The Cupcake Thread!

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Post by Porridge » November 3rd, 2009, 12:02 pm
those are great jas! love the ghost!


Post by Tacori E-ring » November 4th, 2009, 11:28 am
Jas12, those are too cute!

Thanks Skippy, Lisa, Mara, Porridge and Jas12! I am always surprised how most of the adults DON''T eat cake/cupcakes at kid''s parties. So again we had WAYYY too many left over. I guess I am a pig b/c I ALWAYS hit up the desserts. Haha. T had a great birthday. I will be sad when a trip to McDonald''s playroom isn''t an exciting and fun treat.
Expectations are nothing but premeditated resentments.

Happiness is an inside job.

Post by Jas12 » November 5th, 2009, 7:50 am
tacori--what? the adults didn''t eat them. Are they nuts. I am with you, i always hit up the dessert tableImage
but ya, come to think of it, i  had cuppies left over from Co''s party too....hmmm

Post by Tacori E-ring » November 5th, 2009, 8:18 am
Date: 11/5/2009 1:50:00 PM
Author: Jas12
tacori--what? the adults didn''t eat them. Are they nuts. I am with you, i always hit up the dessert tableImage

but ya, come to think of it, i had cuppies left over from Co''s party too....hmmm

I know. I made 2 dozen (12 vanilla, 12 chocolate). We had 13 kids at the party over the age of 1 and we had 13 cupcakes left! That means not even every KID had one. Haha. Whatever. DH is perfectly happy to have so many leftovers! I am still always afraid of running out of food I probably would make the same if I did it all over again.
Expectations are nothing but premeditated resentments.

Happiness is an inside job.

Post by ellaila » November 5th, 2009, 8:54 am
Hmm, that''s interesting about the leftovers, Tacori! I was wondering how many to make - if everyone shows up, we should have 11 kids and 14 adults, so I figured I''d need more than two dozen ... but I guess maybe not?? I think my muffin tin is a bit small though, so actually a typical dozen recipe may make more like 15 or 16 in my tin, which would be good.

And I know this has been asked here before, but is there a general consensus on the best chocolate and vanilla cupcake recipes? I know people talk about Billy''s and Magnolia''s for vanilla - any preferences here? And what about chocolate?

Oh, and T, how long did it take you to decorate the cupcakes? Did you bake them the day before and then deco them the day of the party?

Post by Tacori E-ring » November 5th, 2009, 9:09 am
Ella, it took 2 hours (with 3 people decorating). We made them the night before. I have a cupcake, tupperware holder thing I used to keep them safe overnight.
Expectations are nothing but premeditated resentments.

Happiness is an inside job.

Post by ellaila » November 5th, 2009, 9:14 am
Yikes, I guess I''m going to need to enlist hubby and MIL to help! MIL is actually incredibly detail-oriented and precise, so she''ll probably make the cuppies look like National Geographic photos :)

So did you keep them in the fridge overnight?

Post by Tacori E-ring » November 5th, 2009, 9:24 am
ella, nope. It took 5 hours (with two people) last year but we made twice as many cupcakes. Live and learn!
Expectations are nothing but premeditated resentments.

Happiness is an inside job.

Post by DandiAndi » November 7th, 2009, 2:27 am

Tacori, Steph and Jas, great work ladies! Jas those ghosts are too adorable!!! ImageImage

A friend of mine asked me for 4 dozen cupcakes for this weekend, but DH and I only returned home from 3 weeks in Thailand last night... so the answer was a poilte but firm no Image

Ellaila, I tried Magnolia's (haven't tried Billy's), but just couldn't warm to them, I found them so heavy and too often they came out dry. I thought I must have been doing something really wrong, but it happened several times! My favourite vanilla cupcake recipe is just an easy generic one, but it's so fluffy and moist:

125g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1&1/2 cups SR flour
1/2 cup milk

1. Cream butter, essence and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs one at a time, beat until combined. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the milk, then stir in remaining flour and milk. Pour mixture into 12 patty pans (in a 12-hole muffin tray.)
3. Bake for 15 minutes in a moderate oven (190 deg celcius) or until skewer comes out clean.


And, my ALL TIME favourite chocolate recipe is this one, it's SO rich, decadent and moist, more like a really heavy mudcake. I omit the cherry brandy, as it's actually a recipe for Black Forest cupcakes. I still put the pureed cherries in though, to make it moist.

