Cupcakes, Cakes, Frostings and More!
a special feature by *Kim Guerin, Scrumptious Baker
Nothing is sweeter than bright eyes peeking expectantly above a countertop strewn with pans and spoons, sacks of sugar and flour, and those lovely mysteries called eggs. “Would you like to help make cupcakes?” is always met with excited squeals and scrambling efforts to drag a kitchen chair in place so that little hands can begin the magic that is Baking. While children certainly benefit from the exercise in all kinds of ways; yes, they may learn about measurements, about safety (a hand mixer has a life of its own in tiny hands), about their own abilities and with it a rise in self-esteem, admittedly, the greatest joy in baking with these beloved little satellites is the awe they express when an egg is cracked and dispensed with one hand! Yes, I’m something of a magician and our cupcakes and cakes are pure MAGIC.
When I am approached about doing a cake or cupcakes, I take my inspiration from the theme and colors of the party. I then search the Internet for inspiration from others and take ideas from different sources. There are also a number of resources (i.e. Etsy, Ebay) that make and sell incredible edible toppers in just about any theme you need! Just add your own cupcakes or cake!
Red Velvet Cupcakes: (originally found on JoytheBaker.com)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp red food coloring
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all batter gets color. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add half the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth. Turn mixer to high and add the baking soda and the white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes. Spoon the batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan (do not overfill) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.
Decadent Chocolate Cake (I found the original recipe online years ago and made some adjustments for the chocolate.)
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 3/4 Cups Flour
- 1/2 Cup Baking Cocoa
- 1/4 Cup Black Chocolate (King Arthur Flour) Worth the investment and goes a long way!
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- 1 Cup Strong Coffee (if you are concerned about the caffeine, use decaf-the coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor!)
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Vanilla
Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir. Add remaining ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 8 or 9 inch pans, one 13X19 inch pan or 24 cupcakes. Bake at 350* for about 35 minutes (18 to 20 for cupcakes) or until a toothpick comes out clean.
**Note: You can also use ¾ cup of Baking Cocoa if you don’t want to use the Black Chocolate. I also suggest the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa as well.
1 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Shortening
8 Cups of Confectioners’ Sugar
½ cup to 1 cup Heavy Cream**(Depending on how thick you want your frosting and the humidity that day, add the cream to desired consistency)
** I use coffee creamers instead of Heavy Cream. If I want a vanilla flavored frosting, I use French Vanilla Creamer. If I want an Irish Crème flavored frosting, I use the Bailey’s Creamers; that way I can get the flavor without the added alcohol. There are so many varieties these days, you can customize the frosting to the season! Eggnog for Christmas or Peppermint for Valentine’s Day!
*Kim Guerin is an administrator by day; passionate baker and creator of all things gooey and glorious by night. Friends and relatives know that birthdays and weddings will bring a most wondrous gift from Kim. She has spent twenty-two years helping visitors to the island of Hilton Head find the perfect vacation property, and the last ten years making some of the most astonishing cakes and cupcakes. You can contact Kim for further ideas or questions.