The Cupcake Thread!

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Post by mrssalvo » March 18th, 2008, 1:10 pm
Date: 3/18/2008 6:31:11 PM
Author: Mara
mrs salvo...do you use regular sugar for the frosting because every recipe i have seen uses confectioners sugar. i didn't know you could use regular sugar.




yes, regular sugar. it is actually the only cake recipe i have that doesn't use confectioners. it's fabulous thoughImage


oh and Linda...no baby yet...counting down the days though...




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A deal is only a deal if you are getting exactly what you want.

Post by mrssalvo » March 18th, 2008, 1:13 pm
Date: 3/18/2008 6:08:15 PM
Author: TravelingGal
Image SOO not cool to post this in front of a pregnant woman! Now I NEED cupcakes.


.



ha. i hear ya...i''m going to have to make some cupcakes now too...




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A deal is only a deal if you are getting exactly what you want.

Post by FrekeChild » March 18th, 2008, 1:19 pm
Date: 3/18/2008 6:31:11 PM
Author: Mara
mrs salvo...do you use regular sugar for the frosting because every recipe i have seen uses confectioners sugar. i didn't know you could use regular sugar.

i have the hardest time getting my frosting stiff enough to pipe super well because i hate how sweet it gets with all the sugars you have to add. i am not a fan of buttercream frosting for that reason. i made an amazing whipped buttercream last time which had heavy cream and buttercream combined and it was great...much less sickly sweet. but a few of the blog gals swear by something called swiss merengue buttercream which is basically you start with an egg white merengue whipped til stiff and then add in the buttercream elements. supposedly good for piping but not super sweet. i might try it when i feel egg-white brave...mine never get quite to be as fab as i want

You can also make a Italian Buttercream, I find it easier to make than the Swiss because it's awfully easy to have scrambled sugary egg whites over your bain marie. But of course you'll need a stand mixer for an Italian Meringue because it'd be dangerous (hot sugar splashing all over and pouring hot sugar with one hand while mixing with the other!) and kind of scary. The awesome thing is that you can totally let it whip forever once the butter is in there, and once it reaches it's maximum volume it doesn't go back down. Also, once you've made it once successfully, you feel comfortable making it again and again because it's pretty easy. The negative is that you can't put this frosting in the fridge because of the butter, it becomes relatively hard when it's cold. Room temp and it's perfect. When it's room temp it's perfect for piping. Also, it's kind of scary in general to make because you work so hard to make a lovely fluffy meringue and then when you throw the butter in it, it totally deflates, but it's supposed to do that!

I'd post a recipe, but all of the ones I have are for commercial use and have only weight measures and not volume.

I won't use anything but Italian Buttercream.

Did you miss the Italian/Swiss buttercream debate over in BWW? Gypsy was having issues with finding a baker that used something besides sickly sweet American buttercream (shortening and confectioners sugar), but luckily I was able to steer her in the right direction.
Image

And now I want cupcakes....must stick to diet...Image

We don't have any good cupcake places around here. I'd have to make my own, and I'm being lazy so that's not going to happen.Image

I have too much knowledge about dang buttercream. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.
_______________________________

"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

Post by sk8rjen » March 18th, 2008, 1:34 pm
i love cupcakes, but i LOVE decorating cakes, so i just thought i''d share my most recent ones...

Donovan loves pac-man...and doesn''t care if it''s a bit lopsided (fun with new unlevel oven)...
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Post by neatfreak » March 18th, 2008, 1:38 pm
Freke: I totally agree about the Italian buttercream. Much better than the American version IMO.

Post by sk8rjen » March 18th, 2008, 1:39 pm
and Gabe loves the video game "Katamari Damacy" (basically a big ball rolls around and picks stuff up...people, flowers, pets, cows, bikes, cars, etc....) this one was fun...
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Post by neatfreak » March 18th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Mara: Most heated/cooked frostings use regular sugar because the heating "melts" it and allows the sugar to incorporate well without producing chunky sugar bits in the frosting.

