Saturday, January 10, 2009

Personalized Cupcakes

Happy Birthday!

Today is the birthday of two of my co-workers, Marjorie and Daniel. To celebrate their birthdays I decided I would make them these cupcakes. At one point I was going to make them a peanut butter pie, only to find out that Daniel does not like peanut butter. Normally not liking peanut butter would be unacceptable in my book, but since Daniel is not American I suppose it is excusable. Anyhow, I got the okay on chocolate cupcakes (chocolate is loved universally after all) and decided I would make these.

I made this chocolate recipe once before on my blog when I made Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting. I did not want to repeat the recipe, but they were so good the first time I could not resist. I did not make the frosting, which nobody seemed to notice, but I did make the little "M" and "D" decorations. I this decorating technique in the book Hello, Cupcake! which my boyfriend gave me for Christmas. I do not have any pictures of me making the letters, but I will give you detailed instructions. The book is fantastic so if you have time definitely check it out. To ensure you do not feel cheated with a repeat recipe and store bought frosting I have included a frosting recipe below. I hope you enjoy!

Happy Birthday Personalized Cupcakes
cupcake recipe from All Recipes

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 package chocolate cake mix (I used chocolate fudge cake mix)
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix (I also used chocolate fudge pudding mix)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dust these in flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Simple Buttercream Frosting
from The Culinary Institute of America

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk plus extra as needed

Cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, 2 minutes. Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add the cream in a thin stream.

Note: Once blended, buttercreams can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. To use after refrigeration, let the buttercream soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until it is a smooth, light spreading consistency, 3-4 minutes.
To Decorate Cupcakes:

Edging the Cupcakes
from Hello, Cupcake!

Spread the cooled cupcakes with a generous dollop of room temperature frosting. Smooth evenly. Spread a large amount of sprinkles, sugar, or other ingredient in a small shallow bowl. While the frosting is still moist, hold the cupcake by its base and carefully roll the edge in sprinkles. Press the frosting against the sugar to smooth out an imperfections.

Chocolate Lettering
from Hello, Cupcake!

Create your own letter, make multiple templates (you do not need a template and can free hand your letters, this is what I did), and place on a cookie sheet. Place a piece of wax paper on top of the template. Place any color candy melting wafers in a ziplock bag. Do not seal the bag. Microwave in 30 second intervals, massaging the bag between each interval, until the candy is smooth. Press out the excess air and seal the bag, Snip a 1/8-inch corner from the bag. Pipe out an outline of the letter on the wax paper and fill in. Tap the pan lightly after each letter to flatten. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle the top with the desired nonpareils or colored sugar. Refrigerate until set, about five minutes. When set, place on edged cupcakes.

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