Saturday, 27 June 2009

Cupcake Cakes

photo courtesy: Bev (sugarbloom cupcakes)

Cupcake Cakes
: What are they? Where do I get them? How do I make them?

Cupcake cakes are probably exactly what you are picturing. It's not a big cake in the shape of a cupcake (yes, that exists too but it isn't what we're talking about). Cupcake cakes are seen most of the times at special events and holidays, namely weddings and sweet sixteens and birthdays. A lot of bakeries also use cupcake cakes to display their cupcakes.

So, in case you still don't know, a cupcake cake is simply many things. Cupcakes placed on a cupcake stand in the shape of a cake can be a cupcake cake. Sometimes there will be a small cake on top of the stand, but more often than not cupcake cakes are really just cupcakes. Cupcake cakes are also cupcakes placed down in the shape of something to create a shape, such as a snake, or numbers.

If you would like to know how to make cupcake cakes, here are some tips that are sure to help you out. As your base for your cupcake cakes, you should always use a cake board, or some kind of cardboard, wrapped in foil. This will make it easier to move your cupcake cakes, otherwise you'll have cupcakes falling all over the place.

Before you begin making your cupcake cakes, it would probably be wise to take a moment and decide what exactly it is you are doing. Map it out. Get a sketch book and sketch! Do the math, take measurements, make sure you have the right tools. While making cupcake cakes isn't brain surgery, it will be a lot easier if you know what you're doing before you do it.

My last piece of advice is to leave the cupcakes in the cupcake liners. While this may seem contradictory to the idea of a cake, your cupcake cake will have better presentation if you leave them in the liners. Also, to keep the cupcakes in place, it helps to put a little dollop of frosting beneath each one. It will make your cupcake cakes stable and magnificent!

With cupcake cakes, there really is no right and wrong way to go about doing things. Get creative and make it your own. As far as frosting the cupcake cakes go, there are many ways to do that, too. First you must decide whether or not you want your cupcake cakes to look like cupcakes, or to look like a cake. I prefer the cupcakes, but whatever floats your boat! The trick to frosting your cupcake cakes is to treat it how you want it to turn out. If you want each individual cupcake to stand out on its own, then decorate each one separately. But if you want the cupcake cake to appear as though it is one cake, treat it as a whole and don't think about each cupcake separately. Again it would be wise to map out the frosting and decorations for your cupcake cakes, especially if you want them to look more like cakes.

You may be wondering what the advantages are to having cupcake cakes over a regular cake. Well, I'll tell you. First of all, cakes are boring. We've seen them before and we want something different! Cupcake cakes are cute and unique and add a nice twist to the celebration. Another advantage of cupcake cakes is portion control. No worrying about cutting pieces of the cake and making sure they're the right size. Cupcakes are a no hassle kind of dessert.

So sit back and enjoy your cupcake cakes and come back soon for more recipes and cupcake ideas!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes

photo credit:

If you're looking for a good old cupcake, the kind of cupcake that brings you back to childhood, the kind that just can't go wrong, you're looking for vanilla cupcakes. These delicious cupcake treats are the most traditional you can get. Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting are extremely loved and can be found in pretty much any cupcake bakery you can imagine.
The recipe I am about to give you for vanilla cupcakes is my own personal recipes. I developed it from months of experimentation and studying other cupcake recipes.
These vanilla cupcakes are extremely moist and full of rich vanilla flavors. They are just the right amount of sweet and vanilla and I think you'll find these vanilla cupcakes completelly irresistible. The recipes is so easy to follow and will yield between 2 dozen and 30 vanilla cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups of cake flour
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter
2 cups of sugar
1 heaping TBSP baking powder
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a bowl mix together cake flour, flour, sugar, and baking powder. Make sure these are combined well. With an electric mixer on medium speed, add butter. It will be easier to cut the butter into small squares at room temperature. Don't just add the whole stick.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, yogurt and vanilla extract. Add this to the dry vanilla cupcake ingredients and beat until combined but don't over beat!

With the vanilla cupcakes batter, fill lined cupcake tins until about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes (give or take a few). You will know your vanilla cupcakes are done when you pat on the tops and they spring back up at you. If they sink then the vanilla cupcakes need more time. If this is too confusing, you can always use the old toothpick in the center trick and that should do it.

As far as frosting the vanilla cupcakes goes, I would suggest using the buttercream frosting recipe. Decorate your vanilla cupcakes with colored sprinkles, sugar candies or fruit.

Vanilla cupcakes can be used on any occasion, whether it be your wedding day, a holiday, a birthday, or just for fun! They're great to make with kids and the whole family will really enjoy these treats! If you'd like to make a vanilla cake using the vanilla cupcakes recipe, go right ahead. The recipe works both ways. The vanilla cake will take longer in the oven than the vanilla cupcakes, mind you, so make sure you keep a watchful eye on it if you decide to go that way.

If you'd like to color your vanilla cupcakes for a holiday such as Halloween, the fourth of July or Christmas, just add a few drops of coloring to the wet ingredients before you whisk and you'll have colored vanilla cupcakes in a jiffy.