15 oz (425g) can pitted cherries (sweet) in syrup
4 oz (100g) bittersweet (dark) eating chocolate - coarsely chopped (I use Lindt 70% cocoa)
5½ oz (165g) butter - coarsely chopped
11 oz (11/3 cup, 295g) superfine(castor) sugar
2¼ fl oz (¼ cup, 60ml) cherry brandy
5 oz (1cup, 150g) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tblsp self-raising flour
2 tbls cocoa powder
1 egg

1. Pre-heat the oven to 335oF (170oC). 
2. Line a 12 cupcake pan, with cupcake papers.
3. Drain the cherries and reserve the syrup.
4. Take ½ cup of cherries and ½ of syrup and process in a food processor, until smooth.
5. Cut the remaining cherries in half and reserve. Discard the remaining syrup.
6. Place the chocolate, butter, sugar, brandy and cherry puree into a saucepan. Over a low heat, stir until chocolate has melted.
7. Pour into a large bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
8. Whisk in sifted flours and cocoa.
9. Then wisk in the egg.
10. It will be runny - but that is correct.
11. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases. You will probably find that you fill the cases close to the top (don't worry, they don't rise a lot).
12. Bake for 40-45 minutes until firm to touch. 
13. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.


And, if you prefer a lighter, fluffy chocolate cupcake, these are divine.

1/2 cup (125 mL) cocoa, sifted
2/3 cup (150 mL) chopped unsweetened chocolate (about 4 oz/125 g)
1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
1 cup (250 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 cup (250 mL) milk

1. Combine the cocoa and unsweetened chocolate in a bowl. Pour boiling water over chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Cool.
2. In a large bowl or bowl of electric mixer, cream butter with both sugars until very light. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk in three or four additions, beginning and ending with flour.
4. Fill 24 well-buttered or paper-lined muffin cups. (Fill muffin cups three quarters full.) Bake in a preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack before icing.


These are my favourites, and people tend to ask for them over again, particularly the mud ones. Hope that helps! Image

Post by Mara » November 7th, 2009, 6:26 am
Magnolia's have what my friend calls a 'cornbread' consistency...they are so heavy. The bakery themselves are lighter cupcakes so I am sure they don't publish the EXACT recipe, for any of these that have their famous recipes in books, I am always skeptical about that. It's easy to publish a generic recipe and keep YOUR tips and tricks out of it. Like their banana pudding one...people who have had the recipe and the real stuff in the bakery say its totally diff. BTW for anyone who has not made the Magnolia banana pudding recipe with Nilla wafers, MAKE IT. I made it for a few parties last year and people absolutely love's easy to make for a huge group.

My fave vanilla is the following (I hope I wrote it right since mostly its from memory)...and the trick for me is to use A LOT of vanilla and a combo of oil and butter (oil for moisture that won't bake out in the oven; butter for flavor). IMO when I find recipes that have 1 tsp or something of vanilla its a regular recipe for butter or oil cake. I am crazy with vanilla and whenever I have seen recipes for cupcakes I liked they always had a lot of vanilla.

BTW Dandi I have used that recipe you posted for vanilla, I think I found it online... I liked it a lot but I added a lot more vanilla hehe. I think that might have been what I used in the beginning to adapt to the one I use now.

1c sugar
2 eggs
1/3c oil
4 tsp softened to almost melting butter
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2c flour
2/3tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4c milk (I do vit D milk with lemon and let sit for 5 min to make a thinner buttermilk)
(Makes about 28 miniatures)

Beat sugar and eggs with whisk for 1 min or until lightened and fluffy. Add oil and butter, mix. Add vanilla paste and combine, whisk for about 30 seconds. Add flour, baking soda, powder, salt, mix to combine. Add milk last and whisk til everything is just incorporated, then whisk for about 15 seconds quickly.

Let batter sit for about 5 min, then spoon into cupcake liners and bake at 350. I always make minis so they are done in about 12-14 min... this recipe WILL dry out very fast in the oven (like most vanillas I find) so I take them out when they are just about done but not quite.

If you don't let the batter sit for a few min, they tend to spread rather than rise enough, I like domes though.

I should note that I am lazy now and don't bother to get the mixer out for my cupcakes... but it's one of the most ordered. In the frosting I do a vanilla buttercream (with a bit of cream cheese for some tang) and put more paste along with vanilla extract. I am all about crazy vanilla!

