Category: frosting tips

Fill your heart with frosting.

I wish I could say I love surprises, but I really don’t.

Deep down inside somewhere, I kinda do; I kinda do get excited about being surprised. But more often than not, it’s just an overwhelming sense of “What am I missing out on?!” and it drives me bananas. I hate not having control over things. I like knowing what’s happening, what time it’s happening, and where it’s going down… I like being dressed appropriately & I like being mentally prepared. Jay can tell you numerous times when I almost ruined birthday gifts, Christmas gifts or trips with this twisted way of thinking. I think the problem is when I know I’m going to be surprised. If you just spring a surprise on me, then I don’t have time to over-analyze or try & figure out what it is. Yeah I know- I’m a f#%!ing wack job who ruins everything. It’s not that I’m a control freak, though, not at all. I’m extremely laid back when it comes to most things. You can plan anything, take me anywhere, give me any gifts, etc, and I’ll be totally cool with it. I just really prefer to know ahead of time.

All that said, however, a cupcake surprise is a different story.

See, these cupcakes aren’t frosted traditionally. Instead, they’re filled with a surprise. And by that I mean they’re filled with a light, fluffy pink-colored vanilla buttercream through a convenient little cut-out heart shape. I used a little heart-shaped cookie cutter from Sur la Table that cost me a whopping $.76. I know, it almost bankrupted me.

Just bake your cupcakes, whatever kind you want, and when they’re all cooled cut out the shape using a small cookie cutter. I went down pretty deep so the entire cupcake would be filled, but you can just do a bit from the top. Then fill the cut-out shape with frosting using a piping bag & small round tip (for the size of my cookie cutter, Wilton’s 2A tip was perfect). Donesky. If you want to do the confectioner’s sugar thing, just dust them AFTER cutting out the shape but BEFORE filling with frosting. That would look awesome with a red velvet cupcake, too. Any & every combination works: chocolate with vanilla filling, red velvet with chocolate filling, red velvet with cream cheese filling, vanilla with strawberry filling, chocolate with strawberry filling, vanilla with chocolate filling, strawberry with chocolate filling… etc, etc. The sugar dusting just won’t be very visible on a vanilla cupcake, though. But that’s okay… it’s pretty without it, too. On that note, I’ve seen it done as a vanilla cupcake with lemon curd filling as well, which would be nice for spring.

*heart cake stand also from Sur La Table

You can use any flavor cupcake, any flavor or kind of frosting, and any shape cookie cutter. Stars, snowflakes, shamrocks, etc. Even just a circle! Here are some recipes, if you need them:

I used Wilton’s heart-shaped silicone baking cups to bake the cupcakes in. Any kind of shape will do, you don’t have to use hearts, nor do you have to use the same shape as your cookie cutter. A round cupcake with a heart cut-out is just as cute! Another excellent idea: letters. Cut out letters on top to spell out a message, or someone’s name, or just use one letter; maybe your kid’s initial for a birthday party. I’m partial to hearts, and the color pink, so obviously I was going to make ones like this for Valentine’s Day. But of course, this idea can extend far past Valentine’s Day.

I like the spelling out of a message idea, myself. Like maybe…

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Just a thought.

printable-valentine-cards-cupid-inside-red-heart

She sells seashell cupcakes by the seashore.

;

One of the things that just screams summer, especially when you live near an ocean and are apt to see them A LOT, are seashells. Once the seashells come out, I know it’s definitely summer. You start to see them hanging on wreaths, on restaurant tables, used as planters or candle holders, hanging on walls, on sandals, as earrings, etc. Most people don’t think of the ocean when they think of New York, they just think of “the city.” But New York boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in- dare I say- the world. Coney Island, The Hamptons, Jones Beach, Point Lookout, Brighton Beach, Rye Beach, Manhattan Beach, etc. All of those are not only beautiful but historic beaches. As a kid, going to to beach a few times a week was one of the glories of summer; I could be the little mermaid I was born to be all day long, collecting seashells & starfish, finding little crabs & tide pools, making sand castles and of course swimming myself silly. It’s still one of my favorite things to do. And I still love seashells. I can’t help it, I’m a true summer baby- born July 30th, the height of summer.


