Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birthdays and cupcakes

On Saturday, my family celebrated my sweet nephew’s 4th birthday. I can’t believe how fast he is growing up!!! In celebration of his birth, we had a friend party on “The Compound” complete with a bounce house and slide. Yes, I did jump before AND after the party. It was pretty awesome!

The sweets for the party were a community effort. My sister made the cupcakes, my mom made the icing, I piped the icing, and Will put sprinkles on the cupcakes. We like to work together as a team! : ) They turned out to be quite delicious, so I thought I would share.

I was so stressed out last week, and going home to see my family just made everything better. I was only home for one night, but I got to do a little cooking at my mom’s, play outside on the farm in the beautiful sunshine, go to dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, and have lunch with both siblings and their families. It was such a wonderful two days!

I am pretty blessed to have such a great family. My grandparents were married for 62 years, and my parents have been married for nearly 37. I have a great sister and brother, who at times I don’t get along with…but hey, we are siblings after all! I have a brother-in-law who is the smartest person I know, and a sister-in-law who has become one of my best friends. I also have the cutest niece and nephew who I adore, and another one who is on the way. (We find out if it’s a boy or girl today!!!!) You folks should be jealous…because I think my family is pretty darn great!

Anyway…happy cooking! For yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing, this simple recipe is super yummy!

Yellow Cupcakes

1 box of yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Amount of oil on box

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Mix together cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and oil. Beat with an electric mixer until combined.

To fill your cupcake liners either:
1. Spoon batter into a zip-top bag. Snip a ¼ inch corner from the bag and fill paper liners 2/3 full.
2. Use an ice cream scoop. One scoop = one cupcake.

Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool. Yields approximately 24 cupcakes.

Chocolate Icing

3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons evaporated milk

Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl. With a stand or hand mixer, cream butter until smooth. Gradually add in the sugar mixture, alternating with a tablespoon of evaporated milk at a time. Once all ingredients are combined, beat until light and fluffy.

Take a spatula, and test the stiffness of the icing by seeing if a peak forms when you flop it over. (This is very technical.) If too thick, add a tiny bit of more milk. If not thick enough, add more powdered sugar. Most likely it will not be thick enough!

Spoon icing in a piping bag and pipe on top of cupcakes.

To Decorate
For these cupcakes, I used a 1M star tip. I started from the outside of the cupcake, and circled in squeezing the bag lightly, but continuous. It took two full recipes of the icing to ice all 24 cupcakes.

We also added sprinkles to the top of the cupcakes for decoration. We filled a toothpick dispenser with the sprinkles, and let Will shake them over the cupcakes.

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