The great thing about this recipes is that it's so easy to add to. Vanilla cupcakes taste great with chocolate chips, blueberries, etc. If you want a really great treat, when you're vanilla cupcakes are about halfway done in the oven, say 10 minutes or so, you can cut up peach or plum slices and place one on top of each vanilla cupcake. You can also cut up a peach or plum into small pieces and add it to the batter to transform your vanilla cupcakes into peach cupcakes or plum cupcakes!

Experiment! Go Wild! This recipe will fill all of your cupcake needs.

Hope you enjoy your vanilla cupcakes!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Cupcake Stands

photo credit: slimmer jimmer

Cupcake stands are the perfect way to display your cupcakes. Whether you are baking them yourself or buying cupcakes, a cupcake stand is an elegant and fun way to layout your cupcakes.
Cupcake stands come in all sizes, so you can use them for a big event like a wedding, or a smaller event like a birthday.
For a wedding cupcake stand, it is customary to buy a tiered cupcake stand and have the caterer replace cupcakes as they are taken off and eaten. I'm going to review a few different kinds of cupcake stands so you get an idea of differences, where to buy them, and what's appropriate for which occasion.

The most popular brand of cupcake stands is Wilton. The Wilton cupcake stand comes in many different sizes and styles. The variety that Wilton offers is one of the reasons that their cupcake stands are so popular. The Wilton cupcake stand is also extremely durable. They're very good quality and are sure to last you a long time. A lot of the Wilton cupcake stands are very simple, thus very versatile. You can find an excellent selection of their cupcake stands on amazon, and in stores throughout the US and in Canada.

There are a few brands that make cupcake stands made out of Styrofoam. I would strongly urge you not to buy one of these. Not only is styrofoam a flimsy and ugly material that might not hold your cupcakes if they are heavy, it is also extremely unsustainable and bad for mother earth. We can definitely stay away from these cupcake stands. Brands include Bakery Crafts and Deco.

If you are not satisfied by a Wilton cupcake stand, I would recommend you try out Pronto, which has a great selection as does NexTag. You can also try out a Good Cook cupcake stand. They are very sturdy and made extremely well to last you a long time. They cost around the same as a Wilton, so it really comes down to a matter of taste. They also make a cupcake stand that will collapse to allow for easy storage and that is extremely handy!

Cupcake stands come in a few different materials. Most commonly you will see Glass, plastic, wire, and styrofoam. Occasionally you will find a porcelain or ceramic cupcake stand. The best material for a cupcake stand, in my opinion, is glass. It's so easy to clean cupcake crumbs and dried frosting off of a glass cupcake stand and it's a versatile yet decorative material. Styrofoam comes in last place. A lot of people buy wire cupcake stands and these are very attractive, but I do have a few issues with them. They're not easy to clean and occasionally, if you buy a cheap one, it might start rusting and you wouldn't want a rusty cupcake stand.

Most good quality cupcake stands will run you anywere between $15-$70. The price varies depending mostly on the brand and the amount of cupcakes the cupcake stand holds. Anything under $10 is probably not resuable and poor quality so I would suggest going with something that will last. If you have a tiered cake stand and don't want to buy a cupcake stand, you can definitely use a tiered cake stand to display your cupcakes. You can always find the perfect cupcake stand for any occasion, whether it's the 4th of July, your 40th Birthday, or just for fun.

Good luck finding the cupcake stand that is right for you and come back soon for all of your cupcake recipe needs!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Buttercream Frosting

photo credit: cupcakequeen @

There are a limitless variety of cupcake frosting but the most popular and versatile is buttercream frosting. This goes excellent with any kind of cupcake, including vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, and red velvet cupcakes. Buttercream frosting is traditionally made with two main ingredients: butter and powdered sugar. These are mixed together to make a rich, sweet, and creamy frosting.

Here is my buttercream frosting recipe, which will be a wonderful frosting to top off your cupcakes with.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough frosting for about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
6-8 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1. 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).
2. Add 4 cups of the sugar, the milk and vanilla and on low speed mix until combined.
3.Add two more cups of sugar and on low speed mix until light and fluffy. If you need to, add the remaining two cups of powdered sugar.

Tips: When mixing together the buttercream frosting ingredients, be aware that powdered sugar is very light and will get into the air. You will know this is happening because when you breathe in you will feel and taste a sweetness in your breath. To avoid this, place a clean dish towel over the mixing bowl.

There 'ya go! Buttercream frosting made perfect for your cupcakes.

Buttercream frosting comes in a lot of different flavors, the most common is vanilla, which I have given you the frosting recipe for. It's also often seen in chocolate buttercream and occasionally in other flavors such as almond or peppermint. To get almond or peppermint buttercream frosting, simply replace the vanilla extract with almond or peppermint extract and alter according to your taste.

How to Care for your Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream frosting can be left at room temperature without melting. Do not leave your buttercream frosting in the sun. The best way to store it is in an airtight container. If you want to store your buttercream frosting for a few days, you can put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and take it out a few hours before you plan to frost your cupcakes so it will defrost and soften up and make the buttercream frosting more spreadable. You can speed up this process by beating it. After you put your buttercream frosting on your cupcakes, the frosting will harden on the outside, so if you are going to decorate the buttercream frosting with sprinkles or other candies, I would advise you to do so immediately after putting it on your cupcakes. Buttercream frosting will form a hard shell in a matter of minutes (sometimes even quicker).

Good luck and come back soon for more frosting recipes and cupcake recipes!