Posts tagged ‘Buttercream ‘

Cupcake Mountain, Wilmington, North Carolina

Read all about my trip to North Carolina for my firned Chrissy’s wedding, and the wedding cake I made for them, which will be hence for known as Cupcake Mountain.


Add a comment November 28, 2012

Old School Strawberry Cupcakes

I say old school, because if you are anything like me I’m sure you recall the kids whose parent made a big deal out of their birthday and sent in tons of cupcakes into school on their special day for the whole class. Growing up in my little town this meant white cupcakes slathered in loads of super fluffy white frosting from Schuyler Bakery, and if you happened to the birthday guy or gal– your cupcake was particularly huge and piped with a giant pink or blue rose. the only other thing as good as having  a giant bakery-made cupcake in front of you was if your mom make you these:

I was always jealous of the kid whose mom sent him in to school with none other than cupcakes in a cone– the very best of both worlds–cake, that looks like ice cream.  Flavor and execution. Obviously my long harbored jealousies have thrust me into my current cake obsessed life.  To be honest I think I tried to make these once in junior high and the tray of uncook cupcake cones toppled in the piping hot oven and I never tried to figure it out again… until today.  See this weekend I’m missing out on another birthday tradition– My little lady friend Aela, has just turned 7, officially yesterday, but the party is this weekend. And for the first time in 4? 5 years?… Well I was there when she first made her worldly debut– and for the first time ever, I won’t be showing up with a crazy cake in hand ready to steal the birthday girl’s thunder…Perhaps that a good thing.

All the same Aela is one of the various inspirations for this site so I feel pretty down not celebrating yet another caketastic birthday. So here is Martha Stewart’s recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes from her book Cupcakes, with the baking variation of making  them into ice cream cones.

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 c cake flour (I totally skipped this and just used all purpose)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 egss, + 1 egg white

1 c milk

2 c fresh chopped strawberries** (I blended mine to a fine puree in hopes of achieving a really pink cupcake. Chunks or puree its up to you)

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.  Add one egg at a time, mixing thoroughly after each egg.  Add vanilla.

Sift in flour, alternating with additions of milk.

Fold in chopped strawberries or puree  and pour in.

If you are really hoping for a very pink color you will need to add food coloring as strawberries tend to fade especially after they’re cooked. Or just leave ’em be.

I used a mini cupcake tray and the regular size waffle cones fit perfectly snug in the tray.

Add your batter just to the rim. And bake at 350 degrees.

Y0u can of course – do it the old fashioned way. Adding the frosting of your choice (Strawberry buttercream below)

Or Dark Chocolate Frosting with sprinkles.

Couldn’t resist the temptation!

3 comments April 2, 2011

Stout Shout Out

Brooklyn's Chocolate Stout, a seasonal beer

I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland one year and was asked repeatedly why I wasn’t back in New York where Patty’s day was inevitably more fun? I live not too far from a one of the bigger irish neighborhoods in New York.  Having had a pint in both the old country and here at home I can definetly say Guiness must be drunk on St. Patrick’s Day no matter where you are Irish or not.

The Chocolate and Coffee notes in Guiness nicely compliment of host of sweet flavors.  In fact its not uncommon in Ireland to have raspberry or strawberry liquor added to your pint.  Stout though dark is actually a very light beer (its got the same calorie count as your average light beer) and  is really versatile and fun to cook with.  I’ve got it lined up to make an appearance in Chocolate Cheesecake next.

So heres a really simple way to incorporate the luck of the Irish in your baking.  Add 1/4 c  -1/2 c (I tend to be more heavy handed with a 1/2 c) of Guiness or your favorite stout beer to a homemade chocolate cake.   Murphy’s is good, or Brooklyn Brewery makes a really rich Chocolate Stout around the holidays and I hoard it throughout the year for just this purpose.  Sometimes I throw a tablespoon of Irish whiskey in the batter just because. You’ll find the cake comes out light and fluffy!   To topp  ‘er off

Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

1/2 c (1 stick) butter softened

1/2 c Shortening (you can 1 c butter total and omit the shortening if you aren’t keen on it)

1/4-1/3 c Bailey’s Irish Cream (Emmet’s Irish Cream or your favorite brand is also suitable.  Bailey’s now makes a variety of flavor infused irish cream liquors like Bailey’s Mint, or Bailey’s Chocolate, so feel free to experiment.)

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla (clear or pure extract) optional

Blend all ingredients except for the sugar until creamy and smooth.  Add sugar gradually while mixing with an electric mixer.  Delicious.  I’ve watched many of my friends eat the left over frosting out of a bowl with a spoon its soooooo good.



