hippie cupcakes

A couple of my co-workers are transferring this week and I’m really going to miss them… so I decided to make something special for them! Full disclosure here, I was originally going to make a cake, but I totally wussed out. Cakes scare me…

they don’t rise
they rise too much
they fall
the top domes up
they stick to the pan
they burn around the edges… etc, etc, etc

…so yeah… I lost my nerve on the cake thing. I “settled” on cupcakes instead. I would like to submit my argument for why cupcakes are the BEST food out there:

they are self contained
easy portion control (you can have one and then another and another…)
savory or sweet options – seriously I make a mean lasagna cupcake – best. dinner. ever.
easy to transport
lots of size variation
so many cute liner options
each one is unique (like a delicious little snowflake)

…I could go on and on, but let’s get to the good stuff!

Tie-dye cupcakes – take one!

DISCLAIMER: I didn’t decide until about halfway through that I should use my actual camera instead of my phone to take pictures…so some of the pictures are completely lame. It was also getting late and I got lazy with the picture taking… sorry!

Like any good amateur in the kitchen I picked up a back up plan when I went to get my ingredients.

back up plan

back up plan

Although, having these boxes on hand can make it hard to do the real thing after a long day at work, but man was it worth it to stick it out! I started by turning on the oven – which I ALWAYS forget to do. After that, I made the cupcake batter (which is actually a cake recipe that I cut in half…see below recipe) Cutting the recipe in half yielded 12 cupcakes, which is perfect for what I need, and honestly I probably could have gotten a 13th out of it if I hadn’t over filled things. Even 13 isn’t an unlucky number when you’re talking about cupcakes!

Mmmm - can't wait to lick that bowl!

Mmmm – can’t wait to lick that bowl!

I wouldn’t be able to survive without my mixer – best Christmas present ever – thanks babe! (well culinary present anyway) Next I portioned all of the batter out into separate bowls. Nothing scientific there – I mean I guess you could if you were really worried about it. If I was actually making a cake I would have weighed this out to make sure the layers were even…and that’s why I made cupcakes.

rainbow!

rainbow!

I used the Wilton coloring and honestly it worked so well that I’ll probably use it from now on for coloring my baked goods. Just remember – a little goes a looooooong way with this stuff.

these are so much more efficient than food coloring - and since they're gel they don't mess with the consistency of the batter

these are so much more efficient than food coloring – and since they’re gel they don’t mess with the consistency of the batter

Next I filled all of the cupcake tins – I actually over filled them a little, but it all worked out in the end…next time I’ll be a little more careful with this step. I started with red and then ROYGBIVed my way through the rest of the colors. (for all of you not up with the color wheel lingo that’s – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) I switched the O and Y (oops) and skipped I to go straight to V.

you can't look at that and not smile

you can’t look at that and not smile

While the psychedelic cupcakes are in the oven, I started on the icing. (recipe below) It is a simple cream cheese, buttercream frosting – which is why it automatically rocks. I mean, come on, cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar – YUM.

this is clearly going to be delicious

this is clearly going to be delicious

I took it a step further and added in sprinkles. Because I’m awesome. I actually wish I would have added some more to the icing, but there’s always next time!

this is very dense and dunkaroos-like, adding a little milk would help with that

this is very dense and dunkaroos-like, adding a little milk would help with that

After the cupcakes come out they have to cool… boo. I actually had to leave them in the oven a little longer than the suggested 15 minutes. Partially because I made cupcakes with a cake recipe and also because I overfilled the cups a little. Oops.

this is the true test...don't touch...

this is the true test…don’t touch…

I actually wanted to speed the cooling process up a little because is was late and I was tired, so I stuck them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool them off. I then used a piping bag and tip to pipe on the delicious, colorful icing. I just happened to stumble upon some piping bags in my pantry, otherwise I had planned on using a gallon freezer bag.

a gallon bag would work just as well

a gallon bag would work just as well

I just piped the icing in a circle on top and garnished with some extra sprinkles. (I love sprinkles.) And viola! You have a beautiful tie dye cupcake! It looks awesome and, other than a couple of added steps, it is super easy!

Ha! I made that!

Ha! I made that!

It’s like eating a piece of art work. Yummmmmmm.

this is like culinary foreplay...

this is like culinary foreplay…

And the inside now…do you have any idea how hard it was to take these pictures and NOT eat this cupcake…I kept hoping I would get icing on my hand so I would *have* to lick it off…

Mmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmm

I am now a firm believer that ALL cupcakes should be tie dyed. Go forth, make tie dye cupcakes and prosper!

all gone.

all gone.

Below are the recipes that I used:

Cupcake Recipe: (Smitten Kitchen)
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Icing Recipe:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tbsp whole milk (I actually left this out for a thicker icing, so it would not run)
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup sprinkles (more or less for desired pizazz)

In a blender, cream together cream cheese and butter. (If you want to add in the whole milk, do it here.) Add in sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. On a low speed, add in sprinkles.

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