Post by Mara » March 18th, 2008, 2:03 pm
interesting re: regular sugar!!! totally never knew that.

super cute cakes, sk8r.

freke, can you put ingredients for italian buttercream in here? i can probably google it and find a good recipe from one of the thousand hundred cupcake bloggers out there...and get the measurements. i guess that the swiss merengue also deflates when you add the butter but yeah as the recipes say, it''s supposed to. i''d probably freak if i didn''t know that.

i liked this last version of the whipped buttercream but it wasn''t thick enough. also one of the gals gave me a tip to use butter extract as well to cut the sugar taste. but yeah i''d rather just try some other method to get what i want, stiffer frosting but less sickly sweet. yum!!

one of my pet peeves is that when people post the pictures of their stuff they post this huge recipe, all these tips but don''t say how they decorated the cupcake or what tip they used. as a novice i have no idea what tip does what to cupcakes. luckily for me all the gals are so nice, they totally respond to all my inane icing tip questions...hah!
________________________________

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

-Albert Einstein

Post by neatfreak » March 18th, 2008, 2:20 pm
Here is what I love, I think it is a Martha recipe:

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
6 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 lbs butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and let boil 3-5 minute until sugar dissolves, uncover and continue boiling until syrup reaches 238° on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.
3. When syrup reaches 240 degrees pour 1/4 cup of syrup into egg white mixture. With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add rest of syrup slowly and beat for 8-12 min., or till cool, so butter will not melt.
4. In seperate bowl cream butter. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla and Grand Marnier. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth, may still be too warm. Use Immediately!

ETA: This is Italian Buttercream and you can omit the Grand Marnier if you want.

Post by Kaleigh » March 18th, 2008, 2:22 pm
Oh this thread is making me want a cupcake sooooo badly!!  Who knew cupcakes were so diverse and so popular.  There are cupcake blogs??  Now that''s interesting.  We have a small bakery here that makes amazing cupcakes. Wish they''d make mini''s, would think they''d sell well.  Mara you should open up a small shop some day.   Have you ever had a cupcake from Sprinkles?  I know they are in CA but not sure if there is one near you? 
Piece of cake and a candle *** NG gift***

Post by hlmr » March 18th, 2008, 2:41 pm
Mara, I will take the flattened, slightly deformed, frosted one hiding in the back, please. Image


"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel Boorstin

Post by Eva17 » March 18th, 2008, 3:25 pm
mrs S, on the red velvet, you said 1/2 butter. do you mean half stick?

if i missed it somehwhere, sorry, i didn''t read all the posts....

Post by FrekeChild » March 18th, 2008, 6:39 pm
Mara-basically what neatfreak put up. My recipes are all super basic (so I can play with flavors as I want to!Image) but these are the basic ingredients:

sugar+water
egg whites
butter

cream of tartar, salt, vanilla or other extracts are just to add a little somethin'' somethin'' extra. You know?

Cream of tartar really doesn''t do much for me, it''s supposed to stabilize the meringue, but from all of my experimentation, unless you''re using it as a meringue and it needs to stay fluffy and meringue-y it''s pretty unnecessary. My trick for helping to stabilize meringue would be to add a couple pinches of sugar-not from the recipe itself to the egg whites as they are whipping, but not until it''s got some decent bubbles and no liquid egg whites splooshing around. Image

Salt-nothing ever suffers from having salt added.

vanilla-same as salt

liqueurs of various flavors- gotta be careful with these-they deflate the meringue too, but since it''s added after the butter, it doesn''t matter all that much. However the big thing with these is to not add too much, because it can screw up the emulsion of the butter and egg whites.

Having said all that, Italian buttercream is really really resilient. If you refrigerate it and it hardens up, you can use a gas burner to help melt it down a tiny bit. Usually this causes it to separate (egg whites from butter)-BUT you can throw it on a mixer and let it get whipped for a while to bring it back to its regular consistency. Also, if you do need to refrigerate a cake or cupcake that has this frosting on it, you should probably let it sit out for about an hour before serving so it has the chance to warm back up. Of course, if you have a cake that''s in the fridge that''s covered in buttercream you have to be super careful bringing it back to room temp because the buttercream will "sweat" and have droplets of moisture on the very outside. The key to preventing THAT is to place plastic wrap flat on the surface and not take it off until it''s up to room temp. Of course, you could also just blot the moisture off with a paper towel too.

Hee hee hee, I love Italian Buttercream! Brings back great memories of several classes in culinary school. Like "Basic and Classical Cakes"...