I bought these Mary Englebreit cupcake liners last spring, with all intentions of using them last summer. But that didn’t happen. I thought they were so cute, I couldn’t resist! I saw a whole summer cupcake theme going on in my head. Sadly, my summer last year was not how I expected. So this summer I decided I would definitely use those little seahorse liners. And I had an idea! I wanted to do a little seahorse on top of each cupcake. But I couldn’t find appropriate molds, nor could I find any edible toppers that were up to my standards. So I decided I’d buy a set of chocolate seashells, and put one on top of each cupcake. But then I saw the assortment of chocolate shells on the internet, and I wasn’t really pleased. I could’ve made my own, by buying some seashell chocolate molds, but then the weather got really hot.  And that’s when I said, “Self.. maybe chocolate isn’t the best material to use right now.” I was stuck, yet determined. I’d already put off using those liners for a year! I was GOING to use them.

And right about then is when I saw these cute little molded sugar shells at the Cupcake Social and they were perfect.


I brushed them with some gold Wilton pearl dust to give them a little something extra special. It also reminds me a little of sand.


I used an extra large open star tip to frost the vanilla cupcakes with a sweet but ever-so-slightly salty blue frosting (supposed to be reminiscent of saltwater taffy!). Then I topped each one with two seashells. And there you have it- the perfect beachy summery cupcakes.

VANILLA CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, mixing well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a small bowl. Then, with the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour.
  4. Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center of the cupcakes spring back when touched. Cool completely before frosting.

SLIGHTLY SALTY “SALT WATER TAFFY” BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 stick SALTED butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 pound – 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk (perhaps more)
  • food coloring, if desired

Directions:

  1. Place the butter and shortening in a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Slowly add the first pound and a half of powdered sugar, a cup at a time until all is incorporated. Turn off the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl very well. Add the vanilla and mix again.
  2. Slowly add half of the milk while the mixer is on, and beat for one minute. Add food coloring. Blend.
  3. Add more milk or sugar as needed to achieve a frosting consistency that’s suitable to piping.

For this frosting color, I used regular McCormick liquid food coloring: two drops of green and three drops of blue. It was the perfect color, wasn’t it? And if you don’t have any salted butter, use a little bit of table salt. Just sprinkle it in, a teeny bit at a time until the desired saltiness is achieved. If you’re concerned about the possible grittiness, then just grind the table salt until it’s super fine. And I usually use homemade buttermilk for things like this; I just mix milk & white vinegar together in a ratio of 1 cup to 1 tablespoon (or 1/2 cup to 1 teaspoon). I mix it together and then just let it sit for 15 minutes. I just find the flavor is better, and this way I don’t have to keep throwing away buttermilk that’s been in my fridge too long or worry about the powdered kind getting all clumpy. Of course any kind of buttermilk works, but that’s just what I like to do.

That beautiful cake stand was a gift from my cousin and his wife who live in New Orleans; it’s from a store called Roux Royale, just in case you’re wondering.


Sometimes, you have to just make some pretty cupcakes for no other reason than to enjoy them, and put them on a pretty cake plate. Even on a random Monday. Or Tuesday… or Thursday. Whenever. Even if it’s pretty hot out. Even if it’s so hot you think your face is going to melt off. ‘Cause look at these! They’re so beautiful, you can’t help but smile.


They’re worth it.

And of course, they go perfectly with my grandmother’s vintage 40’s/50’s summer tablecloth that I recently found. How amazing is this? And how jealous are you? ‘Cause I bet you’re pretty friggin’ jealous right now. That’s okay, I would be too. Between my cake plate and this… pfft. You might as well give up. You ain’t got nuthin’ on me & my summer steez.

Anyway, I love you summer. ♥ Here’s to you & all your awesomeness.

S’more & more & more…

Hey… psst… as of midnight last night, er, this morning, the cookie jar giveaway is officially over! Congrats to the winner, Sarah – enjoy your cookie jar! And thanks to everyone else who entered. I hope to have many more in the future.

