Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Millions of Cupcakes!

I don't like to discriminate. If I make a 9 inch cake, I should be able to make 3 inch cakes... my little cupcakes! My first challenge - how am I going to make about 50 cupcakes? Well, thank goodness! - my friend at work (Monique) needs a birthday cake for her son (Steven), and was hoping it could be two light sabers crossing over each other. What better use for cupcakes?!?!

(See! Look how cute they are all pink and such.)

So, I decided that I should try out chocolate, strawberry, and orange cupcakes (thus millions of cupcakes).


Chocolate Cupcakes:
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco shortening.)
• 3/4 cup water
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup milk (I used 2% milk.)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 4 ounces melted unsweetened baking chocolate (I bought baking chocolate that had the ounces measured out into squares. The instructions said to microwave the squares until they melted - and none of them burned! - which was my main concern.)

1. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with little paper liners (white ones).

2. I combined all ingredients into my electric mixing bowl and turned it on! This was really easy. The only part that worried me during this step is that the Crisco broke up into little pieces. When I stopped the mixer to take a look at this, the Crisco bits all floated to the top! Which I thought was a complete disaster. Then I turned the electric mixer to high for it to mix and everything turned out fine. phew!)

3. I filled the liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter and baked 20 minutes in my gas oven, and actually used a wooden toothpick to determine if it was fully baked. (Fully baked = insert toothpick and it comes out clean)

These chocolate cupcakes were pretty good! They tasted like chocolate and they were pretty soft. I'm more of a dark chocolate cake person, but these seemingly milk chocolate cupcakes were pretty good.


Orange Cupcakes:
• 1 3/4 cup cake flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten until stiff (I did this first, so they were sitting around for about 10 minutes before I folded them in. They seemed to have separated a little while waiting, so next time I will probably whip them right before I need to use them.)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup orange juice (I think I used Simply?)
• 1 stick of butter, softened (unsalted)

1. I combined butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and creamed them on a low setting.

2. I mixed flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Then added the dry ingredients to creamed ingredients 1/3 at a time alternating with adding portions of the orange juice to the creamed mixture. (It started smelling really orange-y at this point - very promising!)

3. Folded in beaten egg whites at this point, and it looked pretty fluffy!

4. Spooned batter into cupcake liners until 1/2 full and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. (When they baked up they were at the perfect cupcake height! - puffed up right above the liners.)

These orange cupcakes just didn't cut it for me! They taste like vanilla cupcakes with an orange aftertaste. I really like cupcakes that kind of shout their flavor, so I'm still in search of the best recipe for orange cupcakes. On the upside, they were very soft and pleasant to eat. But still...


Sprinkles Cupcakes' Strawberry Cupcakes:
• 2/3 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries (thawed if frozen) - I used fresh strawberries pureed in my food processor.
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted (I didn't sift my flour)
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. coarse salt (I used sea salt - not the best idea. Next time I'll be trying Kosher salt. The sea salt left large chunks of salt surprises waiting to be crunched on... eek!)
• 1/4 cup whole milk , room temperature (I used 2% refrigerator temperature)
• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 large egg , room temperature (I used refrigerator temp)
• 2 large egg whites , room temperature (Again, refrigerator temp - I'm really impatient sometimes.)

1. Pureed my strawberries to receive about 1/3 cup of puree.

2. Whisked together flour, baking powder and salt. In a different bowl, I mixed together milk, vanilla and strawberry puree.

3. In my electric mixed I creamed butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Then slowly added sugar and beat until fluffy. I reduced the mixer speed and slowly added egg and egg whites until just blended.

3. Then I put the mixer on low, and slowly added half the flour mixture until just blended. Then added the milk mixture until just blended. Then slowly added remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula until just blended.

4. As a tip from Sprinkles Cupcakes, I used a ice cream scooper to measure out the amount of batter for each cupcake spot so that the cupcakes would all be even (great idea!). Then I baked at 350F for about 17-22 minutes.

These cupcakes were wonderfully strawberry-ey! The only drawback to them was that the salt I used was sea salt... and even though the recipe called for a coarse salt, they didn't mean sea salt - because I'm sure Sprinkles doesn't want anybody getting a huge chunk of salt in their cupcake bite. I'm sure Sprinkles meant Kosher salt! That's what I'll try next time. Other than the salt, they were fruity and soft. Great combo for a cupcake.

This is all the naked little cupcakes just waiting to be frosted! Which is just was I did ...

Who doesn't like Fluffy White Frosting? The answer is nobody. Everybody loves fluffy white frosting. This is how I made it:

• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 2 egg whites
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. I put the egg whites and vanilla extract in my mixer and started to whip.

2. Combined the sugar, water and tartar together on the stovetop and mixed until completely dissolved.

3. When the whites started developing soft peaks I added the warmish/hot sugar mixture until completely blended.

4. Had frosting time! (As seen below)

Now we're almost done making a Star Wars themed cupcake cake.

I colored the frosting like so:

I didn't get the color I wanted - which was the serious dark blue saber and the serious red saber... instead they're a happy bright pink and a cheery blue! Pretty! Despite the color I frosted all the cupcakes for a great test run! Here's the final result!

As you can see not all of them are frosted in the picture - I tried making some grey-ish and black-ish frosting and it wasn't as pretty. So you don't get to see that. Just the pretty happy cupcakes. But it was easy making the ugly colored frosting. I just put black in the blue until I got the darker color. Okayyyy here's the final final picture:

Happy now?

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see them in person! I mean, with the Star-Wars design and all. Steven's birthday can't come soon enough! The kids STILL haven't had their sample from the potluck since I haven't seen them since Monday (except for breakfast time and absolutely no cupcakes for breakfast. Their teachers would totally cross my name off the good-parent list with one of those thick black Sharpies. BUT TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT!! Maybe one of them will share...)