Thursday, April 15, 2010

Still Here..

I haven't gone anywhere folks. Still pottering around! Hope Easter Holidays went well for those who observe it. Kitchen fires have been burning and yummy food devoured but mostly the good old trusted recipes. Visitors, work and Kid activities do not leave much time for blogging. The husband for his part has concocted a fantastic stuffed/baked fish inspired by a Food Network Show I think. It came out way better than my own baked fish for sure. I'll be posting this here as soon as we can get a decent pic. Till then here are a bunch of spring flowers from the backyard and some cupcakes I made for a fundraiser in my son's class.

Updated with Cupcake/Frosting Recipes on April 18, 2010
It looks like these are probably some recipes that my kids will want to look up later. I have made so many batches of cupcakes and frosting that I have lost count. I experimented with a bunch of recipes I found online and finally settled on the ones that appealed to all of us. So here they are with links as well as the actual recipes for easy reference:

You will need the following for cupcakes and frosting:
cupcake baking pan (available in target, grocery stores etc.)
cupcake liners (available in Michaels, grocery stores)
reusable piping bags with different tips for frosting (Found a nice set in a grocery store for $3.99)
sprinkles (Michaels, grocery stores)
always bring the butter called for in recipes to room temp before creaming.
if refrigerating the frosting, give a quick whip to bring it back to life for use.

Vanilla Cupcakes from : The layout of this site is easy to follow and you feel like you can try things from it right away and will come out right. Well, it is true. The vanilla cupcakes came out just perfect every single time I made them!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 egg whites from large eggs
2 large eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The first time I made ~ 12-15 cupcakes by halving all the measurements above. The full quantity makes about 25-26 cupcakes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line the pan with cupcake liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt with a whisk. Add shortening, milk and vanilla and combine together very well. Remember to scrape bowl always. I used the whisk for this step. Now beat in egg whites and the full eggs in two steps. Beat until fluffy and smooth. About 3 minutes did it for me.

Fill liners to a little less than 2/3 with the batter. Bake for about 19-20 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I find that it is better for me to take out the cupcakes with liners from out of the pan within 2 minutes of coming out of the oven to prevent the cakes from sticking too close to the liners. Now let cool completely.
The cakes are ready for frosting!

Chocolate Cupcakes from : I DID NOT make this cupcake but plan to soon and I have complete faith in the site that this will come out just fine too. So this is for future reference since this is what the kids would really love.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup water
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla
4 oz melted unsweetened baking chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with liners.
Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Mix at low speed for 30 secs and at high for 3 minutes after scraping bowl.
Fill liners to a little less than 2/3 with the batter. Bake for about 19-20 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Coffee Cupcake adapted from  Martha Stewart's site : I didn't use the whiskey etc and the espresso powder was replaced with nescafe classic instant coffee powder I had at home. I am sure it will be even more tasty with espresso powder but this one came out wonderful and the kids too loved it! I also halved the recipe to get about 12-13 cupcakes.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tbsp instant coffee/espresso powder
1/8 cup milk
1/2 stick (4tbsp) unsalted butter (room temp)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the boiling water over coffee powder and stir well. Cool and combine with milk.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
Beat butter and the two sugars on medium speed until pale and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
Add the egg and beat well. For recipe using more than 1 egg, always beat in 1 at a time.
Beat in the flour mix in 3 steps alternating with the coffee mix, beginning and ending with flour.

Fill liners to a little less than 2/3 with the batter. Bake for about 19-20 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

That ends the cupcake recipes from the web that worked out to our taste. Now for the frosting. The chocolate frosting is what took the most tries but the journey to get there was rather sweet:-) 

Buttercream Icing from : Easy to make and since Wilton is a major source for decorating supplies, it is only understandable that they have a very useful site. For decorating tips, start here and go from there..

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (room temp) - the recipe for 1/2 cup butter & 1/2 cup shortening. I replaced
                                                             the shortening with butter for convenience.
1 tsp clear vanilla extract ( I used regular color. clea is used for pure white color I think)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk

Cream the butter (and shortening if following the org recipe) with an electric mixer.
Add vanilla and slowly add sugar, 1 cup at a time beating well at medium speed for about less than 3 min.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until fluffy.

Frosting is ready. Will keep in a closed container in the refrigerator upto 2 weeks.

Best Frosting Ever Had by missydew, a contributor to  PW's Tastykitchen. This one is a little intriguing as it uses flour. I had my doubts too but for reasons I cannot fathom, found it a very satisfying frosting. It went very well with the coffee cupcakes. It feels light and fluffy on tasting and is a bonafide dessert.

1 cup milk
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temp)
1 cup granulated sugar

In a pan, whisk the flour completely into the milk and cook at medium heat. Keep whisking so no lumps will form. Continue till the mixture really thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Now add the vanilla and combine together.

Meanwhile cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes will do the trick.
Beat in the flour mixture to a whipped cream consistancy. This is best spread with a table knife or thin spatula.

Chocolate Frosting from This frosting has the right sweetness and the right chocolaty taste and we loved it.

1/3 cup butter (room temp)

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa powder (I used a heaped 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
extra milk as needed

Beat butter until fluffy. Slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar.
Beat in 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. Add in the Cocoa and the remaining powdered sugar.
Since the powders can fly when beating, I folded them together with a spatula first and then
did the beating.

More milk by the tsp can be added for the desired consistency. Time to decorate!

Goes well with vanilla cupcakes.

That brings us to the end of the dessert saga. I know I will come back to this compiled post many a time if the young customers at home really mean what they eat!

Added 5/19/2012:

Found an even better chocolate frosting at joyofbaking and have to add it here for later.
unsweetened chocolate - 3 oz chopped coarsely
unsalted butter - 1/2 cup softened
confectioners powder - 1 cup
vanilla extract - 1 tsp

 Melt the chocolate in a stainless steel  bowl over boiling water and cool to room temp.
Cream butter with a mixer for about one minute and add sugar slowly and beat until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract  and add chocolate on low speed to mix well. Then beat on medium speed to the right consistency (2-3 min)