The key to making Italian Buttercream is to pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl, so that it leaves a stream, and to pour at the right speed. I''ve had classmates who poured it too fast and had hot sugar sprayed in their faces from the whip (from pouring it into the middle of the bowl instead of down the side) and have then have sugary scrambled egg whites from pouring it too fast.

Also. It''s best to either add room temp butter to room temp (no longer steaming) egg whites or refrigerator cold butter to hot egg whites. However, there is a lot of butter to add and towards the end the egg whites cool and it''s hard to add cold butter to that. So I''ll usually have 3/4 of the cold butter added to the hot mixture and nuke the rest of the butter in the microwave for 5-10 seconds until it''s slightly soft, but not melty.



Gah. Too much info is trying to come out! Feel free to ask questions. I''m going to go play video games. Maybe even Cooking Mama!

Psst...Mara! Can you send over one of those cupcakes?

What diet?
_______________________________

"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

Post by diamondfan » March 18th, 2008, 6:43 pm
Miss Lorelei, I would love that recipe too!

Do you put wine in it? Duh...
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"There is no such thing as fun for the whole family-there are no massage parlors with ice cream and free jewelry" Jerry Seinfeld

Post by Skippy » March 18th, 2008, 6:46 pm
Caroline, I bet Lorelei, has a great carrotcake recipe somewhere. heheheImageImageImage

Jen (sk8rjen),cute kids, love their red hair and those cakes are amazing!!!  Great job!

Cute pictures everyone!Image 

FrekeC, have you tried the cupcakes there on Louisiana and Menaul (I think it is called Cake Fetish)?  Also at the Grove near downtown on Central?  Both are good.
Skippy




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Post by FrekeChild » March 18th, 2008, 6:59 pm
Skippy!

I have tried Cake Fetish-it was ok, but for my picky tastes, the cake was a little dry. Perhaps it had something to do with having a half an Oreo in the middle of it. Lol. Other than that I had no complaints (besides the lack of Italian Buttercream of course!). Where abouts is the Grove?

Right by my place at Indian School and Carlisle they just opened up Cupcakeology about a month or two ago, but I haven''t been there yet. I need to go check it out, so I can tell you if it''s good or not.Image

I made my best friend go with me to J. Edwards with the promise that we could go to Cake Fetish afterwards, and when we got there, they were out of cupcakes. She was NOT HAPPY with me. Oops.Image
_______________________________

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Post by Hera » March 18th, 2008, 8:36 pm
hmmmmm....cupcakes......I just saw on the Sprinkles website that they''re opening a location in San Diego.Image.  

Post by icekid » March 19th, 2008, 2:56 am
Seriously... I am not even a cake person and I generally dislike frosting, except in verrry small amounts.  Too sweet!  and you have me looking for places to find great cupcakes in Philly, Mara!  Stop!  hehe.  Really, the ones you made yourself are adorable.  I love to bake, and I did get a mini-silicone pan at my wedding shower.  Hmm, may have to give this cupcake thang a try.  I especially love the decorating part.  For me, it''s equally important that they LOOK good.  I always make the prettiest Christmas cookies.  I''ll have to find someone to pawn off most of the cupcakes on first though, can''t have too many hanging around the house Image 

Post by mrssalvo » March 19th, 2008, 3:06 am
Date: 3/18/2008 9:25:59 PM
Author: Eva17
mrs S, on the red velvet, you said 1/2 butter. do you mean half stick?



it''s 1/2 cup...there is a 1 lb of butter in this recipeImage

here''s a revised version with the corrected info:

Here''s the Red Velvet Cake Recipe:
pre-heat oven to 350

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (room temp butter)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. Red food coloring
2 oz. water
1 tbsp cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups of flour

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and blend well. Make a paste of the cocoa and food and add to the butter mixture. add flour & salt. then addd buttermild, vanilla, water, soda and blend well. stir in vinegar. Bake 350 20-30 min, let cool. (i use 3 of the small cake pans)

Frosting:

6 tbsps. flour
1/2 cups of butter (room temp. butter)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar (regular sugar)
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla

Mix flour and milk over low heat until thickened. stir constantly till cool.
Cream sugar, butter and vanilla until fluffy. add to above mixture and beat well for 10 minutes. No cheating on the 10 minute thing, i promise it will mess up the frosting.

* make sure butter is room temperature. do not melt it in the microwave etc. it will make for a very runny frosting.





