Monday, May 25, 2009
Homemade Cupcakes + Friends = One Awesome Birthday Party - Part One
So, it is official, Quin is now a three year old. Her birthday was earlier in the week, and her party was today. I lucked out last fall and won a 6 kid, Build-A-Bear Birthday Party, at a silent auction. If you don't know what this is, it is when you go to a shop, pick out an animal skin, which is then filled with stuffing while you watch. Then, you pick clothes, shoes, accessories for it. I got this certificate for a steal, and am so glad because Quin and her friends were THRILLED with their new stuffies, but I could never have afforded this over the top part of the party (thank you to the grandma who was bidding against me who made sure I won). All kids have more than enough stuffed animals but the kids find these really special because they were able to design them.
After we made out animals, everyone headed back to our place, for homemade cupcakes and milk. Quin and I had a wonderful time making her cupcakes last night, and then frosting and sprinkling them this morning.
My mom has sent us numerous cupcake making recipe books, and I took the recipes for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes from one called Super-Duper Cupcakes by Elaine Cohen. I tried to find the recipes on line but could not, so will post them here.
Deep Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
By Elaine Cohen
Makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
1 c very hot water
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1) Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with baking cup liners.
2) Put the cocoa in a small bowl; add the hot water and mix until smooth. Cool to room temp, the stir in vanilla.
3) Whisk in flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
4) Beat the butter with mixer set at med-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar; beat until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
5) With mixture on lowest speed, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter, followed immediately by about 1/3 of the cocoa mixture; mix until the ingredients are almost incorporated into the batter. repeat the process twice more. When the batter appears blended, stop the mixer and scrape the bowls sides with a rubber spatula. Return the mixer to low speed; beat until the batter looks satiny, about 15 seconds longer.
6) Pour the batter into the muffin cups so that the cups are about 80% full. Bake the cupcakes for 17-20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake, if it comes out clean or with a crumb adhering to it, it is done.
7) Transfer the muffin pans to wire cooling racks or away from the hot oven. Let them cool for 10 minutes. Place the cupcakes onto the rack or a plate so they can continue to cool. Be sure to cool the cupcakes completely before frosting, one hour.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
by Elaine Cohen
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 cups (1lb) confectioners' (icing) sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
2 T heavy cream (or milk)
Pinch of salt
(I never remember to buy unsalted butter, so in this recipe I used butter with salt and omitted the pinch of salt. I also thinned my frosting a bit by adding an additional 2-3 T of cream. TT)
Beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until the sugar is moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat, stopping twice to scrape down the bowl, until creamy and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
(I then divided the frosting, colored one bowl pink, by adding just two drops of red food coloring, and the other bowl orange, by using 3 drops red and about 5 drops orange, which by the way, is nothing like the directions for coloring in the book. You just need to experiment. We had pastel frosting but you can make very bright colors, too.)
For Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Follow the recipe above but add 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder and another 2 T heavy cream).
*Stay tuned for Part Two, which will have the vanilla cupcake recipe...
All Images, aside from the book cover, by Tiffany Teske