Cupcake Spectacular



I finally finished my cupcakes! Yay! I made them last weekend, then stowed them away in my cake caddy. All week I've been putting off decorating them (Where does the time go??) but finally this afternoon, I realized that it must be done.

Let me start at the beginning: last weekend, somehow, I found time between 99 cookies to make these dark chocolate cupcakes. I added a twist though: I substituted a teaspoon of vanilla extract with orange extract. The smell coming from that oven was heavenly!

But then I had to decorate those 99 cookies, so the cupcakes were put on the back burner. I tossed them in my Cake Caddy and that's where they've been all week. Where has the time gone? Personally, I have no idea.

Today is Friday, though, and I realized that I have the whole weekend ahead of me (no matter how swamped it's going to be). The time is now. The fluffy buttercream icing with orange extract must be tried!

Even though the icing recipe warns that it gets a little ugly, I was sweating a bit as the lumpy mass in my mixer became lumpier. However, some time and some high-powdered mixing later, the mixture became homogeneous, and all was well. All that mixing did take longer than expected, though, so that was a bummer.

Hey, the effort was worth it. As you can see from the pictures below, the icing (which was halved, as well as made with 2 teaspoons orange extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract) looks pretty nice on my dark chocolate orange cupcakes. They smell delicious too!!

The fairy cakes are decorated simply, with a #12 tip in a pastry bag and with Cake Sparkles. I thought about some complicated stuff that I could've done, but in the end I decided "less is more." But, hey, you can see for yourself...



Dark Chocolate Cake

Category: Chocolate Cakes
Prep. Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty: Easy

Introduction:

This is the BEST scratch cake I have ever made! I received lots of compliments on it the first time I made it and plan to use it again and again. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
[Kelsie's edit: I used 1 tsp orange extract; 1 tsp vanilla]
1 cup boiling water

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Grease and flour two 9in pans or one 13x9in pan
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients
4. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes
5. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pans
6. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
7. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks

~~~~~~~

Fluffy Buttercream

Category: Frostings
Difficulty: Easy

Introduction:

I was looking for a fluffy but not very sweet version of buttercream.I made this combination of shortening,egg whites and butter and the end result is a very light icing perfect to cover cakes and to crumb coat.

Ingredients:

3/4 cups egg whites(pasteurized or about 5 big eggs)
[I used meringue powder: 5 tsp powder and 5 tbsp water for 1/2 recipe]
2 cups shortening (I use the 1 cup pkgs and cut them in pieces to make it easier)
[Or 1 cup, as in my case]
1/2 cup butter (1 stick softened a little and cut into pieces)
[1/4 cup; definitely want this to be soften!]
4 to 5 cups of confectioners sugar
[I used two cups, and that was perfect for me]
2 tbsp flavor of your choice (vanilla,almond,orange etc)
[2 tsp orange; 1 tsp vanilla]
2 tbsp milk or heavy cream [1 tbsp 2% milk for me]

Directions:

*Always make sure that your bowl and utensils are clean,dry and free of fat or liquids before whipping the egg whites for best results.
Whip the whites slowly at first until they get foamy.Add the extract,increase the speed of the mixer and start adding 1 cup of sugar slowly.Keep whipping until the meringue is shiny and stiff.
With the mixer in medium start adding the shortening and the butter a bit at a time.At the beggining the mix will look weird but that is normal.Change the mixer to high and mix until your buttercream looks homogeneous and fluffy (abt 5 to 15 min)
Start adding the rest of the sugar by 1/2 cups,add the 2 tbsp
of milk or heavy cream and keep whipping until the sugar is well incorporated (abt 5 more min).
The buttercream must be transfered to an airtight container and can last at room temperature for a few days or be refrigerated 1-2 weeks.