Chocolate, the jury is still out! I have yet to really find a FAVORITE choco recipe. I've tried a ton of them too..most gourmet recipes in popular cookbooks, Martha's one bowl, the Hersheys back of the box one, etc. None of them turn out like the chocolate cakes at the bakery (YUM!). So whenever I want choco cake I just go get a slice! Image For cupcakes I like the Hersheys or Martha's one bowl but I try to use Vahlrona cocoa instead.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

-Albert Einstein

Post by miraclesrule » November 7th, 2009, 1:30 pm
I think I gained 5 lbs, just viewing the last 5 pages.  You woman are so inspiring and sooooooooo talented!!
“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Post by DandiAndi » November 8th, 2009, 12:16 am
style="WIDTH: 99%; HEIGHT: 76px">Date: 11/7/2009 12:26:29 PM
Author: Mara
BTW Dandi I have used that recipe you posted for vanilla, I think I found it online... I liked it a lot but I added a lot more vanilla hehe. I think that might have been what I used in the beginning to adapt to the one I use now.

Same here! I''m really bad with measuring, I just throw in what looks good! Could be a tablespoon? Who knows?! ImageImage I think I''ll give yours a try this weekend, sounds scrumptious!! Image

Post by Mara » November 8th, 2009, 5:51 am
let me know if you do dandi, i am curious to see how it comes out for you. vanilla is one of the most ''finicky'' recipes IMO because it can dry out in a few seconds in the oven it seems. much more so than carrot or banana or any of the other more oil heavy flavors. but just putting oil in vanilla makes it much too thick and oily.

i am horrible with measuring too... i know baking is a precise science but i get lazy hahah.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

-Albert Einstein

Post by DandiAndi » November 9th, 2009, 2:12 am
I get really nervous waiting for them to bake... my vanillas always seem to pop and explode and come out lopsided, or dry, or oily... I have a bit of a phobia of them Image That's another reason I LOVE that mudcake recipe... the shape always comes out spot on!

I have a stack of RVs to bake this weekend for a christening, but I might give your vanillas a go next weekend. Thanks again! x

Post by Jas12 » November 9th, 2009, 5:21 am
i am horrible with measuring too--i eye-ball it and it always seems to work just fine. I use a vanilla recipe similar to the one Dandi posted which is a combo of what mara and i were using. I use mostly butter, but add the touch of oil in for moisture.

Mara--couldn''t agree more about the vanilla. I think we discussed it before, but i make my own vanilla and this makes all the difference (as would any good vanilla). When i try my buttercream before adding the vanilla it tastes like nothing special, after a tbls or 2 of vanilla it is heavenly. lurve me some good vanilla! I''ll have to try the paste!

Dandi--i really need to try that mudcake. I found an okay chocolate recipe recently, but like mara--not one  i really love. I know exactly how i want it to taste. Fairly light, rich, moist with a larger crumb, but i can''t create it in a cupcake.
I do however love mudcake, so i am going to try it!!
also, for those of you having trouble with the tops of your cakes. If you are using reg. sized cupcake liners (not minis) don''t overfill the cups. I fill mine less than half-way so that they bake up to  just below the edge of the liners. IMO, this makes the prettiest cuppie b/c the frosting sits n..icely on top and you don''t have to use as much frosting.

i made my fondant toppers for my girlfriend''s wedding shower. I decided on pink onesies and brown monograms (both with a bit of pink and white detailing). I will do chocolate cuppies with pink liners and vanilla cuppies with brown liners -to fit the theme--should be cuteImage

Post by Mara » November 9th, 2009, 7:39 am
i agree, for me vanilla is my most finicky recipe... and even it seems when i make them the same every time every batch almost turns out diff! i find that waiting a few minutes for the batter to 'settle' helps with them not exploding (i have that issue too sometimes, they explode up then flatten out, ugh!) and i get rounder domes when i settle the batter first. plus the drying out so quickly, crazy with vanilla vs other recipes. greg gets to eat a lot more vanilla disasters than any other flavor.

jas...the flavoring can make a huge difference! i actually find that my favorite 'taste' combo is using the TJ's vanilla flavor (it's not extract) along with actual vanilla bean paste. in the frosting i put even more. people love seeing the bean flecks in the paste too.

when i use vanilla extract and paste in the same recipe, it's a little too overpowering for me so the TJ's flavor combined with the paste to me gives the right combo of flavor. i also tried mexican vanilla recently since i saw some bakeries love it but it has a bit too much of a tang flavor to me... i am not a fan of tahitian vanilla in the cupcakes for a similar reason. too flowery somehow?

jas...i almost only make minis now which i think is part of the PITA for the vanilla recipe. somehow the rise is better in regular liners than minis for vanilla in particular. chocolate makes the best looking minis!

