Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hello, Cupcake.

A part of me wishes I could be a dainty southern belle.  I actually enjoy when southern ladies call people "sweetie, sugar, or darlin."  I would preferably call my significant other (once one of those exists in my life) something to do with food and just as cute as those sweet southern Peaches....or sugar...or about cupcake? 

I understand that as I type these words, I'm decreasing the chances of actually finding someone....but really what hard working man doesn't want to come home and be called peaches by the love of his life...

Alrighty, moving on.  I LOVE to cook.  I LOVE baking cupcakes.  A lot.  I have a special friend...her and I are always on the lookout for a good cake recipe.  So, when she and her love decided to get married, the cake was a major decision.  We had always joked that we would have to make each others wedding cupcakes, because ours are the best, knowing that would be difficult to achieve since we would also be in each others weddings, she and her love went in search of a cupcake good enough to put in the masterpiece of a display that he was about to make...

Fortunately for me, the cupcake tasting just didn't meet up to her was honored to have my cupcakes appear on the big day.  This wedding, every aspect of it, was out of this world...I mean divinely put to be a part at all was a blessing to me!

Oh the choices of what cupcakes to have at your wedding...well, this was a unique wedding, as it was a brunch reception.  So, the flavors that Nicole picked were so yummy...just the thing you'd want to finish off a delicious brunch!

Chocolate cakes with Chocolate Sour Cream frosting
Chocolate Cakes with Espresso Frosting (my favorite)
Vanilla Cakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Vanilla Cakes with Strawberry Frosting

300+ cupcakes.  9.5 glorious hours in my kitchen.  (seriously my favorite place to be)

I actually really enjoy the entire process of making large quantities of things.  I never enjoyed math like algebra and geometry...but I like figuring out measurements for food (and balancing my checkbook) I always said that I liked real life math...maybe that's why I got a degree in Finance!  So, I figured out the amount of ingredients I would need for this undertaking...I must say, I love living in a small town and I enjoy seeing people I know every time I go to the grocery, but I must admit, I felt like they needed an explanation as to why there was 10 lbs of butter, flour, and sugar in my cart...and that I was standing there waiting for the lady to come back from the backroom where she was retrieving 12 lb of coffee for me.  Since grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to was a good time!

It's important to start off as well, with a good cup of is my butter and my coffee...a glimpse into my joyful day of baking (starting at 6:00 am, unheard of for me):

There is one Chocolate cake recipe that I can always count on...I've made it for years...and anyone can make's on the back of the Hershey's cocoa box.  I thought it was fool proof, but I've heard that some folks have not had such luck with it...I actually made it and entered it into a contest...winning blue ribbon!!

Chocolate Cake (blue ribbon Chocolate Cake)
2 c sugar
1 3/4 c Flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 Tsp Baking soda
1 Tsp Salt
2 eggs
1 Cup milk
1/2 c oil
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 C boiling water
Here is a secret...I do this cake differently than I would any other cake.  Because I did it this way before I knew how to make cake, really.  I put everything, except for the water in my mixer and mix it...I mix it for 2 minutes, while my water is getting to boil in the microwave.  After two minutes, I take the water out and fold it in.  That's it.  No kidding. Bake cupcakes @ 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes. 

White cake is a whole other story...hard to find a good that is moist and tasty.  I feel like I have found it indeed.  In a book called Organic and Chic.  This recipe is altered a bit..simply because I'm not very organic.  Honestly.  

Blanca Cake 
Inspired by Organic and Chic (Sarah Magid)

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup while milk
7 egg whites

Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  
In your mixer, beat butter and 2 cups sugar on medium speed until fluffy 
In a small bowl (I use my glass liquid measuring cup) combine vanilla and milk.  
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture.  
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 c sugar (I use my hand mixer for this, since I'm not cool enough to have a second mixer bowl for my kitchenaid) You beat these until they are shiny with some peaking, but you don't want to overbeat.  
Then, you fold these into your cake batter, after you have taken a spoonful of the cake batter to's so buttery yummy...and at this point, it doesn't have raw eggs in it.  Be careful, you need to have some left for the cupcakes.  You only fold these in until incorporated....never over fold...that would be crazy.  
Bake at 350 Degrees for 20-24 minutes.  
Careful not to fill your cupcakes too full, these babies rise quite a bit.  

So first you bake all the cupcakes...and realize how much easier this process would be if you had more than one oven...and if any of your ovens were convection ovens...and then you keep baking...24 cupcakes at a smile...and drink more coffee!  

Once all of your cupcakes are cooling, you look to frosting action!  My favorite part...My favorite frosting is one that is not too sweet (thankfully that's the kind Nicole likes I was so excited to make it) it is a whipped vanilla buttercream as the base for 3 of four of my frostings.

Whipped  Vanilla Buttercream 
(Inspired once again by Organic and Chic)

2 sticks butter 
 1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
First I make the flour part, because for this recipe it has to cool.  (I have since the wedding actually started cooling it in the mixer, instead of waiting it out in the fridge)
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, flour, and vanilla. Wisk it constantly (using a small wisk works best so stuff doesn't get stuck in the pan) on medium heat until it boils, reduce the heat and let it cook (still wisking) just until it has thickened. *Just do your best on getting it to burns easily* the important part is getting it thick.  Cool this mixture to room temp.  
In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high for 5-7 minutes.  
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat it to death...seriously, watch the amazingness of the texture it creates.  Then grab a spoon...try it out.. very yummy.  

For the Espresso frosting:
Add a lot of finely ground espresso and mix
  YES, real espresso.  

For the Strawberry Frosting:
Add homemade strawberry sauce or strawberry jam...taste to make sure the level of strawberriness is what you want, be careful not to alter the texture of your frosting too much, you don't want it runny.  

For Vanilla Bean: 
Add Vanilla Bean Paste

I would recommend having one base for Multiple frosting's when doing big batches....makes it so much more simple. 

Chocolate Frosting 
(called Dark Chocolate Secret Frosting in Organic and Chic)
Cute that she calls it secret because her husband doesn't like sour cream...but since he doesn't know there is sour cream in it, he loved makes it SO yummy)
8 ounces unsweet chocolate
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla 
pinch of salt
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
3/4 c sour cream
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler...or however you want.  Set aside to cool
In your mixer, combine the chocolate mixture with vanilla and salt on low speed.  
Slowly add the powder sugar, mix on low until combined.  
Add the sour cream, increase the speed to medium and beat until thick.  
You should put this on immediately and then if you put it in the fridge for a few minutes (15) it will set up nicely. ..Or if you live in Minnesota, you can put it outside in it's box for a November wedding!!

With the help of my mother in the boxing up process (she used to box up baked goods for a living), I was done in just enough time to shower (was covered in flour, chocolate, frosting, and who knows what else) and make it to the rehearsal dinner that evening. 

The results: SWEET success.  They were so great!  And they looked so pretty.  And people were talking about them all day!  I sound obnoxious...but seriously, making something that someone loves for such a sweet memorable day, I have never felt so accomplished in my whole life.  It meant so much to me to be involved!

Yep...those are cupcakes got to hang in a tree...beautiful!

This final pic basically sums up the entire post...the greatness of cupcakes.
I saw one child take a cupcake, lick the frosting, then decide he doesn't like chocolate and put it back in it's leaf.  However, this precious girl, I'm sure ate all of the cupcakes she took...I believe it was 5.

The last three pictures (and the one below) were taken by an extremely talented photographer, Stacy at Radiant Design who happens to be this beautiful little girls can find her work here.  Serious amazingness and super duper fun.

A beautiful day...a beautiful couple... an extraordinary friendship.