I bake after midnight a lot. More than most, I’d guess. And lately I’ve been in baking mode; clafouti & cookies & cupcakes, oh my. But see, here’s the rub. When the weather gets hot, I hate to turn on the oven, so I try & do my baking at night (or the early morning) when it’s cooler. I’m kind of old fashioned like that. Even with air conditioning… I still hate to have the oven on when the temperature is over 80º degrees unless it’s 100% necessary. And you’d think that with cupcakes it’d be necessary. And it is. But not necessary enough. So I do it at night when everyone’s asleep (well, almost everyone… Jay does work until 2:30 a.m. after all) & the sun is down, & it’s way cooler. This guy might or might not be awake, too.

Anyway. If I’m lucky, it’s cool enough (and the humidity is low enough) after midnight to fling all the windows open and get fresh nighttime air. I’m a full-on night owl, that’s when I do my best thinking too. It’s when I came up with this.

S’mores cupcakes have been done before. Tons of times. You’re probably thinking, “Been there, done that, seen it on Pinterest.” And you’d be right. But I don’t really like to try & reinvent the wheel, here. I like the classics. Forget about inventing taco cupcakes or some crazy shit. I like reworking the classics & trying new ways of doing them. I’m just nutty like that. I mean, isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over & over & expecting different results? I think someone said that once. It probably wasn’t anyone I know, though, they’re all a bunch of damn lunatics themselves.. It..

At any rate, I decided to recreate a classic cupcake in a way I never did it before. S’mores cupcakes are some of my favorite cupcakes ever. The last time I made them was quite some time ago, and it was this recipe. That recipe is awesome- don’t get me wrong. But I wanted to try something different. Side note: do you think it’s normal I look back on my blog posts from 4 years ago and cringe? ‘Cause I do. Mainly because the pictures suck. Anyway… s’mores. What’s there not to like about them? And they’re pretty much perfect for this time of year; s’mores themselves are a summer staple, aren’t they? They’re made at cook-outs, barbecues, camping trips, etc. And this is a less messy way of having your s’mores and eating them too. Although a messy s’more right off the fire is a lovely thing.

This time I decided to make a rich dark chocolate cupcake and sprinkle it with graham cracker crumbs before baking it.

Then once they’re out of the oven and almost cooled, I put a large marshmallow on top…

And then stuck ‘em under the broiler; toasting the marshmallow and melting it, creating a “frosting.”

As it settles, it melts down onto the cupcake. And there you have it.

A new take on the s’mores cupcake.

S’MORE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s® Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • about 4 or 5 honey graham crackers, crushed
  • 12 large marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º degrees F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour and baking powder. In another bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk and vegetable oil. Gradually whisk flour mixture into sugar mixture. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Add a heaping teaspoon of crushed graham crackers on top of each cupcake. Bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool for several minutes in the cupcake pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool just enough so they can be handled. Once cooled, but yet still warm, transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each cupcake with a large marshmallow. Slide under the broiler and broil until browned, bubbly & melted. Remove immediately. Allow marshmallow to cool enough so that it won’t burn your mouth, then eat away!

I got my brown cupcake liners from sweet estelle’s baking supply. I like using dark brown liners when making chocolate cupcakes, I think it looks much nicer than a white one or a colored one. Most colored ones aren’t greaseproof enough to work on chocolate cupcakes. Unless they’re from the Confectionery House or Sutton Gourmet Paper. But that’s just my two cents. I prefer to use brown or black liners for dark cupcakes, I like the look. But I also like potato chip sandwiches, hot sauce in macaroni & cheese, dipping french fries in blue cheese dressing, the smell of gasoline and shaving the sides of my head. I don’t expect you to fully agree with everything I say.

The neat thing about these is that the next day, the marshmallow is still soft & gooey. So they’re good warm and they’re also good the next day.

Or for breakfast. Not that I’m encouraging that at all, kids. S’mores cupcakes and Coke are NOT a balanced breakfast, but I eat it anyway and feel the same silent, secret shame I feel when I actually like a Coldplay song.

Christmas goodies… & cupcakes.

It seems like all my decorations this year are retro & vintage ones. I’m using all my Nana‘s decorations, some of which date back to the 1940’s. They’re all so special to me & it makes it feel like she’s still here. So I guess it’s a retro Christmas around here.

