of this or that to change the basic cake mix if you like. For instance I added some ginger spice and a orange juice instead of water to this vanilla cake mix. When you fill your cupcake liners with batter, aim for about 3/4 full in the muffin tin. This will give you a cupcake that sits even with the liner and avoids the muffin top. (Dreaded words for cupcakes and moms everywhere!) After you bake them, let the little cakes cool completely. While you are waiting, whip up some buttercream icing (or open a can of icing from the store). Again, here you can go crazy, change the flavor to suit whatever your cupcake flavor is.

Buttercream Icing
Makes 3 cups
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 stick soft butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavor)
4 c sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tbsp milk
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
If you want color, tint your icing with solid paste food coloring so it doesn't make the icing runny. To make the cupcakes look professional, you want a number 1M piping tip. Put that tip in a piping bag or cut off the corner of a ziplock baggie and stick the tip in the baggie. Then fill it with some icing. Squeeze out the icing in a swirl design on top of the cupcake. Be sure to leave some cake showing so people get an idea what flavor it is.

Looks good - right? But if you want to really take it over the top you need one more step. This is where the real magic happens. It's jewelry for cupcakes. You can pick almost anything that compliments the flavors you've chosen. Sprinkles, chocolate shavings, pulverized nuts, granulated sugar, a dusting of cocoa powder, anything small to sprinkle over the folds of the icing. Then you need the crowning glory, a small piece of something to set on the top.

On my orange-ginger cupcakes, I've used pearlized sprinkles with a small piece of ginger set on the top. In the background of the photo above, on my chocolate-almond cupcakes, I've used chocolate shavings with slivered almonds set in the top. Below on carrot cupcakes, I've used vanilla beans in the icing and a shaving of carrot on the top. Use your imagination. For Easter you could use jelly beans on the top or how about a big old peep sitting nestled in the icing? After all it's only a little cupcake...enjoy!!


1 comment:

  1. These were a huge hit at the party, and tasted as great as they looked!


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