Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ducky baby shower, part III - Cupcakes!!!

You know, I think this was my first time to make cupcakes as an adult. I know, I'm way, way behind the times, as the cupcake craze continues to sweep the nation and a new cupcake shop appears on every street corner. Remember when there was a bagel shop for every 10 people in Houston? How about the 5 or 6 Thai places in a 1/2-mile shopping area (Rice Village)? Or fro-yo shops, now replaced by a different kind of fro-yo shops.

Incidentally, for the entrepreneurs among you, mark my words, the Next Big Thing is macarons, which are sneaking their way to the forefront (and are even more ridiculously priced than $3-4 cupcakes), closely followed by whoopie pies - admittedly, I haven't traveled to the west coast in 18 months and the east coast in much longer than that, and Houston is years behind the coasts - the NY Times article I linked is from more than a year ago...

I digress. I finally made cupcakes, for the rubber ducky shower for the wonderful Courtney and her soon-to-arrive Little Miss. And, in typical me fashion, I decided to make 3 kinds of cupcakes. Heck, I watch Cupcake Wars. They can produce 3 cupcake flavors and put little handmade fondant decorations on top in 30 minutes. I had, like, 6 hours.


I did it! They were pretty tasty, thankyouverymuch. We had strawberry, chocolate chip, and coconut, all from Martha Stewart recipes. Cupcake recipes are pretty simple, and all of these used the Basic Cupcake How-To - mix dry, mix wet, mix them together. I used a single buttercream recipe for the icing then added diced strawberry / mini chocolate chips / shredded coconut

The strawberry cupcakes, my personal favorites, were the least visually pleasing of the 3. The strawberries were just way too juicy, and as the liquid evaporated the cupcakes shrunk to maybe half their original size. It was funny (since this wasn't Food Network and I was pretty sure Court and family would not be quite as harsh as Florian on Cupcake Wars). I just piled on the icing and stuck a mini duck cookie on top.

I want to try piping the icing with swooshes and flourishes but 6 hours goes by quickly, so these were iced with a spatula and a spoon. I also want one of those fancy cupcake display stand thingies (Jessica, I'll add it to the Amazon wish list!) but, nevertheless, they turned out a-ok.

I halved the recipes - 80 cupcakes probably would have been overboard.

Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream
from Martha
Makes 34

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries

Strawberry buttercream frosting (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix milk, vanilla, and strawberries in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with strawberry buttercream. Frosted cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate chip frosting
from Martha
Makes 30

3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate chip buttercream frosting (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low. Mix milk and vanilla in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, and fold into batter. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 22 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Frost with chocolate chip buttercream, and serve immediately. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.

Coconut cupcakes with buttercream frosting and coconut flakes
From Martha
Makes 21

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed shredded coconut
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Buttercream frosting (see below)
1 1/3 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients, including coconut, in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix coconut and vanilla in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Once cupcakes are cool, mound frosting on tops. Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.

Easy Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1b. 10X powdered sugar
1-3 teaspoons milk, half and half or cream

Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.

Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.

If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.

Then, add icing colors to tint the frosting or add finely chopped strawberries or mini chocolate chips. I made half batches of each cupcake recipe, divided the frosting in thirds and added about 1/2 cup of strawberries for the strawberry buttercream and 1 cup of mini chocolate chips for the chocolate chip frosting. I didn't add coconut - just put some on top of the simple buttercream frosting.

1 comment:

  1. I found that you can type in the name of someone! So I found yours :) We need to tell Mom to do one!!!! Maybe you can drop a hint to her :)

    ReplyDelete