Sometimes I just need to make a logo, even if it’s for nothing. Sorry. Involuntary graphic-designer twitch.

Anyway I’ve been getting a lot of love from Pinterest, so I want to say hi & thanks! Tons of you have been clicking through from there- so I hope you’re liking what you see, and keep coming back. I’ve also been getting a lot of Christmas goodies via snail mail lately. I guess that means I’ve been a good girl this year? I think I have been, but I guess every naughty person says that, right? Anyway this particular gift (& inspiration) is in the form of a Christmas table runner my amazingly-talented-with-a-needle-&-thread Californian friend Yoyo made for me. A custom made table runner. How friggin’ lucky am I?

Crazy lucky. And look! It has cupcakes on it!

A Christmas table runner with pink candy stripes & cupcakes… I can’t even deal with the cuteness. It’s just the best, and the color scheme & patterns match almost perfectly with all my grandma’s vintage Christmas stuff. The pinks & greens & lighter than usual Christmas colors just went so amazing with the white plastic trees & retro Christmas ball candle holders. And as usual, it all inspired me to make cupcakes that went with it!

And yes, they’re little cuppy cake trees. I seem to be all about the trees this year, eh? Now that I look at them, though, they’d be great for a little girl’s birthday too. The pastel colors are so sweet. They almost melt my cold heart.

Whoops, that tree to the right is leaning a bit!

I took purposely washed-out vintagey kind of photos of them, & used my grandma’s vintage jadeite plates for a more 1950’s-ish presentation. I think it worked, don’t you? Those salt & pepper shakers are from Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH. If you’ve never been, you should go!

The cupcakes are just a plain vanilla cake, with vanilla flavored pastel green-tinted buttercream. As far as the frosting on the cakes, I used a large star tip to create that look. If you make 12 cupcakes, make enough frosting for 24 cupcakes; the trees need to be frosted twice as high as normal. The color is Wilton icing color in Leaf Green (only a drop!). Candy pearls are by Wilton, pink liners, larger pink candy ‘baubles’ (candy-coated chocolate) & pink candy pearls from Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies. Green sanding sugar was bought at Target ages ago, but you can get it anywhere. And of course- runner by Topstitch! If you’re in the market for awesomesauce handmade items, check out Yoyo’s blog & her store. She’s always updating it with new material. And I’m sure for the right price she’ll do custom items for you, too, so just ask.

Christmas is getting closer & closer. Are you all ready?

God Save the Cupcakes!

I know it’s officially “Christmas time” (or at least that’s what the retailers want us to believe), but humor me with this one non-X-mas related post, & then I promise you for the rest of the month it’ll be non-stop holiday hijinks.

Last year, actually almost 2 years ago- early in 2010- my insanely talented friend Chrisie (who you may remember from my giveaway in 2009, when she donated an absolutely gorgeous Cupcake Rehab painting) contacted me with a request. I know Chrisie for a loooong time, well about 10 years. We met at F.I.T. in a Fashion Illustration class (that was so much fun) & I’m pretty sure the universe broke when they put us in a class together. Anyway, she had an idea; she wanted to make an entire series of cupcake paintings, inspired by me and Cupcake Rehab, and the next one she wanted to do was a punk cupcake. Now seriously… if anyone knows me, they know that there is probably no better person to create such a cupcake. Okay, maybe that’s not 100% true, but I’m into punk, and cupcakes, so really I am sort of an authority on a punk cupcake. I used to be a punk cupcake...