1 comment March 17, 2010

Sirius Black (Out) Cake

I’m a big Harry Potter Fan.  I didn’t start reading these books until recently.  I figured by the time the fifth movie came out that it was time to join the rest of the population. Little did I know what a guilty pleasure these books are.  The further I get in this series the more I’m aghast at just how huge J.K. Rowling’s imagination is.  

My favorite Character (I’m reading The Half Blood Prince currently) is Sirius Black.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a crush on a fictional story book character…it is.  (If you haven’t read the Potter books, stop reading this blog and go to the Library.  –Spoiler Alert) Sirius is a wrongly accused felon, escaped convict, member of the rebel organization Order of the Phoenix, general outlaw, and Harry’s Godfather.  Sirius is misunderstood, bruding, and the way Gary Oldman portrays him in the movies is just wonderful.

So here is a spin on a recipe straightout of my grandmother’s kitchen.  Black Out Cake was big in the 1950’s.  Traditionally this is a multi layered chocolate cake, covered in chocolate frosting with layers of chocolate pudding in between.  The signature mark of a Black Out Cake is the chocolate cake crumbs crushed against the sides of the cake.  I looked around, improvised and decided to just take license with the amount of chocolate in this recipe as I wanted this not to be just a Black out Cake, but a Sirius (seriously) blackout Cake.

Sirius Black (Out) Cake:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of milk

2 1/4 flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c unsalted butter

1/4 shortening

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 bar bittersweet chocolate (ghiradelli is what I used.)

The bittersweet chocolate was not originally in this recipe.  Melt in a double boiler or like I did, place it in a oven safe bowl and pop it into your preheating oven (350 degrees).  It only takes a few minutes to start melting.  Take it out and stir and you’ll find you don’t have to have it completely melted in the oven, stirring it will finish the melting process. Remember its very easy to burn chocolate!!  Let the bitter sweet chocolate cool, but not harden.

Sift your dry ingredients: flour, soda, powder, salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together milk and cocoa.  The mixture will become a thick mousse like consistency.  Set aside.

Cocoa and Milk

Combine butter, shortening, and sugar until FLUFFY.  Trust me you’ll want to stop beating this at the crumbly stage, but mix until its legitamately FLUFFY.  Add one egg at a time, beating well after each egg.  Now add dry ingredients and milk ingredients alternating.  

By the way this is the classic process in making homemade spongey cake:  

1. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy.

2. Add one egg at a time

3. Alternate flour mix and milk, starting and ending with flour.  

Alright we are almost done.  Fold in the bittersweet chocolate, remember it shouldn’t be hot and it should still be a liquid consistency. 

Grease with butter or shortening then dust with thin layer of flour

Pour batter into two 8″ or 9″ round pans.  (butter and flour the pans) And cook for apprx 30 minutes.  The addition of the bittersweet chocolate makes this cake more like a brownie and more likely to dry out so make sure not to overcook.


2/3 c white sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c milk (2%)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate OR 3 oz 100% cocoa ghiradelli chocolate. (Siriusly take license with the chocolate!)

Combine everything over low heat.  Increase heat  to medium, whisking constantly until pudding is boiling.  Remove from heat.  Place in a bowl with plastic wrap against surface of pudding so it doesn’t form a skin (eww pudding skin!).  Refridgerate until cool.

Make chocolate butter cream icing. (Ingredients: butter and /or shortening, vanilla extract, water, Unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar.)There is a video with it if you forget how. Click Butter Cream on the side bar.

You’ll also want to make Ganache.  Ganache is semisweet chocolate and heavy cream.  I used 16oz. chocolate and 8oz. of cream, melted and whisked over low heat.  You can do a 1:1 ratio.  Ganache can be heated and used as a syrup, cooled slightly and piped, or spread like a frosting.  Its pretty awesome in terms of versatility.

OKAY.  So when your cake is cool slice each layer in half (horizontally).  Now you will have a 4 layer cake.  You could go as far as 3 times if your cake is thick enough. Pipe a ring of frosting around the bottom layer and fill in with pudding.  Stack the next layer and repeat.  Now frost the cake with butter cream and refrigerate.  Once the cake has “crusted” meaning you can touch the icing with your hand and it doesn’t stick, instead it is smooth and hard–has a layer of crust– you are ready to cover with ganache.

Its best to assemble this cake on a cardboard cake circle that is the exact same size– so an 8″ circle for an 8″ cake.  This will allow you to move the cake around, pour Ganache over it without messing up the board or plate you will ultimately display the cake on.  If by this point your ganache has hardened, reheat in the microwave, or over low heat or by placing in a bath of warm water.  Mix to assure that all the ganache is melted and smooth.

