Friday, April 30, 2010

Holy Cupcakes Batman

A good friend of mine invited me to her little boy's birthday party and I offered to make his cupcakes/cake as part of my gift. She told me batman themed and blue, yellow and gray were the colors. Of course being that these were cupcakes for a 4 year old boy they had to be fun and bright. My friend said simple as far as cake flavor goes which worked for me since most kids only eat the frosting anyway. I made a white velvet cake and fluffy vanilla buttercream. I had a bat cutter from my Halloween mini cutter set but it wasn't the BATMAN bat shape so I found an image online, made a stencil and cut them out by hand. I have number cutters from Ateco but the 4 didn't have the cutout in the middle so I cut those out by hand also and they looked a lot better that way. I also made the cupcake stand. I wanted to do something besides just put the cupcakes on the table or on plates. With the help of my friend Steph and her cupcake stand tutorial on her blog, and the help of my husband for cutting out the foam boards I got the stand made pretty quickly. Hot glue guns suck though. I had glue everywhere. I am so not a crafty type so this was impressive just for me to accomplish. Ha ha

Okay cupcake time 

This batter was a little thicker than my usual vanilla cupcake recipe but smelled really good. Tasted good too. Always have to have a little lick of the batter!

Love my oven I can bake two pans of cupcakes side by side and they all come out evenly baked

Perfectly poofed on top. I couldn't find grey cupcake liners so I went with the silver/foil. Close enough

Divided my frosting up in equal halves for the yellow and blue frostings. Didn't want to end up with more of one and not enough of the other or have to dye more and try to match it

Golden yellow, Royal blue and a couple of 1M tips

Just a little bit at a time. The color gets darker the longer it sets

Perfect. Batman blue!!

Came out more orangey than I wanted. Should have used lemon yellow. Oh well too late now

Sooooo appetizing right? ha ha

Half dyed yellow, I added blue sugar sprinkles to these

With the fondant batman bats

Closer look so you can see the sugar sprinkles

No I didn't have the lights on bright, the frosting was seriously this bright. I added yellow jimmies to these

With the fondant 4's. I had to make the grey fondant by mixing some black with white fondant

I made the birthday boy his own jumbo cupcake and wanted to do something cool with the frosting, do a two color swirl. I put equal amounts into 12" disposable bags and cut off the tips

Placed inside a 16" disposable pastry bag with an 1M tip, no coupler.

It came out exactly how I wanted. And I had made his name in fondant letters to go on the cupcake

Had to add a fondant 4

And a bat

I think these came out pretty darn cute. The birthday boy LOVED them.

My friend got this awesome candle for the cupcake so I am glad I made a jumbo one just for the birthday boy. Which of course he only licked the frosting off like I predicted!! I was bummed I couldn't find a jumbo silver cupcake liner for this cupcake. This was actually a vanilla bean cupcake I had made with the raspberry vanilla cupcakes I last posted about. The white velvet cupcakes made 24 and I didn't want to make two batches just to get a jumbo one or to have a bunch of leftover cupcakes. Not that that is a bad thing, but I don't need a bunch of extras in the house. Not when I have a giant list of fun flavors to make right  now!!

White Velvet Cupcake Recipe

White Velvet Butter Cake - Modified for Cupcakes
- 4 liquid oz of egg whites (around 4 large egg whites)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups sifted cake flour (important! make sure you use cake flour and not all-purpose flour)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350F and fill two 12-hole cupcake trays with cupcake wrappers. In a medium bowl, combine egg whites, vanilla and 1/4 cup milk.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix together to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high if using a hand mixer) for 1.5 minutes. Then add the egg, vanilla and milk mixture in three equal parts, beating for 20 seconds between additions.

