Cupcakes for the Masses

7BFP-SpringCupcake-SQ1000-05There was another birthday party at the office. Guess what happened. This.

The request this time was for cupcakes, of all flavors, and after I briefly considered opening a bakery, I decided the only way to approach this task was to make it as efficient and simple as possible. (Who says you can’t mix productivity and baking?) See, I’m a not a professional cake decorator or baker (although sometimes I pretend to be when I break out my cake decorating kit with all of the fancy icing tips) and although I do enjoy having people over for coffee or brunch, I’m not really accustomed to making things for a large group of people, let alone bake and decorate cupcakes en masse.

So maybe I cheated a little bit and made a giant batch of my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe (which you can find here and multiply according to your needs). Despite the numerous (and extremely varied) requests I received, I decided to narrow down my flavors to three classic options: plain vanilla, chocolate chip and butterscotch chip. Oh, and they were all going to have buttercream icing too. Ba-bam. Who could argue with that?

Once my batter was mixed, I divided into three separate mixing bowls. I left one batch plain and stirred in 1 c. of chocolate chips into one, and 1 c. of butterscotch chips into another, stirring gently to mix. I baked them according to the instructions here and left them on a rack to cool completely before decorating.

To “color-code” all of the flavors, I found three different patterns of muffin cups and decided to coordinate them with three different colors of frosting to further increase the recognition. Making several colors of frosting can be labor-intensive but luckily isn’t too difficult once you’ve made yourself a big batch of icing and separate it accordingly. I never worry about making too much icing- it’s always handy to have some extra on-hand to clean up mistakes. In my case, having too much icing was a little bit of a happy accident- I wasn’t initially going to draw flowers but I couldn’t resist using up the rest of those sweet spring colors.

It feels silly to admit it now, but baking such a large amount of cupcakes was a (needlessly) intimidating experience for me. Despite the fact that they were not among my best or most exciting baking adventures, they were definitely one of the simplest and weren’t any less tasty. It was worth it to see the look on everyone’s face when I brought a giant plate of them out into the waiting room. It reminds me that I bake for my own enjoyment and for others; my baking is for sharing, and not for impressing other people.

Besides, sharing is totally calorie-free.

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Why just stick with baking a big ol’ batch of vanilla? If you’re the mood to change things up a little bit, I’ve baked chocolate cupcakes, banana cupcakes and a whole whack-load of muffins here, here, here and here. Or if you mosey on by the blog tomorrow, I might have another super special cupcake recipe to share with you too!

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

 

Baking with B: Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

KBB_baking_vanilla_cupcakesMy friend Melissa is all about doing cupcakes right. For Valentine’s Day she made these insane raspberry-filled cupcakes that were dipped in chocolate and smothered in frosting. Even looking at her Instagram feed makes me gain five pounds. She’s kind of like my cooking mentor in the sense that she always comes up with fabulous taste combinations and meal-planning ideas that would put Martha Stewart to shame.

That’s a big thing for me to admit. I’m obsessed with Martha Stewart.

This particular baking session we decided to take the classic route and make some simply delicious vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting because, of course, it’s Melissa and we had to. But once you’ve mastered this recipe, the possibilities for variations on it are endless. Please experiment with all of the flavors. We dare you too!

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes (makes 36)

3 c. cake flour (not self-rising), sifted

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp coarse salt

¾ tsp baking soda

9 oz. (2 sticks plus 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

2 ¼ c. sugar

5 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, room temperature

2 c. buttermilk, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix remaining wet ingredients in a separate 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. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Happy baking!

B

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Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Wanna know more about turning this recipe into a cake? Read out about how I did it here. Baking cupcakes for a crowd? I’ve got tips on how to do it here.

Baking with B: Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

KBB_baking_banana_cupcakesI normally don’t get weekends off so when I do happen to get two days of vacation in a row (it doesn’t happen often!) I try to cram as much in my schedule as humanly possible. Isn’t it funny that we use our vacation time to get things done?

So when I woke up yesterday morning and realized something had to be done with the rapidly ripening bananas in my fruit basket, I was feeling kind of frustrated and bored with everything. The solution? Whip up something a little extra-special to brighten my mood.

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting (yields 12)

(based loosely on the recipe found here)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

3/4 c. butter, melted

3 ripe bananas, mashed (for a total of about 1 1/2 c.)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Make a well in the bowl and slowly add in wet ingredients one at a time, stirring just until blended. Line a 12-muffin pan with liners. Slowly use a spoon to pour even amounts of butter in each muffin cup. Bake in the middle rack for twenty minutes.

B’s Tip: Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting, or you can end up making a runny, sticky mess with the icing.

Cinnamon Frosting

(again, loosely based on the recipe found here)

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 1/4 c. icing sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cream

Cream together butter and sugar. Add in the cinnamon; stir until completely blended. Add just enough drops of cream until it can be stirred into a smooth consistency.

The cinnamon in this frosting gives it enough of a spicy kick in the pants to cut the sweetness so you can enjoy the subtle yum of the banana cake part underneath. So far I’ve made these babies twice, and there have been no survivors.

Happy baking!

B

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Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Feeling ambitious? I’ve got more cupcake recipes here, and I share my method on how I make them for the masses here.