Friday, May 27, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Yesterday was my sister's birthday. Have you met my sister? She does things like this:


And also this:


Not to mention this:


Someone who does these things clearly deserves red velvet cupcakes on her birthday.

I'm actually having a pretty hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that my sister is twenty years old now. It seems like just yesterday that I was forcing her to throw away her baby blanket, scaring her into believing that we were going to "the machine store", and (mistakenly) telling her that she was "a disease that kills everyone." As my mom always said--friends come and go, but sisters are forever.

Which, in retrospect, sounds more like a threat than a consolation.

I'm hoping these cupcakes can make amends for all of those "sisterly" things I did. What do you say, Kelsii? Shall we let bygones be bygones? You know, on second thought, maybe we should just call it even. I mean, there was that whole bloody nose incident AND the time you said that I was "too fat for the mosquitos to bite." Not to mention you pulling my hair and calling me "Alla" for years on end.

Anyway, think it over. Happy birthday!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 & 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract, food coloring, and cocoa powder. Set aside. 

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium speed for about one minute. Gradually add the sugar, and continue creaming for about two minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and increase the mixer speed to high. Scrape the bowl, and continue mixing one minute more.

3. Add the cocoa mixture to the batter and mix at medium speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and continue mixing until the cocoa is completely incorporated.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add half of the buttermilk. Once the buttermilk is incorporated, add half of the flour. Repeat this process with the remaining buttermilk and flour. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until smooth.

5. Once the batter is smooth, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Increase the speed to medium, and mix about one minute more, or until the batter is smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup cream cheese
13 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed for about two minutes.

2. Add the vanilla, and beat about one minute more.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the powdered about 1 cup at a time. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about two minutes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Buttercream


Things that, I'm fairly certain, taste disgusting when raw and/or unaccompanied:
  • flour
  • butter
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • cinnamon

Things that taste so good, I'm fairly certain I might die:
  • snickerdoodle cookie dough
  • snickerdoodle cookie dough rolled in cinnamon sugar
  • warm snickerdoodle cookies
  • cooled snickerdoodle cookies
  • snickerdoodle cookies with cinnamon frosting


I tried not to notice, but I think I ate seven of these cookies in one day. The good news? I've finally found something that's made me forget about chocolate and peanut butter. The bad news is that now all I can think about is cinnamon and sugar. And since it's inappropriate to eat snickerdoodles for every meal (it is, right?), cinnamon sugar toast has become a new staple in my diet. Is there a support group for this kind of thing?

Snickerdoodles

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 3-4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter at medium-high speed with an electric mixer for about one minute. Add the brown sugar, and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about one minute more. Add the eggs, and continue mixing and totally incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing at low speed until most of the flour is incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and continue mixing about 30 seconds more.

4. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Portion the cookie dough into tablespoon-sized balls, and roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheets about two inches apart.

5. Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


Cinnamon Frosting

1 cup butter
20 ounces powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium speed for about two minutes. Reduce the mixer to low speed, and add about half of the powdered sugar.

2. Once most of the sugar is incorporated, add the salt, milk, and vanilla. Continue mixing at low speed, and add the other half of the powdered sugar.

3. Once most of the sugar is incorporated, add the cinnamon. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat the frosting for about two minutes, or until light and fluffy. Spread onto the cooled cookies with a knife or spatula.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream


I'm kind of a cake snob.

I think I mentioned before that I didn't even like cake until very recently. Now that I work at a cupcake shop, liking cake kind of comes naturally. But I'm still very Goldilocks about it all.

This cake is too something, that cake is too something else. These cupcakes? Too spongy. I prefer cake that is dense and full of body. The sponginess, combined with the overpowering vanilla-ness of the "very vanilla" frosting just didn't work for me.


On a positive note, I was really happy with how my decorating turned out. Which, as you may recall, is not always the case. Then again, I can't think of anything that wouldn't be made more adorable by the addition of a few rainbow nonpareils. And who can resist those dubiously-shaped circus animal cookies? Precious.

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked Perfection

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for about one minute at medium speed. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each and scraping the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla, and mix until incorporated.

4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter.

5. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 22-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.


Very Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from Baked Perfection

1 cup butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and salt, and continue creaming about 30 seconds more.

2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing at low speed until combined. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Increase the mixing speed to medium, and beat for about 1-2 minutes.

I highly recommend that you click over and check out the miniature cupcake toppers that Risa at Baked Perfection used for her sugar cookie cupcakes. So adorable!