Pour the batter into prepared cupcake trays. Try to fill each cake with an equal amount of batter. Try using an ice cream scoop to help make scoops of batter even. Each cupcake wrapper will be about 2/3-3/4 full. Place trays in the oven for 15-20 minutes, remove when golden yellow and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
4 sticks of unsalted butter room temp
5 cups of powdered sugar sifted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp meringue powder ( optional I use it to help the frosting hold the piped shape better)
2-4 tbsp heavy cream
dash salt

Whip the butter til light and fluffy stopping to scrape down the sides every now and then. Mix the meringue powder and salt in with the powdered sugar. Add in the sugar half cups at a time, beating on high for 30 seconds or so after each cup is added, scrape down the sides and repeat til all the sugar is used it. Add in the vanilla and beat well. Scrap again. Add the cream one tbsp at a time until you reach consistency to your liking.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vanilla bean cupcakes with raspberry curd swirl and raspberry Italian meringue buttercream

Long enough blog title? I mean how do you really name a recipe without practically naming every ingredient in it? I could call these vanilla raspberry cupcakes or raspberry vanilla cupcakes but they are so much more complex than that. And not as boring sounding. When I search online for recipes I tend to lean towards the ones that aren't just "Chocolate cupcake" or "vanilla cupcake" I look at the ones that sound more complex, more steps involved. Am I a nuts for wanting MORE to do when baking or creating? Maybe. But that's what stands someone out in a crowd.  There are soooo many wild cake and cupcake creations these days so one is most likely going to make the exact same thing yet call it something else, or decorate slightly differently. Okay enough babble. I made these for a good friend for her birthday. I asked her what she wanted saying "I can make ANYTHING you want." She said something with vanilla and raspberry would rock. So I was thinking about a vanilla cupcake ( since I am STILL on the hunt for that PERFECT vanilla cupcake. You know, soft yet dense, super moist and very vanillaey) so I went with a buttery vanilla bean cupcake. For the raspberry part I wanted to do more than just a frosting. I wanted a filling, a swirl but not using store bought raspberry jam. I made a raspberry puree using frozen raspberries ( since fresh aren't in season yet) an italian meringue buttercream with the puree added in. I made the puree and it was runnier than I had wanted ( I later added cornstarch to thicken and it was perfect) I found a recipe online for a raspberry curd (that wasn't as THICK as lemon curd) but perfect for what I wanted.  So here are the steps, the pictures then the recipes!

I LOVE the color of raspberries. Hard to believe these were frozen and not fresh huh?

Ingredients for the raspberry curd

A little different of a technique since it starts out with melting the butter

adding in the egg yolk, sugar and lime juice

Once the mixture is thickened pour into strainer sitting over a bowl. Preferably stainless

Scrape the poop out of it. I mean really get ALL that raspberry goodness out until JUST seeds are left in strainer. Stop and scrape the curd off the bottom of the strainer occasionally.


cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't form a film on top and chill in fridge until ready to use

Cupcake time

Getting those ingredients ready for mixing

Butter and sugar with the vanilla bean seeds

The aroma from a fresh scraped vanilla bean is awesome. I take the scraped out pods and place them in my tub of sugar to make vanilla sugar

I did two layers of the curd  for the swirl.

Swirled with a toothpick

I made one jumbo cupcake for my friend since it was her birthday after all

And regular sized with the rest of the batter

Making the raspberry italian meringue buttercream. I am a dork and took consecutive pics as I poured in the raspberry puree. I thought they came out cool so here they all are. ha ha
Gorgeous isn't it? I find that raspberries color the frosting so much better than strawberries do

I mixed some of the curd with the frosting to make a filling. Just my twist to make a unique cupcake

My beloved apple corer that I use more for cupcakes than apples

I only filled the jumbo one. Not sure why. I think I was being lazy. ha ha. Oh wait special birthday cupcake. yeah that's it.

Isn't she purty??  
I have been playing around frosting my cupcakes with different tips, this was Wilton leaf tip #70. I wanted to make a ribbon look to it. Came out OK, could have been a little smoother, but I think still pretty

The jumbo one frosted

These are the regular sized

Jumbo next to the regulars. Makes them look SOO LITTLE!!

I made a second batch of cupcakes for the husband to take to work ( and because I had SO MUCH) frosting leftover. I frosted these with an open star tip and instead of a swirl did layers of drop stars

A closer look

I can't NOT  post a cupcake cut in half pic. The swirls look so cool!!