Not that you’d really know it anymore- I’ve grown up and mellowed out a lot since my days of spike bracelets & collars, pink hair (my favorite of the “not-normal” colors I’ve ever had), rebellion, anarchy, anti-authority and the ever-chic look of wearing safety pins in my ears. Now I shop at places like Anthropologie & wear ballet flats & J. Crew sweaters (but yes, underneath the sweater is a Clash t-shirt), my significant other is a cop (even if he is in a death metal band, he’s still law enforcement!) & while I do sort of have a ‘faux hawk’, or rather a side cut, I haven’t dyed my hair in months (for the first time in 13 years I see my natural color, & I dislike it just as much as I used to, except now there are strands of gray for me to dislike as well). But I still listen to the music, and believe in the ideology. Bottom line is this: I learned a long time ago it isn’t worth it arguing over what’s really punk and what’s not, or who’s really punk and who’s not, especially when it’s based on outer appearance or clothing. Just like it’s pointless to assume that someone is less “punk” than you because they don’t dye their hair/shave it into mohawk/don’t have fully tattooed biceps/etc. You shouldn’t always judge a book by it’s cover, and knocking others for listening to things besides one genre of music isn’t “punk” either; it’s pretty lame, and you’ll realize it one day. Being an individual means being yourself & NOT wearing a uniform, even if that uniform is neon Liberty spikes, a studded & patched denim jacket & piercings. I do still wear my jacket, though.

“The Jacket”

So anyway, I’m getting way off track here. Let’s just stick with the cupcakes. Chrisie pitched me her concept: a cupcake with a pink mohawk, and I had these liners from Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies that were black with white polka dots, and I figured they’d be perfect (I also used them on my white chocolate almond cupcakes and others, they’re awesome liners). With those things as my base ideas, I started coming up with stuff immediately. I decided to make a vanilla cake with a dollop of chocolate buttercream frosting dyed black, and then do the hot pink “mohawk” on top of that in royal icing. Then I started thinking about “props”; stuff that would add a bit more to the “punk” theme for her painting. I remembered that I was in possession of an old spike bracelet I used to wear in high school, so I thought I’d put it around the bottom of the cupcake like a spike collar. I also suggested maybe incorporating a sort of Sex Pistols kind of typography and safety pins somewhere. I took the photos on a black background so it’d look a bit more dramatic, and also so it’d be easier for her to paint in whatever background she wanted. She came up with an amazing composition! (I’ll post the recipes I used for the frosting after all the images for anyone who’s interested)

So here’s the big reveal! I have been SO EXCITED to share this with you, for so long now. I’ve been waiting patiently since January of 2010 to post this, that’s a big deal for me! This is coming from someone who can’t keep birthday presents a secret without losing it & can’t stand to wait ’til Christmas to open my own gift. That said, I’m not one to rush an artist into creating a piece of artwork, so I’ve been patient, and it’s been totally worth it. She told me about a month ago it was done & sent me the pictures of the finished product, but I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to blog it. Here are two pictures of my cupcakes that helped to inspire her, followed by the amazing painting Chrisie did from using my pictures as reference.

So friggin’ cute with the little mohawks.

And… are you ready? Seriously?

Are you?

Okay, drumroll please. Here’s her painting! Ta-da!

……

How incredibly awesome and beautiful is that!? It’s ridiculous. I know, I cannot even fathom her talent. It’s like a friggin’ photograph. I’m telling you- she’s crazy. Chrisie is so amazingly talented, and she recently opened her own baking business, Eat Cakes. To get on the mailing list, shoot an e-mail to eatcakeorder@gmail.com. To see more of her artwork or commission her to do a painting, visit ccomis.com. There might be more collabo’s between the two of us involving cupcakes & paintings in the future. I’m excited.

So now I’m just waiting for the “punks” to come here & get on me for selling out & making such a cliched “punk cupcake” so I can stick my foot up someones’ ass… okay anyway, here’s the 411 on how to do the frosting, including food coloring & tips. The cupcake is just a plain vanilla cake so that’s easy enough for you to figure out.


“BLACK” CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

Get some:

  • 1 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup dark cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate squares, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (approx. 1 lb) sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons black food coloring (I personally recommend Americolor Super Black for this)

Then do this:

  1. Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla.
  2. 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.
  3. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add food coloring a little at a time, until desired shade is reached. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
  4. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using. Also, keep in mind the longer the icing sits the darker it will get, so don’t add too much color, it’ll just wreck the consistency of your frosting. Using a large round tip, pipe a circle of frosting on each cake. The using an offset spatula, smooth it down into a flat surface for the ‘mohawk’ to sit on.