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A deal is only a deal if you are getting exactly what you want.

Post by Octavia » March 19th, 2008, 3:50 am
Frekechild, I wonder if you can help me with something. I tried to make buttercream frosting after the thread in BWW got me in the mood, but I think either I just can't cook, or my candy thermometer is crazy. It didn't budge for ages, and then all the sudden it shot up past soft-ball stage and the sugar was carmelized by the time I got it off the stove. I ended up with caramel buttercream, which was actually tasty but not what I was originally going for.

My question is, though, do you know why my thermometer acted up like that? Is it normal? How far up the thermometer stem does the syrup have to come in order to get an accurate reading (I made a half-batch, so there wasn't that much sugar syrup)? I'm supposed to be making cupcakes for a bake sale next week and I'd love to put yummy buttercream on them but my ego is a bit deflated after the last try Image

ETA: If anyone has suggestions for cupcake and frosting flavor combos, I'm all ears! Nothing too complicated, but something adult-friendly (it's at my law school) and more creative than vanilla and chocolate would be great.

Post by Mara » March 19th, 2008, 4:47 am
question for the bakers in the group here...

what makes a cake more fluffy and light? less flour, more egg whites? i am just guessing here...but my chocolate sour cream cupcakes were amazing but so incredibly thick and dense. everyone liked them but what do the boxed cake mixes have in them that make the cakes so fluffy with little holes all over the inside of the cake when you tear it open? along the same lines, what makes it crumbly when you tear it open vs stuck together like more dense.

also, when i bake, i automatically tend to reduce the butter and sugar that recipes call for. i have not noticed any sort of diff in taste but i serously cannot put in like 2 sticks of butter for cupcakes. if it calls for 2 sticks i typically put 1 stick and then maybe some yogurt or more buttermilk or something. don't ask me why i put more yogurt or buttermilk, it just seems like a good sub (but probably not cuz butter is more like an oil) and if it says 2c sugar i put like 1.5. not a huge difference but unless i'm making butter or sugar cookies or something i figure that with all the other ingredients that most of the time that won't make a diff taste wise.

what do the bakers think? i actually am really curious if adapting the recipe in small amounts like that affects the consistency of the cupcake. it tastes good. the other reason i figured this was okay is that i noticed so many recipes are different. like looking for a chocolate one, one might have NO butter and another one has 2 sticks. and i think well if most of the other ingredients are the SAME and there's no oil in the no butter one why am i putting 2 sticks of butter in the other one?? so then i start to think well is it really necessary. anyway just curious, bakers!!

kaleigh, some of the cupcakeries around here actually do sell minis. a total rip though, its like 24 for $40!!! and they are so tiny and easy to make, like a regular 24 cupcake recipe makes like 100 minis!

icekid, i totally bake and take...i leave a few things here for greg because otherwise he's like ummm wheres the benefit for ME hehe...but typically i bake and take to work or to our neighbors or whatever. but seriously i need WAY more guinea pigs! my parents don't really eat cupakes so i can't take any to them. and my coworkers can only eat so much, i can't be bringing stuff like 3x a week. maybe 1x a week. and my neighbors are just 2 of them and he doesn't really need sweets. i am like who else can i bring cupcakes to hehe. i need to do more experiments!!

octavia, i made some great Kahlua cupcakes this wkd, super easy, make a dark chocolate batter, add kahlua before ladling into cups. and then for frosting, whip up some heavy cream til it's thick in a stand mixer, add confectioners sugar, and then add kahlua and 1/4c cocoa, whip into a frenzy (but not too long or it will turn to butter) and then frost. they were widely received favorably. yummy. oh and for buttercream, the one i typically make (easiest) is just butter, confectioners sugar, a tiny bit of milk, and whatever extract you want for flavor.

freke, oreo cupcakes are on my radar to try, they sound so yummy....i dont know about the whole oreo in the middle though, that seems like it'd be irritating to deal with hehee. another one i want to try is PB chocolate cupcakes. mmmm.
________________________________

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

-Albert Einstein

Post by Lorelei » March 19th, 2008, 4:54 am
Mara, I think it is a combination of things which can affect cake consistency and texture.  Some homemade chocolate cakes can tend to be heavy, sometimes a little extra raising agent can help.  But when making cakes with the traditional method, this way has served me well for years.

