Friday, June 8, 2012

oh là là: Pink Bubblegum Cupcakes

I have come to that point in my life; where birthdays are no longer something I really look forward to anymore. The thought of turning twenty-four actually kinda scares me (my birthday is this month). I know that age probably seems quite young to a lot of people, but I personally thought I would have accomplished a little more, by this time. I am really not one to dwell in the past. I actually tend to live in the future. (I know, something I need to work on) There is something about birthdays that always causes us to look back, and analyze our lives.

            There is something very nostalgic about birthdays. Cake is even more so. Every year of our lives is marked by a birthday cake. It is a tradition we tend to grow old with. More than cringing at the number of candles on the cake, I think it is important to feel blessed for being given another year. Life is much too short to live with regret, or mindlessly dream about uncertain possibilities. We only have so much time to make our mark on the world, so try to make it count. ;-)

            I decided to make the girliest and most stylish cupcakes I could think of: Pink bubblegum cupcakes. I went a little nostalgic with the bubble gum. I was thinking about the bubblegum ice cream I used to get, as a child. You know, the “Pepto Bismol” pink ice cream that was filled with bits of bubblegum? I was also thinking about how trendy gumballs have become, and I thought, why not use that inspiration in a cupcake. I used a box cake mix (gasp!) for these cupcakes. In my defense, you will NOT believe they came from a box. It is lightest, airiest cake ever. Sour cream was used to add moisture and fluffiness to the cake. I used an American butter cream frosting: The best buttercream frosting you will ever tryl (In my opinion, the best homemade frosting.)

 For Decorating: Since I love all things French, I decided to go with a Parisian inspired look.

Recipe was adapted from Wedding Cake 101's:Wedding cake & cupcake recipe


Pink Bubblegum Cupcakes
Yield: 36 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 18 min
1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
(I only had a 16 oz box of cake, and it worked fine)
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated white sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water

2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1/4 tsp of bubblegum oil ( I used LorAnn Oils)
2 tbsp. cake enhancer (optional: King Arthur, it adds so much moisture to the cake)

1 cup sour cream

4 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 325〫F, and line baking tins. In a mixing bowl combine: flour, cake mix, sugar, cake enhancer, and salt.

To dry ingredients add: egg whites, sour cream, oil, water, and flavoring. 

Use a scooper or batter dispenser to fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.

Bake for 18 min, until cupcakes spring back with light touch. 
 after five minutes of cooling in the pan (the cupcakes will start to contract from the edges) Place cupcakes on a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before frosting

My French whisk

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The best buttercream frosting you will ever try...

There are two kinds of people in life: People who love frosting, and people who do not like frosting at all. We all know those people who take a beautifully iced slice of cake, scrap off all of the icing, and proceed to eat it plain. Frosting lovers are divided up even further, into two other categories: Those who like sweet frosting, and those who prefer it to be a little less tongue curling. I happen to be one of those people that prefer to have their frosting on the sweeter side.

I favor buttercream over every other frosting. Fondant looks much sleeker, but the taste pales in comparison. I have tasted many cakes from many different bakeries and cake shops, and have always wondered how they make such delicious frosting. I’ve researched and tested many types of frosting. I knew they used shortening (in professional bakeries), because it works better for piping, but every time I tried a new recipe, it always had an overwhelming taste of powdered sugar. The thing about powdered sugar is that it does not dissipate, which causes it to leave that granular texture.

Knowing there was too much of a powdery texture in my previous attempts, I turned to Swiss buttercream frostings, but found them to be quite bland, and way too soft for detailed piping work. Powdered sugar has a much higher sweet content than granulated sugar, and works much better for piping designs. I knew I needed to find a happy medium. I searched far a wide for a buttercream frosting that comes close those used at those gourmet bakeries. After all this time, I have finally found it.

It is relatively easy to make, and rather resilient. As long as you do not over whip your frosting, you should have a perfect bowl of buttercream frosting. 

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour: Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

You will need: 

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt (ONLY if you use unsalted butter)

1/2 cup (4 ounces) boiling water

1/4 cup (1 ounce) meringue powder
1 tbsp Vanilla extract or any other extract (If you are using flavor oils, remember they are highly concentrated and will only take a few drops to flavor frosting)
 gel food color

4 cups (16 ounces) sifted confectioners’ or glazing sugar

2 cups (2 sticks, soft butter) 1 cup of vegetable shortening (you can do all butter, but if you are planning on piping, then I highly recommend using half shortening)
Boil water, and remove from heat

Stir in sugar and salt (if using unsalted butter) with a metal whisk.
dissolve sugar, until a syrup forms. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Transfer simple syrup to a mixing bowl, and add merengue powder. Beat on low, until mixture is foamy. (This will take several minutes.
Increase speed, and beat until SOFT peaks form. Add powder sugar, and flavoring/extract.
Add butter and shortening a couple pats at a time. Add food coloring.

 Yield: Enough frosting to fill and frost an 8" layer cake or 24 cupcakes.