If you're like me then you have probably noticed how popular cupcakes are right now. There seems to be a cupcake shop on every corner in New York City. Now is your chance to impress your friends by making some cupcakes of your own...
This oh-so-cute caterpillar, made by arranging fondant-covered cupcakes in a curved line, makes a memorable arrangement for a baby's first birthday party.
Here, one jumbo cupcake is used for the head, and a dozen standard cupcakes make up the body. The remaining standard cupcakes can be frosted for serving alongside or added to the caterpillar to accommodate more guests.
Makes 1 jumbo and 28 standard Add to Shopping List Ingredients
For Cupcakes 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar 3 large eggs, room temperature 3/4 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cups buttermilk For Decorating 15 ounces fondant Gel-paste food colors (green, yellow, light blue, and red are pictured) Cornstarch, for dusting Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Cupcakes 2 mini candy canes (or substitute licorice sticks or pretzel sticks) Directions
Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 28 cups of standard muffin tins and 1 cup of a jumbo muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add brown sugar, and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in sour cream. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and mixing until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Decorate cupcakes: Tint fondant with green gel-paste food color, and roll out to 1/8 inch thick on a work surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Using cookie cutters, cut out one 4 1/2-inch round and twelve 3 3/4-inch rounds. Divide 2 cups buttercream into two bowls; tint half yellow and half pale blue with gel-paste food colors. Transfer to pastry bags fitted with small plain tips (No. 3). Tint 1/4 cup buttercream red; transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a fine plain tip (No. 1). Spread cupcakes with a thin layer of plain buttercream, and transfer remaining untinted buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with another small plain tip (No. 2). Place a fondant round on top of each cupcake, pressing gently to adhere, and mold to fit smoothly.
To make the head, pipe two yellow dots for the eyes on top of jumbo cupcake, then pipe tiny white dots for pupils. Using a skewer or toothpick, poke two holes above eyes, and insert mini candy canes into holes for antennae. Use red buttercream to pipe the mouth. Pipe dots all over other half of cupcake, alternating between yellow and pale-blue buttercreams. Continue to pipe yellow and blue dots all over remaining cupcakes, then pipe tiny white dots on top of each. Refrigerate 30 minutes to allow frosting to set. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.
Arrange 12 standard cupcakes side by side in a curving line, with the jumbo cupcake at the front. Serve remaining cupcakes as desired. Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Multicolored Frosting
Line mini-muffin tins with mini paper liners. Divide chocolate cupcake batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Reserve 1 cup frosting in a bowl. Divide remaining frosting among several bowls. (If making 1 color, place remaining frosting in a large bowl.) Dab a rubber spatula against a tiny drop of gel-paste coloring, and mix into a bowl of frosting. Add more, drop by drop, to reach desired color. Repeat with remaining frosting. If frosting is too dark, mix in some reserved white frosting. Frost cupcakes with tinted buttercream. Cook's Note
To create an array of frosting shades, divide a batch of buttercream and tint each portion. We mixed different shades of gel-paste food coloring, including deep pink, dusty rose, egg yellow, lemon yellow, mauve, orange, peach, sky blue, and violet.
These cupcakes make memorable party treats. Chilling the bowl beforehand helps the cream whip up with the most volume. Martha Stewart Living, July/August 1998 Yield Makes 30
Dark Chocolate Cake 3 pints ice cream, any flavor 5 1/2 cups heavy cream 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar Sprinkles, for decorating Directions
Place 30 paper baking cups on two baking sheets. Set aside. Slice each cake layer in half horizontally, making a total of four layers. Using a 2 1/4-inch-round cookie cutter, cut 30 rounds from cake layers. Place a round in each baking cup. Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, place one scoop ice cream on each cake round. Transfer baking sheets to freezer for 20 minutes. Chill a medium mixing bowl. Place heavy cream and confectioners' sugar in the chilled bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Fit a 16-inch pastry bag with a coupler. Fill pastry bag with whipped cream. Starting at the perimeter of a baking cup, pipe a spiral of whipped cream, covering the ice cream. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. Return to freezer, and chill until hard, about 45 minutes. Decorate with sprinkles, and serve. More Cupcake Ideas