Thursday, July 16, 2009

Devil's Food Cake and Cream Cheese frosting

After watching A LOT of Youtube "how-to" videos and reading up on internet blogs/cooking sites, I got started with my first cupcakes.

Haha! Some success on my first batch made on July 15, 2009.

Ok fine, granted the cake was a box mix, and the frosting came in a plastic container, but they didn't turn out too bad right? They look nice, and actually tasted yumm! There's always a first to everything, and this just seemed like a nice safe way to start, since I didn't want a bad first experience that would deter me from ever doing this again. After all, mom forcing me to eat all those burnt lace cookies I made when I was 16, was what stopped me from ever baking again in the first place.

For the cake mix, I used a box of Betty Crocker's Super Moist Devil's Food Cake with Hershey's Dutch Cocoa.

What many recipes DON'T tell you, is about the baking materials needed. So rather than scrounging around the kitchen while you're trying to put the whole thing together, here is what you'll need for the cake portion:

Cupcake cake Baking Materials:
2 - 12-cup cupcake pans; or one 24-cup pan, or two 24-cup mini cup pans
24 - Cupcake liners; or 50 mini cupcake linkers
1 - Mixing Bowl
1 - Electric blender or hand whisk
1 - Large spoon or a big soup spoon (to scoop the batter into the cupcakes)
1 - Oven (you can't do this in the micro)
1 - Timer

You don't need the ingredients from me, since cake mixes vary in ingredients, so just check the back of the box.

For frosting, some tips I learned:

Make sure you work the frosting a few strokes before applying it on the cupcake. This means, take your spatula/butter knife/applicator, and lightly stir the frosting about 4-8 strokes until it's softer and more pliable. But don't overdo it or your frosting gets a bit droopy and won't keep its shape. Essentially you're warming it up and smoothing it out.

Frosting items needed:
- Small metal spatula, butter knife, or other applicator
- Paper towels
- Pastry bag(s) -- if you plan on using one, I've listed materials below.
- Decorative candy (sprinkles, chocolate espresso beans, M&Ms, etc.)

Frosting with color materials:
- Food coloring (the gelatin kind is MUCH better than the liquid form. Wilton's (brand) has lots of colors)
- Toothpicks - a bunch of these on hand for adding color
- 1-5 Small bowls for mixing colors
- 1-5 Spoons for mixing colors (don't want to contaminate colors)
- 1-5 Pastry bags and materials (see below) - one for each color
- 1 big bowl or pan - to hold all the pastry bags

Materials for a Pastry Bag:
- Small pastry bag -- disposable, or ziploc bags work well here if you plan on using different colors
- Pastry nozzles and couplers -- Small/standard sizes are better for cupcakes and detailed work... Don't use the big/jumbo sized ones, save those for deviled eggs.
- Scissors
- Rubberband
- 1 glass or cup (to help stand and fill the bag)

Video Star Cupcakes!
See Cupcake Video Bar on the right of your browser, or go Youtube and type in StarOctopus.

I filmed my session, and made it into a mini series of how-to videos called "Making Funcee Cupcakes," which covers my entire first cupcake baking experience and mishaps. It's educational as well :) Fun + Fancee = Funcee!

...Oh and if you're lucky, you might spot our kitty Cheech, making biscuits.

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