Always measure out ingredients as accurately as possible, as this greatly increases the chance of success!

When creaming the butter and sugar, keep at it until the butter/ sugar mix turns pale before you start adding the eggs.  Beat the eggs thoroughly before adding very gradually to the butter/ sugar mix.  This prevents curdling which can happen if you add the eggs too rapidly ( the mix turns scrambled egg like) and this can make the finished cake heavy in texture.  When adding the eggs, start off a little at a time and beat well before the next addition.

Lastly, when the egg has been incorporated, mix in the sifted flour very carefully to avoid knocking out the air in the mix.  Hope this helps!
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Post by Mara » March 19th, 2008, 5:42 am
lorelei...i think some recipes are just meant to be dense...and i think that those are the ones i am using!! like so many ingredients and so rich.... they come out so intense not fluffy (aka one i that i like uses coffee, sour cream, buttermilk, cocoa...in addition to the other stuff).

but i''m curious about the lighter cake mixes, that maybe are just like eggs, butter, sugar, flour...the ''basics''...do they come out lighter??

also some of the more dense ones i use call for alternating the flour with a liquid to combine, so the flour mixture gets mixed a lot. pushing out a lot of the air. so that''s why i''m wondering if the more simple recipes where you mix all liquids then fold in flour slowly is going to yield a more fluffy cake mix.

but then also with fluff you have more option of the cupcakes falling...which i am always so paranoid about. at least with a dense cupcake there''s no fallage hehee.

oh and freke, i also do the 5-10 second nuke in microwave for butter before making buttercream because i can never do room temp the right way, takes too long. 5-10 just softens the butter not melts.
________________________________

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

-Albert Einstein

Post by Lorelei » March 19th, 2008, 6:13 am
Date: 3/19/2008 11:42:41 AM
Author: Mara
lorelei...i think some recipes are just meant to be dense...and i think that those are the ones i am using!! like so many ingredients and so rich.... they come out so intense not fluffy (aka one i that i like uses coffee, sour cream, buttermilk, cocoa...in addition to the other stuff).

but i'm curious about the lighter cake mixes, that maybe are just like eggs, butter, sugar, flour...the 'basics'...do they come out lighter??

also some of the more dense ones i use call for alternating the flour with a liquid to combine, so the flour mixture gets mixed a lot. pushing out a lot of the air. so that's why i'm wondering if the more simple recipes where you mix all liquids then fold in flour slowly is going to yield a more fluffy cake mix.

but then also with fluff you have more option of the cupcakes falling...which i am always so paranoid about. at least with a dense cupcake there's no fallage hehee.

oh and freke, i also do the 5-10 second nuke in microwave for butter before making buttercream because i can never do room temp the right way, takes too long. 5-10 just softens the butter not melts.

A basic sponge mix such as the one above, I have used for donkeys years and that always gives a light, moist and fluffy sponge / cupcake!  One way to do it ( sounds crazy) is to weigh the eggs, then whatever they weigh ( in the shells) use the same amount for fat / butter, sugar and flour ( self rising).  Then follow the basic method of creaming the butter and sugar, add beaten egg gradually, finally fold in flour.  I always prefer to make my cakes using the basic method, as to me it seems wrong to beat flour after being taught in the traditional manner for so long, even if the recipe says to do so! 

I have just made MrsSMITH's red velvet cake in cuppies!  I didn't have buttermilk, so I subbed normal milk, also I used half all purpose flour and half self rising as I wasn't sure which, but the first batch look great and are cooling....Image
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Post by mrssalvo » March 19th, 2008, 6:27 am
ooo lorelei, can''t wait to hear how they turn out. since getting out that recipe i soooo want it NOW. i don''t know how i''ll wait until sunday for it. i might have to find a bakery and at least buy a cupcake today, heck i want one so much i might just buy a betty crocker box and make thoseImage darn pregnancy hormones...




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A deal is only a deal if you are getting exactly what you want.

Post by Lorelei » March 19th, 2008, 6:29 am
Date: 3/19/2008 12:27:00 PM
Author: mrssalvo
ooo lorelei, can't wait to hear how they turn out. since getting out that recipe i soooo want it NOW. i don't know how i'll wait until sunday for it. i might have to find a bakery and at least buy a cupcake today, heck i want one so much i might just buy a betty crocker box and make thoseImage darn pregnancy hormones...