ROYAL ICING “MOHAWK”

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites (or substitute powdered egg whites)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bright pink food coloring (I used Wilton Rose icing color)

Directions:

  1. Combine the egg whites and confectioners’ sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the extract, this will thin out the icing. Beat for another couple of minutes until you reach the right spreading consistency for the cupcakes. Then add the food coloring and beat.
  3. Using a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M), after the buttercream frosting on the cupcakes has “set”, pipe three to four “stars” in a row on each cupcake. Ta-da! Mohawk!

So put on some X-Ray Spex or some Sex Pistols, do your best Joe Strummer imitation, brush your bangs into your eyes like Joey Ramone and eat some mohawk cupcakes. Or don’t. I don’t care either way. Oi, oi, oi.

Nobunny knows Easter better than Cupcake Rehab.

I mean are you kidding? Bunnies, eggs, chicks and all things cute are my specialties.

This Easter had a sad spin on it, given the events of last week. But I tried my hardest to make it as nice & happy as possible, complete with pretty little cupcakes & desserts. The cake pops I made for Valentine’s Day were such a big hit I decided I needed to make some for Easter. I went with the easiest concept- eggs. Although I was going to attempt chicks, stylized chicks in a kind of “Peeps” look I didn’t get around to it. I ended up making tons of cake pops (and a few little egg-shaped cake balls) instead. Adorable! This time, instead of using white cake mix & frosting, I used chocolate fudge.

I’m sure you all know how to make these by now, but in case you don’t, I’ll leave it to the queen to explain; Bakerella‘s tutorial on cake pops can be found here. You can also make them without the lollipop sticks (look for the ‘cake balls’ tutorial on Bakerella.com). Just a word to the wise: chocolate cake mix is moister than vanilla or white, so use a bit less frosting when making the pops, or else they won’t firm up properly and they’ll collapse on ya. Is ‘moister’ even a word?

I’m still no expert at cake pops, but the more you make them the easier they get. I’m starting to get a little technique down. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the “chocolate egg” cake balls, but they were just the chocolate fudge egg-shaped cake balls dipped in light cocoa and blue candy melts, then I just used the opposite color to do drizzles on top. I wrapped those up in the little baggies with bunny ribbons too. I know it’s juvenile, but I have to stop writing ‘cake balls.’ It’s making me laugh too much. Cake balls. Bwahaha!

I also made cupcakes, and I topped them with a green buttercream “grass” and some pink and purple sugar flower posies (courtesy of Wilton). You could certainly make your own icing flowers, though, if you’re a bit more ambitious than I was. I had a shit week, you’ll have to forgive me. I made a cupcake recipe I made a few Easter’s ago which is one of my favorites for spring. I like to call them “Lemony Snicket’s” cupcakes because they’re a very light lemony-vanilla flavored cake (& frosting). The tulip cupcake liners are just the cutest thing ever, and I’ve been saving them for a while now. I knew I’d use ‘em for either Easter or Mother’s Day! You can get them at Cupcake Social or get them at sweet estelle’s baking supply, or even at Bake It Pretty. Look at that- choices galore. God Bless America!

I used my super jumbo star tip for these… it’s my new favorite tip, sorry Wilton!

LEMONY SNICKET’S CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (organic)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup  milk

LEMONY SNICKET’S BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar (or icing or powdered sugar), sifted
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (again, preferably organic since you’re using the zest)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk or light cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture, along with the milk, and beat until combined.
  3. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

For the Frosting:

  1. In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed.
  4. Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the Wilton icing colors in the little tubs, this color is ‘Leaf Green’).

If you have the tip that makes the frosting look like actual grass (Wilton tip #233), then that would be super cute too. I like to pipe my frosting a little on the high side (in case you haven’t noticed), so I always make a little bit more frosting than the recipe calls for. Oh, and obviously, I baked the cakes in plain white liners, then just stuck them in the tulip ones. It seemed as though the tulip liners were a bit short, so I used them as an accent. I think they’re really pretty though, don’t you?

In this one you can really see how cute the liners are…

I should also probably mention I always get 14 cupcakes out of this recipe. It’s supposed to make 12, but I never get less than 14.

