Saturday, April 11, 2009

Christine's Birthday Cupcakes

Since I didn't have time to allow the icing to harden, I couldn't smooth out the tops any.

I must've been out of my mind, but when my best friend Grace asked us to her daughter's 10th birthday party this weekend, I offered to make her birthday cake out of cupcakes. Actually, I'm quite honored that she's trusting me to make something palatable and visually pleasing for her darling daughter, Christine.

Since I've begun this cake decorating class a couple of weeks ago, I feel the need for a challenge. Since we're not all that into birthday cake, at least not the Duncan Hines kind, we can all share and my practice cakes won't go to waste at least. But with all that's on my plate at the moment, I did manage to find a couple of hours during the week to make the cupcakes from scratch from a yellow cake recipe from Cake Wardrobe's blog. They are delicious, although I probably should have sifted the flour twice to make it a bit lighter. They do have great flavour and easily doubled.

The cupcakes were made three days ago and promptly wrapped in plastic wrap directly on the cooling rack and placed in deep freezer until last night. While still frozen, as to avoid crumbs (although I don't these don't seem to have much) and because I didn't have much time, I tinted icing and used a spatula to spread the icing on each cupcake. Under normal circumstances, you should allow the icing to form a "harden" (not to be mistaken for royal icing which turns rock hard) and then smooth it out with parchment paper before decorating. But because it was late, I started decorating after two hours.

After cupcakes are cooled, you can freeze them to make for easier decorating, especially boxed mixes.

Iced each cupcake (I hate this yellow!) and allow to sit for a few hours to harden.

Stamp your pattern you want to fill in.Outline the pattern with a #4 tip before filling in to give your pattern a more defined image (I used #18 stars).

I used letter cookie cutters to stamp out the shapes, outlined each letter with #4 tip and filled with a #16 star. As you can see, I'm no neat-freak, especially since I was doing this in a hurry, but I think they came out very nice. What do you think? Will Christine love these? Will post more photos later today...

For the cupcakes
(recipe from Desserts by the Yard, Sherry Yard)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Happy Birthday, Christine!

1. Make the Cake: Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degreesF. Place liners to make 24 cupcakes.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together two times and set aside.

3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a large bowl and a hand mixer, and beat together at medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Scrape down the paddle or beaters and the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

5. Beating on low speed, add the milk and the flour mixture each in 3 additions, alternating wet and dry ingredients. Beat only until smooth. Fill the cupcake pans 3/4 full.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. To test the cake for doneness, lightly touch the top with a finger - it should spring right back into place; the cake should also be beginning to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan. If necessary, bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 2 hours before frosting. (see Cake Decorating Weeks 1 & 2)

I transferred them onto a covered tray to transport. Let's hope they survive the trip!

Off to Week #3 at cake decorating class. Please check back later... : )

Later that day...

So, the cupcakes survived the journey to Christine's party. She was SO excited when she saw them and wanted to get the camera out for some pics! That's a good ego boost, don't you think? Even amateur decorating like mine, served a 10 year-old's heart delight well! Unfortunately, I think that will try the cupcake recipe again, this time double sifting as per the recipe's directions. That's me - always trying to take the shortcut. The flavor of the cake was wonderful, but the density a bit too heavy.


  1. Great job on the cupcakes and I like the presentation.

  2. Thanks! Yes, just got home from the party. Unfortunately, sifting IS an integral part of baking. Sift when sifting is required! Lesson learned...

  3. You are a good friend and a great mom! These are just too cute. What a great idea. I know she was thrilled!!

  4. So cute and creative! She must have been so excited!