Natalie always asks, "Will there be cake?" when I tell her we've been invited to a social function.
Michaela Byrd talked about purple cupcakes for her birthday party pretty much around the clock last week, so I knew I needed to pull out all the stops and make some fabulous homemade cupcakes for her little Princess Party on a budget.
I found Laura's recipe for The Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes during a Google search, and it did the trick!
The neat thing is that cupcakes can be served at all kinds of occassions...I'm thinkin' up something for Valentine's right now! Keep reading for the recipe I used and to see how I ice mine.
Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes
1 box of cake mix--I chose Devil's Food
1 cup buttermilk (substitute this for the water called for on the box)**
Vegetable oil (the amount on the box)
4 eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)
**If you don't have buttermilk, you can pour 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup and add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then use as much milk as your recipe calls for!)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
Follow the instructions on the box, placing the ingredients in a large bowl and using the buttermilk in place of the water specified on the box. Use the amount of vegetable oil that is called for, then add the 4 eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer. Fill paper liners two-thirds full.
Bake 12 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. (I found that 15 minutes usually did the trick) Cool completely before icing.
Now comes the fun part!
(Disclosure: I am a complete amateur when it comes to icing things, but this is the way I learned...)
I'm usually running short on time, so I like to start with a canister or two of premade icing, and my box of colored gels from Wilton.
The gels are cheap if you hold on to a Michaels/JoAnn/AC Moore/Hobby Lobby coupon. In the long run, I feel like it's worth it to have several different shades to play with.
Spoon a big hunk of icing into a bowl (it's always better to do more than you need so you don't have to match colors later).
Take a clean toothpick and dab a generous amount of the gel color you've chosen onto the tip. Swirl it onto the top of your icing and then discard the toothpick (I've been told to use a clean toothpick each time I need more gel, or it icks up the gels from the oils in the icing).
Stir the color in all the way, adding more gel if necessary to reach the desired shade.
You can find decorating bags at any craft store. I use the Wilton ones because I received them as a gift.
I believe that the tip (silver thing that icing comes out of, for lack of a better description) is called a "Star" and it had the number "32" on the side.
These are super cheap at the craft store. I think maybe $1 or so?
I filled the icing bag by sticking it inside a tall glass and rolling the open end over the edge of the glass, like I did in this post. Once it's filled, twist the end up, like this:
Icing is easy...just point and squeeze in a circle around the cupcake!
To store my cupcakes, I used this awesome storage piece from Martha Stewart's Macy's line.
T's grandparents gave it to me for Christmas, and I am in looooooove! It has two enclosed storage areas, and the trays are removable AND you can turn the upside down to store a cake, cookies, etc. One of my favorite gifts, for sure!
The only thing left to do was to throw myself at the mercy of the food critics:
I think I did okay!
Please let me know if you have any questions. I know these aren't professional looking (certainly not like Rhiannon's!), but the crowd was pleased.
Also, I know I have to say this...I am not affiliated with Duncan Hines or Martha Stewart. But I wish I were. (wink)
Linking this post to Jen's Tasty Tuesday party at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.