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Cupcake Photo Shoot II

This is the third week I am giving my friend Kenny some of the cupcakes I’ve baked, and this is the second time that he has thanked me by taking photos of them! His photos enhance the cupcake’s charm, more than my own pictures ever could, so I had to share them! 

The Funfetti cupcakes look like pure enjoyment, between the bright wrapping, colored specs in the cake and the rainbow sprinkles on top and infused in the buttercream frosting. One look at these tasty treats and you’ll be transported to your childhood, a time of summer pool parties, playing on the playground and the time when everyone who had a birthday during the school year brought in funfetti cupcakes, much like these, to share with the class. It took all the willpower I have not to lick the bowl clean, like I used to when I was little.

Finished Funfetti Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream and loads of Sprinkles! photo credit: Kenny Barto

photo credit: Kenny Barto

To find out how I made these childhood favorites, look at my previous post! I’ve included the recipe for both the cupcake and frosting! Enjoy 🙂 

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Desserts, FunFetti, Vanilla

 

A Childhood Favorite: FunFetti Cupcakes

 FunFetti Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

FunFetti with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I love the idea of a single cupcake making somebody feel better. I was never a huge cake person, and to be completely honest I usually don’t eat the cupcakes that I make, but I have seen the positive effects they can have. I don’t know if it’s their sweet aroma, the sugary taste you get from a good frosting or just the wonderful taste you love from a piece of cake in miniature form. Whatever the reason I can’t imagine someone taking a bite of a delicious cupcake and frowning.

In my sophomore year at CCSU my best friend and dorm neighbor passed out in our shower and brought to the hospital due to hitting her head. It’s rough when you go from seeing your best friend everyday to not seeing them at all … even if it’s only for a few days. My roommate and I knew she was coming back the following Monday and we knew we wanted to do something to welcome her back, but we didn’t know what. All we knew is she had an immense sweet tooth! As a result my roommate and I went to Stop & Shop and left with a Cookie Monster cupcake with half a chocolate-chip cookie in its mouth. 

When my best friend finally came back to school her reaction to the cupcake was priceless. She had a huge smile on her face and ate it right away … even a generic supermarket cupcake can make someone’s day.

I felt it fitting to write about that 3-year old memory because my theory of a cupcake having the ability to make someone’s day resurfaced this past weekend. I was planning on making pumpkin spice cupcakes this weekend in honor of the first day of Autumn, but on Friday someone attempted to break in to one of my best friend’s house.

I know, cupcakes and a potential robbery don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but you would be surprised. When my friend text me to let me know what happened I told him to let me know if there was anything I could do. In response he told me his roommate wanted cupcakes. What kind of cupcakes? FunFetti cupcakes.

I think I had to read the text twice, because I couldn’t believe of all the flavors out there they chose funfetti, but who was I to argue? They were the ones to almost get robbed. However, there was one condition, these funfetti cupcakes weren’t coming courtesy of Betty Crocker or the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Instead I took the challenge and made them from scratch.

FunFetti Cake Recipe

Makes one dozen cupcakes (adapted from the C&C Cakery Blog)

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
– When they say room temperature they mean it. I had softened the butter enough and it didn’t mix well with the gritty sugar. As a result I had to throw away my first batch. L

1 cup sugar 
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup skim milk + 3 Tablespoons skim yogurt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles-
Don’t be afraid to add a bit more

Steps

1) Preheat your oven to 350.

2) In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix your butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg whites, one at a time, until thick and white. Add your extracts and mix again. 

3) With a spoon, slowly mix in your dry ingredients and milk/yogurt mix, alternating between the two. When everything comes together (taking care not to over mix), add the sprinkles and lightly fold in a couple times. Again, do not over mix. 

I used my mixer on low to add in the dry ingredients and milk. I started with the milk, and then added a bit of the flour mix. After that I added the 3 Tablespoons of yogurt, finishing with the rest of the flour.

4) Spoon in the batter to liners and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until your tester comes out clean. Set out to cool before icing.

Finished Batter in the Oven

Buttercream Icing

I scoured the internet looking for just the right frosting recipe. I contemplated trying my hand at chocolate, but I decided against it because I wanted to be able to see the sprinkles. Cream cheese frosting didn’t seem right to team with a funfetti cake. Growing up we always paired funfetti batter with the overly sweet funfetti frosting. In the end I found a recipe on Food.com, for a vanilla buttercream, which was adapted from the recipe used by the cupcakery, Sprinkles

Ingredients

1 Cup softened butter

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar- I used 3 1/4 cups to avoid it being overtly sweet. Cutting back certainly didn’t take away from the taste!

