I know, I know… I said that most of the posts on this blog would be about decorated cookies, and they will be! But I’ve had this recent obsession with cupcakes, and I just had to try a few things.
We live in a pretty small city in southeast Idaho. The trends that hit the big cities tend to hit Idaho Falls about 2 years later. So guess what? The cupcake craze has ARRIVED! Just over the last couple of months we have gone from zero to 3 cupcake shops in our town. THREE. In a town of about 50,000, that’s a lot of cupcake shops. But between the opening of the shops, and seeing super-cute, scrumptious cupcakes on blogs like Glorious Treats, I got a cupcake itch. So I bought a few cupcakes from the locals and tried them out (you know… research! Somebody’s gotta do it.) They were ok, but it made me think that I could come up with something more than ok. So I came home, rolled up my sleeves and got in the kitchen where I belong! I made:
I had way too much fun experimenting with these, and believe it or not, it was one frosting recipe and only 2 kinds of cake. I just spiffed them up with this loveliness:
Because I was in experimental mode, I just divided up the frosting into about 10 small containers and added itty bitty amounts of flavorings to get some fun flavors. I’ll tell you more about that in my next post, where I’ll be posting the recipe and flavoring ideas.
Now a word about cake. For the cake, I used…. um…. Betty Crocker cake mix. Here’s the thing. For 7 years (the height of my cake decorating career), I lived in Oregon, pretty much at sea level. I made excellent scratch cakes, if I do say so myself. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible was my, well, cake bible, and I had excellent results with most of her recipes (have you tried her White Chocolate Whisper cake? Yum!) Then I moved to the mountains (high desert) of Idaho, and I have had NO luck with scratch cakes since I’ve lived here. I’ve been here for almost 6 years, and still no luck. What am I doing wrong, mountain dwellers?? Somebody help me! So anyway, I’ve gone back to box cake mix because it never fails, and then I don’t have to throw away batches of ingredients, which makes me crabby. I do doctor them up a bit. For chocolate, I add a couple extra tablespoons of cocoa powder (Dutch process) to the mix, and use buttermilk instead of water. For white, I use whole eggs (which makes it a tiny bit yellow), also sub buttermilk for the water, and I always add some kind of flavoring, usually vanilla. Personally, I think they’re great cakes. They’re consistently moist and light, and with some added flavoring it tends to hide the fake vanilla flavor that I don’t like in box mixes. For the cakes above, I divided up the batter and added these:
They were all amazingly delicious, and combined with the frosting variations that I’ll show you in my next post, I think I found some definite winning combinations. YUM.
Cupcake frosting recipe coming up next!