Place a tall sturdy cup on a large cookie sheet.  Place cake on top of cup.   You can now pour the ganache over the cake– be generous and just DUMP it!  push ganache toward the side with a long metal spatula.  Excess will drip onto cookie sheet, and you can reuse this extra on other cakes later.  Once cake is covered make one smooth pulling motion across the top of the cake to assure that the layer of ganache is even– this will also give you a smooth top.

Like I said Ganache can also be piped.  I added some black food coloring to my leftover ganache and placed in a piping bag and just swirled it all over the cake.  I was trying to imitate all the cool prison tattoos Sirius has.  I thought this was a bit cooler than crumbing the side.

4 comments November 20, 2009

Butter Cream Frosting

My first video blog or vlog if you will!!!!  I edited this myself with iMovie.  I’m not as Mac saavy as I’d like to be so I’m gushing with delight!!  For any of my new students who’ve just begun Course One this is the frosting you’ll need to prepare for class.  For anyone is just no good at making homemade icing, well watch below and see if you can improve your frosting skills the same way I’m improving my techie nerd skills. 

Butter Cream and Chocolate Butter Cream

1 cup Vegetable Shortenting


1/2 c butter and 1/2 Shortening

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

2-4 TB water or Milk

2lbs Powdered sugar (if making chocolate frosting omit 1/2 c powdered sugar and add 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder)

1 Tb Meringue Powder (for Wilton class recipe, optional otherwise)

9 comments November 8, 2009

Royal Icing…How to make it

Its way harder than you think, and chances are the first time you make royal icing you will screw it up.  Royal Icing needs to be coaxed, coddled, and finessed.  Its like dealing with a high maintenance girlfriend the first time you make it. But once you get it right, you will always (for the most part) be successful in the future.  

A few things to know:

Royal icing is highly suseptable to grease.  Don’t let any greasy-anything near it.  In fact I suggest making royal in metal, and glass bowls only.  Plastic is a difficult surface to remove oils from (chemically oil and plastic are very similiar–therefore they bond together, and are difficult to separate). 

There are alot of ways to make royal icing all of them include beating the mixture for a decent amount of time (7-12 minutes).  Egg whites which are present in every royal icing reciepe, are interesting for their ability to bond with air particles and increase their volume. And though its totally possible to over mix both egg whites and just about anything else you bake (except for gluten free cake–more on this later) you must adequatey beat this egg white-containing mixture in order for it to arrive at the proper consistency.  DSCN0312

Here are some royal icing recipes. All work.  You may like some better than others.  Some could potentially break your beaters…DSCN0309          


Royal Icing The Old-fashioned way:

2 egg whites*

1 TBSP lemon juice

3 cups of powdered sugar

Combine lemon juice and egg whites and mix using egg beaters or counter top mixer.  Egg whites should have some foam present but still be liquidy.

Add sugar and continue beating.  The frosting will first look like the paste that weird kid in kindergarten ate.  Continue mixing and you will notice the frosting is ready when it appears dry and crisp. 

*Egg whites can be appear in various forms.  Straight from the chicken, or you can used Egg Beater’s egg white which are flash pasturized (pasturized without cooking) which kills any chance of salmonela.

*Dried egg whites (available in the baking aisle) also work well.  The powder should be reconstituted with water according to the directions on the canister (usually 2 tbsps).  Once combined with water egg whites should be strained of all lumps–and believe me there are always lumps.

Royal Icing can also be made with Meringue PowderWilton is the only company I know offers this product, and it is available in craft stores and online.  Meringue Powder is a combination of dried egg whites, cream of tartar and a few other stablizing ingredients.  Merignue powder isn’t as smelly as dried egg whites and can also be used as an egg replacer in many recipes.

Royal Icing:

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

3 TBSP Meringue Powder

1/2 cup water

Combine sugar and meringue powder in mixing bowl with a hand mixer or counter top mixer.  Slowly add water.  I recommend beginning with 1/3 cup water and increase by 2 Tbsp if needed.  For a stiff consistency refrain from adding more that 1/2 cup (8 tbsp), unless your hand mixer is really struggling.  Wilton also recommends adding Meringue powder to butter cream frosting.  A great list of frosting reciepes from Swiss Meringue to Chocolate Buttercream is included inside the canister.

Also heres’s a big tip: Should you not want to have you counter tops, shelves and various kitchen spaces covered with a thin but noticeable layer of confectioner’s sugar and be using a super-awesome- fantastic Kitchenaid Mixer then try this:  DSCN0310










 Hide your pretty kitchenaid underneath a damp dish towel.  All those sugar particles with remain at bay, even if it makes your mixer look a little sad. DSCN0311

2 comments July 31, 2009

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Sugar, Frosting, and Fondant: an artistic exploration of Cake and other Sweets