Monday, September 14, 2009

Hello, Cupcake!

You may have seen the cupcakes that were on display at my friend Kate's baby shower. Well, I thought I would provide a little insight (and laughter) into how they were made. I love to cook, absolutely love it (oh, and have I mentioned that I love to eat too?). Bake? Now that is another story. It seems as of late that I have been a bit more adventurous in all aspects of my life and baking is no exception (it could be Bakerella's fabulous blog!). I had seen some adorable cupcakes at a baby shower months ago and wanted to try my hand at recreating them. Enter my patient and good natured friends Ashley and Brooke. Oh dear friends, the things you let me get you in to. I think you are going to stop saying yes to my crazy ideas soon. Even though I get some hair brained ideas, I like instructions and I like pictures so I found the book Hello, Cupcake! (written by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson) at my local Barnes and Noble (you can find it on here).

I used their "almost" homemade recipes (see below) at the back of the book (pages 218, 219 and 227) for the cupcakes and the icing and flipped through their amazingly illustrated book for inspiration and decorating tips anyone can use.

Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes - Chocolate Chunk Surprise

1 box (18.25 ounces) devil's food cake mix
1 cup buttermilk (in place of the water called for on the box)
1/2 cup Vegetable oil (the amount on the box)
4 large eggs (in place of number called for on the box)
24 Milky Way Miniatures

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Follow the box instructions replacing the buttermilk for water and the number of eggs mentioned above. Add a Milky Way miniature to each paper cup before the cup is filled with batter. Spoon half of the batter into a ziplock bag. Snip a 1/4 inch corner from the bag and fill the paper liners two thirds full. Repeat with the remaining batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pans, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely.

Almost-Homemade Vanilla Buttercream
(makes 3 1/2 cups)

1 container (16 ounces) Marshmallow Fluff
3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus additional sugar if necessary (Kiki's note - additional WAS necessary!)

Spoon the Marshmallow Fluff into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low. Gradually add the butter pieces, beating well after each addition, until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Scrape the bowl well to incorporate. Add more confectioners' sugar, if necessary, to adjust the texture.

So, Brooke was sweet enough to come to my house and help me bake these cupcakes using the recipe above. That went swimmingly well. The bottoms of the cupcakes were a little more brown than I would have liked but I am still learning my new stove (a post about that to come) and haven't baked in it until now. We used these adorable paper cups from

The next night (night before the shower) Ashley volunteered to help me ice and decorate these babies. She even opened up her home to the disaster since the shower was at her house and it would be best not to transport the cupcakes once they were decorated. I think she was sorry she offered. The pictures below are proof enough. We had MAJOR issues with our icing being too runny. We ended up icing and refrigerating IMMEDIATELY in order to avoid droopage. After about 2 and a half hours we had all of the cupcakes iced. Keep in mind these cupcakes were supposed to be "flesh" colored (I found online that Wilton "Copper" food coloring is the best to use for this effect). Hmmm...I am not at all versed with food coloring so they looked more orange colored than flesh colored (i.e. I used WAY to much). I couldn't bear to use it so we combined different batches of icing to avoid orange babies. In the end the color looks nothing like any flesh I have seen - maybe little ghost babies.

Anyhoo, we called it a night with only iced cupcakes (no decor). I headed back over to her house the next morning before the shower began to finish up making the cupcakes look like baby faces with pacifiers (just in case you don't get that from the pictures!). They ended up looking cute but not exactly how I originally pictured. Practice makes perfect so you know I will try again! I have some serious brushing up to do on my baking skills. Does anyone know of a good basic "baking for dummies" type book that would help me establish hone some skills? We had a hilarious time trying to figure it all out and my friends were great sports. A special thanks to Ashley for documenting it all (you will notice she keeps herself out of the pictures)! Oh, and I would absolutely recommend the Hello, Cupcake! book - it was a great resource. Everyone said the cupcakes tasted good (that is really all that matters, right?) and they loved the little "surprise" in the middle!


Rachel H. said...

I think that they turned out SO cute despite the troubles that you guys had to go through to get them finished! :)

Gracie Beth said...

I have that book! I like to use it in conjunction with Martha Stewart Cupcakes.

Brittany said...

Those are super cute!!

Dr. W said...

Wow that was a marthon! Was this post on my summer reading list? Do I need to write a single or double spaced report for my SIL? :)

Monogramchick said...

Is droopage really a word? Those are A-dorable, dear sister!

Emily K said...

I recognize that kitchen ;) Cupcakes are super-cute! Miss both you girls!