Yellow Cake Cupcakes + Chocolate Icing

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About a month ago I received a request to feature a recipe for yellow cake. My one problem is that I don’t like to make cakes — mainly because they go to waste in my house. It’s easy to bring cookies, bars, or cupcakes to school or work, but the same isn’t true for a cake (which involves cutting pieces, needing plates and forks, etc.) So I decided to make yellow cupcakes for this post instead. The recipe can be easily adapted into a cake — just use cake pans instead of a muffin tin, and increase the baking time a bit!

Yellow Cake Cupcakes
Recipe source: Tasty Kitchen
Print Recipe

1 box yellow cake mix
4 whole eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional; but I like almond flavored cake!)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with liners.
2. Mix eggs, sour cream, oil, and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Alternate adding cake mix and water. Mix in extracts.
4. Fill the liners half-full with batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Recipe source: Sally’s Baking Addiction
Print Recipe

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
Rainbow sprinkles (optional)
A disposable pastry bag + large star tip

1. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 2 full minutes.
2. Turn speed to LOW and slowly add 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar, the cocoa powder, and salt. Beat until sugar/cocoa are absorbed into the butter, about 2 minutes.
3. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla and cream. Once added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the last 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar if you’d like to increase the frosting’s thickness.
4. Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

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Tetris Cookies

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My favorite video game of all time is Tetris. It’s simple, addicting, and oddly soothing. My love of the game was intensified when the tetriminos were colorized. Each tetrimino has a color and I stayed true to that with these cookies. I’m not overly thrilled with these cookies because my icing was more watery than it should have been — and the end result is a bit bumpy. But I try not to be one of those baking bloggers who only posts treats that turn out to be “perfect” — so here these are!

If you are a new to decorating with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • I bought the Tetris cookie cutters from Amazon. They come in a set, which costs about $15.
  • I used Wilton gel dyes – red (for the Z piece), orange (for the L piece), yellow (for the O piece), leaf green (for the S piece), sky blue (for the I piece), royal blue (for the J piece), and violet (for the T piece).
  • I outlined the cookies using white icing first — making the little compartments on each piece. When the outlines dried, I flooded the cookies with the corresponding colored icings.

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add egg, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).

You’ll get about three dozen Tetris pieces using this recipe. I’d suggest doubling the batch if you want more cookies.


White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

You will most likely need to make two batches of icing for this project — because of all the colors involved.

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Cupcake Cookies

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I’m a total sucker for novelty treats. Like these cookies that look like cupcakes. Or treats that are a miniature (balloon cookies!) or giant version (giant Oreo cake!) of their true selves. Or treats that just make no sense (like TV dinner cupcakes!). I hope you’re all having a great week!

If you are a new to decorating with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • I bought a large cupcake cookie cutter on Amazon. These cookies ended up being about 5 inches tall.
  • You will need the following food colorings: no-taste red, sky blue, yellow, and pink. I used Wilton gel dyes for all of these. I made two shades of blue, yellow, and pink for the cupcake wrappers. Just use a little bit more dye for the darker shade.
  • You’ll also need sprinkles — the kind you use is up to you! I used round, pastel quins.
  • I outlined and flooded the wrapper portion first, then outlined and flooded the white portion. As soon as you flood the white icing, add your sprinkles.
  • Once the wrapper portion has dried/set, I piped the detailing in the darker shade of icing.
  • The cherry on the top was the last thing I did — and I used a slightly larger round tip to make the cherries.

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add egg, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).

The yield will depend on how large your cookie cutter is. I used a really large cupcake cookie cutter and got about 12-16 cookies out of this batch of dough. If you need more dough, this recipe can be easily doubled.


White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

Note: you will likely need more than one batch of this icing. But again, it depends on how many cookies you are making!

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Red Velvet Oreo Cupcakes

DSC_4351x900I have a secret. Most of my friends and family know this, but I’ve never said it publicly on my blog (at least I don’t think I have). Here it is: I roll my eyes at the thought of red velvet cake. I know, I know. But I DON’T GET IT. It’s cake… with a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a bottle of red food coloring! What is so magical about this?!

I don’t hate red velvet, per se. But I just don’t get it and I think those of you who go all happy jazz hands over it should have your head examined. Having said that, just because I don’t get it doesn’t mean that I’ll never feature it on my blog. I don’t get the appeal of coconut, milk, or carrots either — but hey, I know many of you love them.

Nabisco decided to make red velvet Oreos for the Valentine’s Day season. Apparently they are a limited time only product, so I hope you are able to give them a try before they disappear from the stores. FYI — I found mine at Target.

Red Velvet Oreo Cupcakes
Print Recipe

For the cupcakes:
1 box red velvet cake mix (plus required oil + eggs)
Gold sprinkles
Valentine’s Day decorations (I found the arrows at Williams-Sonoma)
Cupcake liners
1 package red velvet Oreos

For the cream cheese icing:
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A disposable pastry bag + a large star tip

1. Make the red velvet cupcakes according to box directions. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
2. Make the icing: beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth. (Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.)
3. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes using a disposable pastry bag and a large star tip.
4. Place one red velvet Oreo on top of each cupcake.
5. Decorate with gold sprinkles + Valentine’s Day decorations.

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Mary - February 24, 2015 - 2:28 pm

I could not agree more!