Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 9 : Christmas Cupcakes

I hope you have time to make something beautiful with the beautiful people in your life this Christmas. May I suggest cupcakes? They really couldn't be more fun! Or tasty!

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I found this giant shaker of sprinkles at the grocery store and we only used half of them today. The little holly and berries and gingerbread people were my favorites. The candy canes were actually peppermint flavored and surprisingly really good on top the almond frosting (recipe to follow).

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I found Red Velvet cake mix on sale at Target before Thanksgiving and was able to use both Target and Manufacturer coupons to end up paying about $.25/box. Which was great since I just saw these at my regular grocery store for over $2/box. Up here in Minnesota, Red Velvet is a seasonal mix. I've never seen it any time but Christmas. It sure makes for pretty looking cupcakes.

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Grab your little "beater licker" and let's get frosting.

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I adapted the traditional Vanilla Butter Creme Frosting form my Betty Crocker cookbook. This is the kind that hardens as it sits which means you won't have to cover your cakes because the frosting makes a real nice barrier from the air and it's even better when the frosting itself is hard.

To frost 19 cupcakes (a few were eaten right out of the oven, not by me of course, I would never do that) I made one batch and then a half batch. I substituted almond extract for vanilla. I great-big-puffy-heart love almond extract, it reminds me of our superbly delicious wedding cake 11 years ago. I add it to boxed white cake mixes too (thanks for the tip Kim). Keep in mind that if you use regular real vanilla it will yellow your white frosting a bit. You might want to look for clear vanilla if it bothers you.

To thin it out enough for piping bags, I added about 1Tb of light corn syrup, twice. I use Karo. You want it the consistency of creamy peanut butter (maybe a tad more stiff than that). If it's too hard it will be nearly impossible to squeeze it through the itty bitty tip at the end. I'm sure there's a physics lesson in there somewhere.

Complete frosting recipe at the end.

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Fill disposable piping bags with frosting by first folding down the cuff so you can get the frosting down deep in there, without slopping it all over the edge of the bag. A messy bag is no fun to work with. I love these disposable bags, forget the fabric ones, they are such a pain to wash.

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Twist the end of the bag and squeeze out all the air and you are ready to get cracking.

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I made the second half of my first batch of frosting, green. Just use regular liquid food coloring. Your frosting will need to be thinned enough to squeeze out nicely anyway, and the liquid coloring helps that too.

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I spread some white in the middle of this one, then pipped little stars all around to make the wreath. Just squeeze the bag without moving it and then lift up in a quick motion to stop the flow.

It looks kind of dull, plain like this, but add those holly berries and it's now my favorite of all the cupcakes we made.

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My half batch of frosting was supposed to be red, but I decided the pink would work just fine. A bit more retro feeling.

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For most of the rest I just filled in the top with the little stars/flowers. The 3rd style was with the same tip and I just started on the outside edge and made a circle all around until I reached the center.

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The girls did their favorite part, all the sprinkles.

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Showing off their favorites.

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Grandpa John, they love their Mickey aprons. Thank you!

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Buttercream Frosting
4.5 C powdered sugar
1 Stick softened butter
2 tsp almond extract
2 Tb milk
1-2 Tb light corn syrup, for thinning

Mix all together with an electric mixer. You have to mix longer than you would think is necessary to make it smooth, without lumps. Color as desired and frost about 24 cupcakes (a few more if you are just spreading it on). Thin it out with light corn syrup as necessary if using in piping bags.

*This would even be good with peppermint or cherry extract added.

For an easy print version of this recipe, you can find it over at Tasty Kitchen. Thanks PW, for the feature today! :)

5 comments:

Jessica said...

Okay, now I'm hungry ;)

Seriously love that pic of E & A looking at the cupcakes!! Makes me think of "double trouble" in a sweet way of course. Double the happiness for sure!

And may I add that your cupcakes look so professional! You really have a talent decorating them!

I've enjoyed reading all the Christmas posts. Sad it's only 12 instead of 25 :( he, he, he

Young Adventures... said...

So cute!

Angel said...

Thanks Rachel and Jessica!

You know, it will probably be more than 12, but I had to let myself off the hook for 25. LOL

Jenny said...

Those are lovely cupcakes and you have beautiful girls! I was wondering if this frosting would work for decorating sugar cookies?

Angel said...

Thank you Jenny, you are so sweet. I think it would be perfect for sugar cookies. Especially if you like to pipe designs on them with different colors. It holds up so well for that.

I usually just use a basic icing of powdered sugar thinned with milk (add almond of course) and lightly spread it on for more of a glaze, since we like our cookies thin and crispy. But I can totally see this frosting on a more elaborate, thicker, sugar cookie. Now I might have to try that too! I know that would be my husband's favorite. Have you seen this recipe? Would be great with this frosting.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Santa-Sugar-Cookies