Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cupcakes from Kitchen Stadium...

Today's secret ingredient...

ROOT BEER (and root beer concentrate)!!!

Exciting, I know. Since it was such an uncharacteristically nice day here in the frozen tundra of Nebraska, I was in the mood to make something kind of summery. Well, that and these Root Beer Float cupcakes are always so good (and were a big hit when I sold cupcakes at our farmer's market a couple summers ago). They're pretty easy to make, I just use this basic vanilla cupcake recipe and substitute the root beer concentrate for the vanilla extract. You'll have to use your best judgment on how much concentrate to add, but around 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon per dozen cupcakes should do it. Just adjust it for how strong you want that root beer flavor to be!

I topped the cake with vanilla buttercream (your basic mix of unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a bit of milk). Before I frosted them, I whipped up a root beer glaze from approx. 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons root beer soda. Mix together well in a small bowl (I use a whisk) until a syrup forms and the sugar is dissolved. No heating required! I stabbed my baked cupcake tops with a fork, and then brushed them with the glaze to make them a bit more root-beery. Then I piped on the buttercream using a pastry bag (!) and a 1M large star tip. I think the came out pretty cute, sort of looks like soft-serve ice cream! Also, there is a bit of the glaze drizzled on top of the buttercream for extra effect. What a refreshing cupcake!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Because I love pictures of pretty things...

As promised, better photos of my cupcakes with the help of a light box I built. I found the instructions here, and it was a pretty easy and inexpensive process. There are still some adjustments to be made, but I think my cupcake photos will be much better in future posts! And yes, these are the same cupcakes as before, I'll make some new ones soon! I plan to experiment with some homemade fondant in the next couple days. Watch for my new adventures in frosting and decorating!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Good news! I figured out how to change my settings so that anyone can leave a comment. Now you can comment directly on the post, and don't have to leave them on my facebook page (for those who know me for realz).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cupcake Paparazzi

So I decided I really should try harder to take pretty pictures of my cupcakes (they deserve it!), so today I experimented with my camera, some natural light, and the cupcakes I made last night. These pictures were taken in a window sill, as I live in a condo and have few spots with plentiful natural light.

Here is a crazy spiky cupcake that I thought would look like flowers, but really looks kind of like a sea anemone up close.

This one is quite elegant...notice the smooth, calming swirl of buttercream...

Looks good, right? Well check out who else noticed the swirly buttercream, and joined me in the window sill:

Lucky Dog :)!

Coming soon: Adventures in building a photo light box! (Dachshund-proofed).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gotta Respect the Classics

It's always good to start with the basics, so I whipped up a batch of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I'm not sure how interesting this will be, but I took some pictures along the way. I use my own recipe that I adapted the batter from this one. That's as much info as I'm willing to share about my recipe... feel free to experiment with your own! Here we go!

Start with the dry ingredients...

Then you mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla....

Combine the two with some milk, and divide it among your cupcake papers.

Put your cupcake tin into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, and you've got:

Num Yummy, I know! But wait, you're not done yet!

Frosting!! Yes!! I used vanilla buttercream, but I don't have photos of that process because the baby was upset. I don't know what he has against frosting. Anyway, I tried my hand at using a pastry bag, like this:

But in the end, I used my trusty Pampered Chef frosting "gun," it makes such a nice swirly effect.

So, what have we learned? Well, I know I need to work on my frosting techniques and master the pastry bag. I also learned that my camera kind of sucks, and I'm not so hot at photography yet, so I apologize for this mess. It will get better, I promise!
Well, that was fun. Not bad for a first post!