Well, Happy Easter! If you’re still stumped for ideas for tomorrow, check out my Easter category & this little compilation of my favorite Easter-y cupcake ideas. On that note, I’ll leave you with pictures of my Easter eggs this year. I did a few different kinds, my favorite one being the pink one in the second picture with the gold sequins. Guess why.

Black & white.

There are a few things I want to address before I get to the baking. First: my friend Yoyo is the best. I know that I gush about her all the time, but I can’t help it. She’s fantastic. She custom made me this awesome cowl, and I am in LOVE with it. This was taken almost 2 months ago before I met the Cooking The Books ladies for coffee.

It’s a houndstooth cotton lined with warm black fleece, and it’s reversible! I’m sure she’ll make you a custom order, if you want one. She does amazing work, and her prices are crazy affordable. I plan on having her make me another for sure. Oh, and notice all that snow behind me? Ha. Sucks. It was so bright I was squinting because the sun was reflecting off all of that snow! Thankfully by now most of that is melted, or at least all gray and slushy. Today we’re having such a bad rain/wind storm! How things change.  My hair is also (slightly) longer and darker now, in case you were wondering. Anyway, the second thing I wanted to share is I joined (finally) Frosting for the Cause a month or so ago.  Frosting for the Cause is a project you can read more about at the site, but here’s a snippet:

Beginning January 1, 2011 a total of 365 sugar cookie & cupcake bakers/decorators and bloggers from across Canada and the United States will take turns doing a guest post here at Frosting for the Cause. Once a day, every day for a year you will be treated to a new and talented blogger who will showcase their home-made, hand-decorated cookies or cupcakes together with their recipes. Almost everyone, everywhere, has been touched by cancer in one form or another. The guest bakers will also share in a very personal manner with readers of Frosting for the Cause, about a woman in their life who had to face this terrible disease head-on.

Also, in accordance with their rules, I’m pledging to donate $25.00 to the American Cancer Society, and also in my post I will be telling the story of a survivor; my mom. My posting date is April 3rd, but I’ll keep reminding everyone periodically so you don’t have to remember that. I encourage all you bakers to join- it’s fun, and its for a good cause.

So now that you know what’s going on with me, let’s get back to the baking! Continuing with the black & white theme of my cowl, I thought I’d give these cupcakes another go. Last time I did them, I was relatively new to baking, and while they came out really good… I thought I’d try ‘em again, using dark cocoa powder. This time I used a dual frosting technique as well. I also halved the recipe because from what I remember I got like 30 last time, and I really have no need for 30 black & white cupcakes right now. 17 is one thing. Over 30 is quite another. I only have so many family members to share them with, not to mention only so many glass domes & cake plates to store things in!

I might be a bit of a perfectionist, but I’m really not happy with my photos of these. I think it’s time to invest in a really good camera. In real life, they looked better, I promise, haha. Although despite how they look, these cupcakes are some of my absolute favorites. So delicious.

I’d suggest you make both batters at once, one after the other, then spoon them into the liners at the same time, side by side. Otherwise, whichever color you put in first will slide across the bottom.

BLACK & WHITE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

Vanilla:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
Chocolate:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt (and chocolate powder when you’re making the chocolate cupcakes); set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
  3. Fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each batter, side by side. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yeah, it’s a huge recipe. 4 eggs & a half pound of butter!  But if you halve it, it’s not bad, plus it’s definitely not as bad as these. For the frosting, I wanted to use a favorite of mine from Our Best Bites and do half vanilla and half chocolate. Be sure to read the post there on it, there are lots of weird things that can happen if you don’t use real name-brand butter or make substitutions. However, I forgot because I was making it while watching Elton John on David Letterman. I swear. So I made a new buttercream that is quite delectable from I am baker. I just used Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa (in the cupcakes as well, however it didn’t make the buttercream quite as dark as it did the cupcakes, which was a disappointment). That was probably my fault though. Although I made a similar mistake with my last dark cocoa attempt… hmph.

Chocolate frosting never comes out good in photos, at least not for me. It always looks like shit, literally. Even with some sparkly sugar on top. Oh well.

Oh and speaking of black & white, I also received a surprise present today from Yoyo: this black & white polka dot apron! Pictures to come, of course.