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

-Albert Einstein

Post by Jas12 » November 10th, 2009, 5:41 am
mara--only minis you say? Intereting. I almost never do minis b/c i jsut think they are soooo small (maybe it is just my pan)

i haven''t had any trouble with the shape of my vanilla but that is probably b/c i don''t fill mine very high. The amount of cake i end up with is good for one person. I agree that chocolate rises smoother and gets a bit of a dome. My vanillas are flat but that''s okay for me since i like to pipe on a flat surface.

speaking of that, ella needs a domed vanilla--who has a good recipe out there comes out domed ? (mara, she doesn''t have the paste for yours) 

Post by ellaila » November 10th, 2009, 6:20 am
Yep, my vanillas (recipe courtesy of Jas) were nice and poofy when I took them out of the oven, but they deflated and are pretty flat now - even slightly concave! I like the taste of them though, so I may still use them and will just have flat little animal faces (I'm doing the same cuppies taht Tacori did for T's birthday party). BUT if there's a simple solution that anyone knows - more baking powder? add baking soda (there's none in this recipe)? - please clue me in!

Tacori, did you make from scratch or a box? Yours look nice and rounded!


ETA: Oh, and thanks for the recipes, Andi and Mara! I'm going to try the Martha one-bowl chocolate recipe in a few days.

Post by Jas12 » November 10th, 2009, 6:40 am
ella--they deflated a bit--hmmm, weird. Never had that happen. i thought that recipe was fool proofImage But it goes to show how finicky baking is...oven, humidity in the brand of flour, how much you mix etc. all influence the annoying.
I am sure a boxed cake would go domed --from my experience with them they do. And for your needs (kids party) you are probably more concerned with the appearance than the taste right?

Post by ellaila » November 10th, 2009, 6:53 am
Well, also I halved the recipe, which in theory shouldn''t make a difference but it could''ve, right? I really think that baking should be measured in weights instead of measures b/c I was reading about how much of a difference there can be in a cup of flour depending on how you scooped it - it''s pretty significant! So maybe I had too much or too little flour, too? Who knows!

From Smitten Kitchen: I hope you’re sitting down for this. Depending on how you measure a cup of flour, you might end up with as little as 4 ounces and as much as 7 ounces in it, a terrifying thought when using a recipe that demands accuracy. The generally accepted measuring method–and the one you should use for the funny reason that it is the one that the person who wrote your recipe used–is to lightly fluff a canister of flour with a spoon, then scoop the flour into your cup until it is over the top and level it with something flat, trying your very best not to compress it in any way. The most accurate way to measure flour, however, is to weigh it, so if you have a recipe that includes a weight, consider it a plus.

Post by Mara » November 10th, 2009, 7:03 am
if they were risen and deflated that might not be enough baking powder. i swear vanilla is sooo finicky!!! i have had that happen as well to my recipe and i think it''s when i don''t put enough flour and baking powder.

ela if you don''t need to go totally from scratch you could adapt a cake mix and make it taste closer to homemade. you can use a white or a butter cake and then use milk in place of the water, butter in place of the oil, and i usually add one more egg than it calls for. and i also like to add sour cream because it gives it a bit of a diff flavor. and add a lot of vanilla extract (1 tblsp). this would definitely get you domed cakes.

jas...i''ll tell you a secret..haha. most ''mini'' pans are not the right size miniatures. aka they are not the minis you see at the bakeries selling for $2.00. i never could figure out why those were so much bigger than every mini pan i ever saw at the store! and i tried a bunch of them, i had about 8 miniature pans, all were the small small version. well...the williams sonoma miniature pans are the same size as the local cupcake places miniatures. they are bigger than everyone else''s minis. you can buy their liners but i get mine online from some company and they are not the regular mini (super small) liners..they fit the WS pans. it took me months to figure this out, people would always ask if i could make minis like the local cupcake places did. finally i figured it out. WS is the only company whose pans i have ever seen that are the larger miniatures. weird right? i am sure the local cupcake places are not baking thousands of these things with WS pans. so there must be other pans elsewhere in commercial sizes.

anyway since i found the right pans people love the bigger miniatures as it''s less of a committment to a cupcake than a full size. most of my orders (and my personal preference) are for minis. but when i make CHOCO cupcakes for myself, i always make them BIGGIE sized! Image more to love.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

-Albert Einstein

Post by Jas12 » November 11th, 2009, 3:16 am
Ella--my guess would be that b/c you halved the recipe something was lost in translation and there wasn''t enough baking powder to evenly rise them . That recipe doesn''t have a large yeild so i bet it would do okay doubled but not halved...just my hunch.
Mara''s idea about doctoring the cake mix might be a good one. I find mixes more springy and domed. Even if you just replace the oil for butter it''ll be fine. It''s not like mixes are inedible or anything.

