Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Little Cuteness for Halloween

So, I love Halloween. Not the ghoulish and gross and part, but the cutesy, yes cutesy side of it. The pumpkin carving, the vibrant shades of orange, yellow and gold, the adding of pumpkin to every recipe you can think of, kids coming to the door and asking for treats and keeping Jack O' Lanterns lit on the porch. The list could go on forever, but I will stop there. You get the idea. In honor of Halloween I made cupcakes. I never buy cake mixes. I just prefer not to use them. Occasionally, it is necessary and usually quite enjoyable. Still, I have always preferred starting from scratch. So, I made a basic chocolate cake recipe that amazingly enough made exactly 24 cupcakes and lovely and very even 2 dozen. The icing was the hard part for me. I love icing, especially cupcake icing. There is nothing like the simple perfection of perfect cupcake icing. Too often, however, the cupcake icing that you end up with tastes too much like shortening, has that "greasy" texture, coats your mouth with that film that is so hard to wash out, or it is just far to sweet! Typically I opt for a icing recipe that requires no shortening. I prefer butter in that instance. Though, butter can sometimes overwhelm too. I researched icing recipes for a good bit and came up with the following:

Vanilla Buttercream 
Makes enough frosting for 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
9 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
In an electric mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment or if you don't have an electric mixing bowl use a large bowl and an electric mixer, mix the butter until smooth and creamy (a few minutes).
Add 4 cups of the sugar, the milk and vanilla and on low speed mix until combined.
Add two more cups of sugar and on low speed mix until light and fluffy. Gradually add remaining sugar.
The icing came out to the perfect texture and sweetness. You may feel that the icing is not quite thick enough at first, but just give it a few precious minutes, and it will stiffen just enough to be considered perfect. However, don't wait for the icing to stiffen before piping it or spreading it onto the cupcakes that have been screaming "ice me, ice me and make me moist!" since they came out of the oven.
I bought 2 packages of the Wilton candy pumpkins and some black sugar sprinkles for the final effect.
Happy Halloween!

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