They are out of the oven and look GREAT!  I ate one and it was yummo ( while it was still warm...Image)  So I am waiting for them to cool, then I will do the frosting!  Do you normally use all purpose flour MrsS for the cake batter?  I am thinking to do the frosting in the KitchenAid for the 10 min beating?
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Post by FrekeChild » March 19th, 2008, 6:48 am
Date: 3/19/2008 9:50:49 AM
Author: Octavia
Frekechild, I wonder if you can help me with something. I tried to make buttercream frosting after the thread in BWW got me in the mood, but I think either I just can''t cook, or my candy thermometer is crazy. It didn''t budge for ages, and then all the sudden it shot up past soft-ball stage and the sugar was carmelized by the time I got it off the stove. I ended up with caramel buttercream, which was actually tasty but not what I was originally going for.

My question is, though, do you know why my thermometer acted up like that? Is it normal? How far up the thermometer stem does the syrup have to come in order to get an accurate reading (I made a half-batch, so there wasn''t that much sugar syrup)? I''m supposed to be making cupcakes for a bake sale next week and I''d love to put yummy buttercream on them but my ego is a bit deflated after the last try Image

ETA: If anyone has suggestions for cupcake and frosting flavor combos, I''m all ears! Nothing too complicated, but something adult-friendly (it''s at my law school) and more creative than vanilla and chocolate would be great.

Well...there are so many places I could start, but I''m running short on time because I have to take BF to work. I don''t use candy thermometers except for making candy. I also always put my sugar syrup on medium heat at the highest, and let it go slow. Cooking of any sugar is very difficult on an electric range-I have caramelized my fair share-but I love caramel so it hasn''t been all bad. Image

Also...especially here in New Mexico, but also all around the country, thermometers need to be calibrated everyday you''re baking, which means math is involved, and usually-unless its unavoidable-I''m not. Seriously, the temperature that "soft ball" stage is at, changes by at least a couple degrees everyday. Here in NM it''s usually about 2-5 degrees lower than the thermometer says. But I''ve had days where it was 15. It all depends on the temperature outside, the humidity, etc. It''s really quite the pain in the buttocks.

This is what I do. I do the ol'' drop a drop of the sugar syrup in a cold glass of water and see what it does. Unfortunately this doesn''t always work either, ranging on the temp of the water, and that the syrup is still cooking-so the sugar could be past soft ball by the time you can take it off. So this is what I learned from Chef S. who has been in the business since he was about 12 (he''s originally from Switzerland and did an apprenticeship) and he should be about 85 now...anyway, while the syrup is cooking you have to keep a very close eye on it. There is a point in which the steam almost stops, and the syrup becomes very thick looking, and the bubbles become sluggish and take a longer time to pop-it''s very noticeable if you''re watching it closely- basically at this point it''s about at soft ball stage-but to make sure-and this is Chef S''s way of checking-dip a spoon in the syrup. Get a small amount of syrup on your forefinger and thumb. Press them together quickly a few times-it should be hot and sticky (but the spoon helps cool it down, so it''s not THAT hot) and it should form a thin thread of sugar between your two fingers. At this point-it''s ready and you should take it off the heat immediately.

I recommend trying that at least once (sugar is cheap!) before adding it to the buttercream because it can be a bit scary. Of course, if you take it past the point-not to where it''s caramelized, but still white, you can add water to it, and let it boil down again.

If you want, I can do my method later, and take pics. (Its Spring Break and I''m bored! Wohoo!)

As for cupcake flavors here''s Cake Fetish''s menu: link
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Post by mrssalvo » March 19th, 2008, 7:03 am
Date: 3/19/2008 12:29:14 PM
Author: Lorelei
Date: 3/19/2008 12:27:00 PM

Author: mrssalvo

ooo lorelei, can''t wait to hear how they turn out. since getting out that recipe i soooo want it NOW. i don''t know how i''ll wait until sunday for it. i might have to find a bakery and at least buy a cupcake today, heck i want one so much i might just buy a betty crocker box and make thoseImage darn pregnancy hormones...