Vanilla Bean Cupcake Recipe
my own recipe adapted from several I have
Makes 12 – 14 cupcakes


1 ½ cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
 2 large eggs, room temp
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup sour cream
1 vanilla bean ( optional)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 deg F. Line a standard cupcake/muffin pan with paper or foil liners

In a bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder. Set aside

In another bowl measure out the sugar and scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar. Work the sugar and seeds between your fingers until the seeds are well mixed in and the sugar is very fragrant.

Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer on med speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Bead it vanilla and sour cream.

Alternate the flour in 3 additions with the milk in 2 additions. Not waiting til all the flour is mixed in before adding the milk. Beating on lowest speed until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix on med speed for 30 seconds until no traces of flour remain.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake cups, filling each about ¾’s full. Bake until lightly golden, when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or the top bounces back when lightly pressed. 16-20 min. Let the cupcakes cool in pan for 5 min then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting, at least an hour.

Raspberry Curd Recipe

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Two 1/2-pints ripe raspberries or one 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 to 3 tsp fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar, and salt and cook, mashing the berries and stirring frequently at first and them constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Refrigerate, covere, until ready to serve, or for up to 1 month.

Raspberry Italian Meringue Frosting Recipe 
Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Yield: 4 to 5 cups (enough for one 9-inch-round three-layer cake or 24 cupcakes)


  • egg whites (large), 5
  • extra-fine granulated sugar, 10 ounces (1¼ cups) separated into 1 cup, 1/4 cup
  • cold water, ¼ cup
  • unsalted butter (at room temperature), 1 pound (4 sticks) ( make sure not too soft but out of fridge for 35-45 min)


1. Set out the ingredients and equipment.
Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment.
Measure 1 cup sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy- bottomed saucepan. Gently stir to combine (I use the candy thermometer for this).
Measure the remaining ¼ cup sugar into a small bowl and set aside.
Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.
2. To make the sugar syrup, place the candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Partially cover with a lid to capture the evaporating water—this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
3. With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the peaks are stiff, you have a meringue.
4. Keep the mixer running and pour the ¼ cup of sugar into the meringue, and keep whipping
5. Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245°F, if it is not there already. When the syrup is at 245°F, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue.
6. After 1 to 2 minutes reduce the mixer speed to medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is cooled. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.
7. Add in the raspberry puree 1/4-1/2 cup

Flavor Variations:
The following flavorings can be added to the base recipe for Italian Meringue Buttercream:
Vanilla: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate: 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Rum: 2 to 4 tablespoons (to taste) dark rum
Amaretto: 2 to 4 tablespoons (to taste) amaretto
Raspberry: 1/4 to 1/2 cup raspberry puree ( same with strawberry)
Lemon: 2 tablespoons limoncello
Orange: 1 teaspoon orange oil
Lime: 1 teaspoon lime oil


EQUIPMENT: standing mixer, 1-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, candy thermometer

My notes : if the mixture gets soupy once the butter is added thats NORMAL. Just keep that whip going on HIGH and it will come together. I promise. I have had troubles with Swiss Meringue Buttercream having it never come together but this I promise you it will. You will hear a change in the sound once it comes together

Also leave at room temp IF you are using the same day. Otherwise put in an airtight container and pop in fridge until ready to use. Thaw at room temp for 30-40 min and whip again for 5 min on LOW speed.
This frosting tastes best at room temp. Its creamy, buttery and not overly sweet like some powdered sugar based frostings can be. But straight out of the fridge it tastes well more like butter. Hey some of you might not have the patience to wait the 30 min for frosting taste perfection. I know I haven't been able to before.

Also this makes A LOT of frosting enough to pipe giant 1M swirls on cupcakes with some leftover. I would say its enough for 40 cupcakes not 24. 

Raspberry Puree Recipe
1 12-16 ounce bag frozen raspberries - thawed
3/4 cup sugar

Heat in a sauce pan until just barely simmering. Strain into a glass  or stainless bowl making sure to scrape until just seeds remain. Chill until ready to use.

I found this to be the consistency of juice not puree so I added 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with a little cold water, added to the puree after I had strained it back into the pan, heated to a boil for a min, stirring constantly until thickened, then chilled until ready to use.