Mara-- Ah-ha, that makes SO much more sense Image. In several of your pictures i was trying to figure out why you described them as mini''s but the toppers were not totally overwhelming the surface of the cake.  I think i posted a while ago  asking if there was any such thing as a *medium* sized cuppie tray and from what you describe the WS pan would be what i was thinking of as a medium. My mini''s are so small that they are basically bite sized & although work well with brownies etc. i never make regular cuppies with them. Thanks for the tipImage

Post by Camille » November 12th, 2009, 11:57 am
Nice cupcakes everyone Image

Date: 11/10/2009 11:41:24 AM
Author: Jas12

speaking of that, ella needs a domed vanilla--who has a good recipe out there comes out domed ? (she doesn't have the paste for yours)

Prob late to the party, reg cupcakes filled with 1/4 C batter will always be domed. W/o going into detail, in most facilities there's little room for dairy storage and very little time to measure, so everything is weighed in two bowls, one for liquid one for dry=same product all the time w/the magic tare button Image Here's an APcuppie straight off the top of my head, once the butter is soft, it shouldn't take longer than3 minutes:

In the bowl of the KA, dice up a stick of unsalted butter, add 1/2C Sour Cream [full fat please, you don't need gelatine in your cake] 1 T vanilla  [or: 1 vanilla bean / 3/4t vanilla powder /2t vanilla puree]  2/3 C water and 3 large eggs. Let come to room temp.
Sift over a bowl or a piece of wax paper:
1 C AP flour [4.6oz]
2 C Cake flour [7.8oz]
1 T double acting BPowder
1 1/4 C superfine sugar [8 oz]
1/2 C Dry milk [1.2oz]
1 ts salt

Once the butter feels soft in the KA bowl , sift over all dry ingredients  AGAIN [using a large sieve takes 2 seconds] now start mixing with the paddle attachment on LOW for a couple of seconds [milk absorption] then beat on high for ONE minute, it should look like a fluffy mass just like cake mixes. Do NOT overmix or you'll have a tough cupcake w/giant holes. Fill 22 reg size cupcakes with 1/4C of batter and load on the middle rack of preheated 350° F oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, but ovens vary, start checking at 16 minutes a butter knife should come out clean when inserted in the center, they are blond, 1.6oz @:

DSCF5567.JPG (41.37 KiB) Viewed 159 times

Post by Jas12 » November 13th, 2009, 3:56 am
Camille--those are nice and domed !Image

Post by DandiAndi » November 16th, 2009, 12:22 am
They look perfect Camille
I made vanilla and choc mud cuppies yesterday for a baby girl''s christening. I used my usual vanilla recipe and settled the batter for a bit like you do Mara, and I was amazed at the difference! Nicely domed and not spilling over the edge. Weird! I had a ball making the roses, good relaxation method!
WillowsCuppies 007.jpg
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Post by DandiAndi » November 16th, 2009, 12:26 am
Cruddy picture, but you can see the glitter a bit better. I love cake glitter!! Image
WillowsCuppies 003.jpg
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Post by FL Steph » November 16th, 2009, 2:18 am
Dandi, those are works of art. YUMMY and beautiful!!!

Post by Mara » November 16th, 2009, 4:59 am
dandi i love those roses !!! i took a class but i still can''t make roses very sad. mine look like blobs. or as the teacher said ''peonies'' lol. and yeah funny about vanilla batter working better when settling for a few min, but i notice it for oven batch #2 all the time. maybe for cakes the aeration is good but for cupcakes i dont know, a slightly more dense vanilla seems to work better for me.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

-Albert Einstein

Post by SanDiegoLady » November 17th, 2009, 7:56 am
Date: 11/16/2009 6:26:50 AM
Author: DandiAndi
Cruddy picture, but you can see the glitter a bit better. I love cake glitter!! Image

Gorgeous.. I love cake glitter and had never seen it before this thread..

It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices...
JK Rowling

Post by Jas12 » November 18th, 2009, 4:46 am
Dandi--the glitter and the roses are gorgeous!!!Image

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