They are out of the oven and look GREAT! I ate one and it was yummo ( while it was still warm...Image) So I am waiting for them to cool, then I will do the frosting! Do you normally use all purpose flour MrsS for the cake batter? I am thinking to do the frosting in the KitchenAid for the 10 min beating?


yes, just all purpose flour and a kitchenaid for the beating.




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A deal is only a deal if you are getting exactly what you want.

Post by FrekeChild » March 19th, 2008, 7:06 am
Mara: You should post the recipe you''re using and then whatever changes you make to them, because I''m super curious.

As for a quick explanation on leavening:

Mechanical leavening- this would be putting muscle into making something rise. For example the folding of puff pastry will cause the butter to melt and form steam pockets in the dough which make all those lovely layers. Or whipping air into egg whites for cakes- you''re whipping tiny bubbles into the substance which will expand when heat is added to them-the gluten in the flour allows the bubbles to expand but coagulates just as they reach max expansion-creating those little holes in the cake.

Organic leavening- Yeast. Not a lot of yeast leavened cakes around though.

Chemical leavening- This is whats in baking mixes. Baking soda or baking powder. Now this is where it gets complicated because they are both made of the same key ingredient-Sodium Bicarbonate, but with Baking Powder it has cornstarch added to stabilize it. If you make cookies, and use the same amount of each in two of the exact same recipes-baked for the same time-you get very different results. Baking powder will make the cookie rise and get puffy, where baking soda will make it spread. Baking soda also needs some kind of acid to help it do it''s thing (remember those awesome vinegar/baking soda explosions in elementary/middle school? That''s pretty much what you''re going for-except on a very small scale) so recipes that call for Baking soda should also call for vinegar/lemon juice or cream of tartar (tartaric acid). You can kind of use them interchangeably with only slightly varying results, but you kind of need to know what you''re doing, because you have to reduce the baking soda if the recipe calls for baking powder.

So. Cake Mixes use baking powder or baking soda to get those holes. Cakes that we made at school used mechanical leavening because it''s harder to perfect (damn cakes made me only get a pass on my Baking Practical exam missing a high pass by 1 pointImage).

I hope this helps a little bit-it''s only meant as a little bit of an overview though, not answering any specific questions...
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"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

Post by FrekeChild » March 19th, 2008, 7:30 am
Mara- to answer your questions:

1. It just depends on the recipe. It could be super fluffy egg whites, it could be adding more egg whites, it could be the addition of baking soda or baking powder. For instance my favorite cake to make is pound cake. 1 lb of butter, 1 lb of sugar, 1 lb of eggs and 1 lb of flour. The only leavening in there is beating the h3ll out of the butter and sugar to the point where you can't feel any graininess of the sugar crystals anymore-but it's super dense. With a sponge cake (my nemesis) it'll be getting fluffy egg whites, sifting the flour numerous times, beating egg yolks until they are light in color and fluffier, beating the butter until it's fluffy and light, and then folding gently so as to not knock all the air out and get a dense cake.

The main stabilizers in baked goods are eggs and flour. That is what makes them solid, and something you can pick up and eat. Fats, sugars, liquids, all of those are going to add texture/flavor. It's all a matter of getting the right combination for what you want.

2. I guess I answered this in my "leavening tutorial" (Goodness, I sound like my instructors!Image) but they use plenty of baking soda and baking powder.

3. I have absolutely no problems with you using yogurt or buttermilk to sub for butter. What you should try is to make two half recipes-making one half with the original recipe, and making the other half your way-and see what you like better. Some people sub in half applesauce for half of the fat to make them lower in fat and calories. Basically, all recipes need some fat in them for flavor and texture, but some recipes can be adapted to reducing the fat but using applesauce (or another milk product) as a replacement. This works because it's just adding moisture to the end result. But because butter is a natural preservative, the ones with less fat will go stale quicker.

I have to tell you Mara, for some recipes, I'll put about half of the butter and the other half it calls for with olive oil so I can feel better about it in general. Image

I mentioned in another thread that over winter break I made chocolate chip cookies numerous times looking for a specific result, changing it every time until I got what I wanted- a soft, fluffy almost cakey cookie. But it took a lot of trial and error because I was making them to BFs requirements and it was one huge experiment. But who doesn't love to taste test chocolate chip cookies?!

Seriously, as I read all this stuff, I'm wondering why I'm trying to get my BA in Psych, when all I really want to do is bake. What the heck?
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"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain


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