Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I HEART Wednesday...Classic Cupcakes Recipe

Everybody loves Wednesday, right?
The week's half over.  The weekend is on the way.
What's not to love?
Each Wednesday, I want to share something with you
that I absolutely love and can't live without!

Over ten years ago, I went through all three Wilton cake decorating classes. I did it with a couple of friends, so that was fun. I bought everything I could possibly need (and more) to make gorgeous confections. I anticipated making exciting and wildly creative cakes for my children's birthdays. And then, they dropped the bomb.

After years of slaving over difficult designs, they didn't like them. They were too sweet. Too much icing. Yep, seriously. That's what they said. Oh well. I had the memories of rolling fondant and making delicate icing roses, right? They just wanted cupcakes. That's it. In the end, it was actually quite freeing. 

So - if they wanted cupcakes, they were going to get the best cupcakes I had to offer. After a lot of experimenting with homemade cake batter, I found that what I really liked best (and them, too) was...drum roll, please...

Seriously! Now before you roll your eyes and say "I'll never use a box mix!", let me tell you something. These are good. Really good. But you have to pay special attention to a couple of rules.

First - on the back of the box, there's two recipes for making the mix - one with whole eggs and one with just egg whites. That's the difference. Using the all egg white recipe makes them light and spongy, and beautifully white.

Second, get to know your oven. I usually get 20 cupcakes out of a box. I use a cookie scoop to fill them to make sure they bake up evenly in size. I put my racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. I'm not kidding when I tell you I've made these cupcakes 100 times, so I know my oven. I preheat my oven to 325, put them in and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, I switch them top and bottom and rotate them front to back. Back in for three more minutes and they're DONE! Do not overcook these. You don't want them wet, but as soon as they are done, get them out!

It may take a minute or two more or less for your oven, so get to know it. Start checking at 15 minutes to see how they're doing. Find the timing that's right for you.

Of course a great cupcake needs great icing! My favorite is a cream cheese icing.

Classic Cream Cheese Icing

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 8 oz block cream cheese, room temp
vanilla extract
2 lb bag of confectioners sugar
half and half

Begin by creaming the butter and cream cheese. I always add a pinch of salt to this. Add a good splash of vanilla (about 1 tbsp if you want to measure). Begin adding powdered sugar. I use a half cup measuring cup and add about two cups, then add a tablespoon or so of half and half, then keep adding sugar until you get the desired consistency. The original recipe I used called for two cups of powdered sugar, but I thought that made the icing too heavy, so I "cut" it by adding more sugar! It will vary from day to day, depending on the weather and humidity, etc., but I usually end up adding about 5-6 cups of sugar. You don't want it to be wet, and it needs to be light enough to spread. Refrigerate what you don't use and it will keep a couple of weeks in the fridge. Just allow it to come to room temp and use a hand mixer to remix and lighten it up before using it.  

That's it, folks! I've used this recipe for years and everyone LOVES them. I've made them for weddings and birthday parties. I used the same recipe for my in-laws 50th anniversary cake, too. Give it a try!

I also use the other Pillsbury Pudding In The Mix flavors, always using all egg whites. Devil's Food Cake is reallllllly good, too.

Tomorrow, I show you how I made the cupcake stands...and why!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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