1 Tsp Milk

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1/8 Tsp Salt

1/4 cup sprinkles- I added the sprinkles to give it the FunFetti look. I decided to use the small, round, beaded sprinkles to avoid the color from running in the white buttercream.

Steps:

1. In a medium bowl combine your butter, sugar and salt. Beat until well blended.

2. Add the milk and vanilla, beating until smooth and creamy.

3. Add in your sprinkles folding them in until they are mixed throughout the frosting.

Sprinkles!

In the end I’m glad I broke the autumn flavor pattern and tried these homemade funfetti cupcakes! These are cupcakes that transport you back to your childhood. The cake was moist and the buttercream not overtly sweet! As they were baking in the oven the smell of vanilla made my mouth water! Even though the batter didn’t come from a box they still smelt like a funfetti should…sweet and scrumptious.

The Colorful Treat

 
 

“Any Given Sunday” Cupcakes

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean cream cheese frosting, topped with chocolate covered pretzels.

With this blog beginning the same weekend as the kickoff to the 2011 NFL season I couldn’t think of a better way to get things started than combining two of my loves; sports and baking. Once I decided that I wanted to somehow combine the ideas of football (extremely masculine) and cupcakes (very feminine) I decided to first attempt beer cupcakes. Nothing goes better with football than beer and beer and pretzels is a staple in practically every sports bar, so why not put all of these elements into a sugary and chocolatey treat?

The best recipe I was able to track down was from the blog, Pinch My Salt. The recipe calls for the use of Guinness stout, yogurt, which is healthier than butter and sour cream and the vanilla bean cream cheese seemed like an interesting twist on a traditional flavor. There is also an added bit of cinnamon added to the cake batter, which adds the perfect hint of fall flavoring.

Recipe: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Adapted from Pinch My Salt

2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 oz. dark stout- preferably Guinness
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder- I used dutch cocoa powder, but any would work
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon- This is where I altered the recipe a bit. I love cinnamon, so instead I added 1/2 tsp, which you wouldn’t think makes a difference, but truly does.
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Step 1- gather ingredients: You know it's going to be a good cupcake when step 1 is go to the package store. When I was there I bought the wine for myself, it has nothing to do with the actual cupcake! Just saving myself a bit of time!!

Step 1 Continued

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Pinch my Salt instructed bakers to spray the liners as well, but I found that it then warped the wrappers and made the cupcakes look sloppy.
3. Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.
3. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and yogurt. Add beer and vanilla whisk until well combined.
4. Sift all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) into a separate bowl.
5. Add about a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and using a hand mixer, blend well. Add the rest of the flour mixture, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter then continue mixing until very well combined.
6. Pour batter into the twelve cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.
7. Bake on center rack of the preheated 350 degree oven and for approximately 25 minutes.
8. When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack.  Let cool for ten minutes then remove cupcakes from pan and let them cool completely on wire rack.

After sifting together the dry ingredients whisk together the liquids...and in goes the Guinness

The batter gave me no trouble, and the size of the cupcakes when filling them 3/4 of the way in the tins came out perfectly. The Guinness gave the batter a rich and dark color without it tasting bitter and the aroma of stout, chocolate and cinnamon was amazing. Where I had trouble was the cream cheese frosting.

The Guinness gave the batter a dark and rich color, while the mix of Guinness, cocoa powder and cinnamon smelt gorgeous

Frosting Recipe:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean that has been split and scraped

In a medium bowl, blend together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing well until it’s all incorporated.  Use immediately.  The frosting will harden in the fridge, so plan on bring it back to room temperature if you must refrigerate it before frosting the cupcakes.

Bad Batch

I ended up having to make two batches of frosting in the end because being the health conscious person that I am, when shopping for ingredients I bought fat-free cream cheese. Well, I learned that that kind is made with skim milk, not cream, which means that the consistency of the frosting was runny instead of thick. At first I added extra cream cheese to try and thicken it, when that didn’t work the frosting went in the freezer, but that didn’t work either. When I remade the batch with actual cream cheese the frosting turned out perfectly, and I definitely recommend using the vanilla beans!!

GOOD BATCH! Who would've thought such a tiny detail could make such a big difference!

GOOD BATCH! Who would've thought such a tiny detail could make such a big difference!

In the final product you could definitely taste the Guinness used in the batter, but it wasn’t overwhelming, it was off-set by the strong taste of the cinnamon matched with the sweetness of the frosting. 

Final Product!

 
 
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