Thursday, December 2, 2010

Devon's Cupcakes

I first have to apologize for being non-existent! I am making a New Year's resolution a month early - and that is to blog WAY MORE often! I promise I will never go a whole month again without a post!
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Shaun's cousin Devon had her 13th birthday recently so I made her cupcakes to celebrate with the family. I got the recipe for these cupcakes off Martha Stewart's website.They were called Vanilla Letter Cupcakes on there but I renamed them in Devon's honor. I've been searching for a home-made vanilla cupcake recipe and this is definitely a strong contender! Beware - this recipe is a long one but worth it in the end!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in 3 batches of flour mixture, alternating with 2 batches of milk. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until thoroughly blended, 10 to 20 seconds.

Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let cool in tin on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin; let cool completely. Line tin with muffin cups; repeat process with remaining batter. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt

Put butter in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well, about 5 minutes total. Add vanilla and salt. Raise speed to medium-high; beat until smooth, about 1 minute more. Makes 5 1/4 cups.

Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake in a spiral pattern, starting at the edges and ending with a peak in the center. OR - feel free to use store-bought icing!

Iced Letter Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Black icing tube to write with OR cut mini-letters from dough

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in bowl of electric mixer; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 mins. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture until combined. Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut twelve 2-inch circles and twelve 1 1/2-inch circles using cookie cutters. Cut out centers with a mini letter-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If cookies become soft, refrigerate until firm, 20-30 mins. Bake, switching positions of sheets about halfway through, until just golden, about 10-12 mins. Transfer cookies on parchment to wire racks; let cool completely. Makes 2 dozen.

Place 1 iced letter cookie upright in the buttercream of each cupcake. Tutti Mangia!


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