Thursday, 30 July 2009

Cream Cheese Frosting

image courtesy of elana's pantry
No cupcake is complete without frosting, and one of the most popular frosting is cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting is versatile and easy to prepare. It's often seen on red velvet cupcakes and carrot cupcakes, and zucchini cupcakes but gives a nice tang to chocolate cupcakes, too!
It's soft and creamy which makes it a fun consistency to decorate cupcakes with. It's easy to swoop and swirl around the top of your cupcakes. Basic cream cheese frosting can be altered with flavoring such as vanilla and maple to add some extra pizazz, but alone it holds a lot of character.

Here's a great recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting from my own personal collection!

8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
12 oz cream cheese
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature. In a mixing bowl, mix butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add cream cheese and mix until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to mix. Finally, add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix until it has a creamy consistency.

You can store this frosting for up to three days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When you are ready to use it simply mix it with an electric mixer until it becomes smooth.

This should give you excellent frosting to top your cupcakes with! If you want to alter it to make it Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, simply add maple extract instead of vanilla. You can also play around with this cream cheese frosting by adding a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon. This will spice things up and tastes great on pumpkin cupcakes (Halloween!) or on apple spice cupcakes. Cream cheese frosting tastes great with most every cupcake though I wouldn't recommend topping off vanilla cupcakes with this frosting.

Though this recipe seems easy, it's still produces a very elegant frosting. The best frosting recipes, in my opinion, are easy to make because frosting shouldn't be too complex. Cream cheese frosting is easy to make, save the complexities for the cupcakes.

Other great ideas for your cream cheese frosting is to add some mini chocolate chips to it. Also, I have before experiment with using whipped heavy cream in place of half of the butter and this yields a delicious whipped cream cheese frosting. You can also add some shredded coconut on top of the cream cheese frosting. Finely chopped up mango also adds to this traditional recipe.

Since cream cheese frosting has cream cheese in it, make sure you store it in the refrigerator and don't leave it out too long. Also, don't leave it in the sun for too long because it will melt and become very messy. Aside from that, have fun! Experiment and enjoy your cupcakes, whatever they may be.

This cream cheese frosting recipe is the last one you will ever need.

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

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

photo credit: Frances Berriman

Cupcake frosting comes in many different flavors but the staples remain vanilla and chocolate. Vanilla buttercream is probably the king of all frosting, but in a close second is chocolate frosting and there's nothing to wet the palate quite like a big bowl of homemade chocolate frosting. Chocolate frosting tops off any cupcake and tastes especially good atop vanilla cupcakes. Decorating chocolate frosting can also be a lot of fun. Generally I use muted and pastel sprinkles with white frosting, but with homemade chocolate frosting I like to use brighter colors: bright blues, yellows, purples, and pinks look especially nice.
Here's a great and easy recipe from my personal collection for homemade chocolate frosting.

Makes enough for around 30 cupcakes.

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
14 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2.5 TBSP milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar

Beat butter until smooth. Add chocolate until combined. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and confectioners sugar and beat until combined on medium speed. Don't over mix!

That recipe should suit your craving for chocolate. It's very rich yet somehow always comes out just right. You can store the homemade chocolate frosting in a sealed container overnight and in a refrigerator for up to a few days. Let it sit until it's room temperature if you're going to store your homemade chocolate frosting in the refrigerator. Sometimes the chocolate frosting will dry out and if that's the case don't be afraid to add some milk and then beat until smooth and creamy. But be careful not to add too much milk, a little milk goes a long way and it's better to have to add more than to add too much.

Another thing to be aware of with homemade chocolate frosting is that it creates an outer shell very quickly. Generally when I make cupcakes with vanilla frosting I frost 24 at a time and then decorate with sprinkles or whatever else I might be using. I've found that anymore than 24 at a time and the frosting forms a thin hard shell on the outside and it loses it's stickiness making it more difficult to decorate. Chocolate frosting forms a shell even quicker and will lose it's stickiness soon after frosting the cupcakes. Of course it depends on how long it takes you to frost the cupcakes, but I usually decorate after 6, sometimes after 12 but 6 to be safe. Chocolate frosting forms a shell quicker because it has chocolate in it which is dryer than butter, which is the main ingredient in vanilla buttercream frosting.

If you want to add a little pizazz to your homemade chocolate frosting, I will suggest a few ways to go about it. You can always add chocolate chips. I find that mini chocolate chips work better than regular ones. You can also make a chocolate frosting swirl. This is simple, all you do is make two separate batches of frosting - one with darker chocolate and one with lighter. Depending on how you frost your cupcakes, the method of making a frosting swirl will differ. The way I do it is with a flat and long metal spatula. I first tap on one chocolate frosting and then in the center I tap on the other chocolate frosting. I then gently press down with the tip of the spatula and flick my wrist a make a swirl! It definitely takes some practice and getting used to, but once you figure it out you'll be making chocolate frosting swirls before I can say "I love cupcakes!".

One last idea for a twist on homemade chocolate frosting before we wrap up. This one is for all you people out there who like chocolate frosting but who also like white frosting (that's me!) Try substituting the chocolate for white chocolate. That way you'll have excellent white chocolate frosting that will pleasantly surprise anyone who takes a bight out of it. You can even make a chocolate frosting and white chocolate frosting swirl.

Enjoy your homemade chocolate frosting and come back for more great cupcake recipes!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Pink Frosting

photo credit: jspad

Lately I have gotten a few requests for a pink frosting recipe. I'm not really sure what is means by pink frosting, but I'll give it a go and give you a few options for topping your cupcakes with the pinkest frosting on this side of the Ecuador.

Pink Frosting Ideas:

If you are making regular buttercream frosting, turning it into pink frosting is a piece of cake (no pun intended). One of the great things about buttercream frosting is an ability to turn it virtually any color you'd like! So, to make pink frosting just add two drops of red food coloring or red food dye into the frosting after the recipe is completely. Mix it in and viola! If you'd like a deeper pink frosting, add another drop or two, and if you'd like a lighter pink frosting start of with just a drop. Easy as pie.

Another option is to add a splash of beet juice to the frosting. This is a great option because red food dye can be hazardous to your health and contains dangerous chemicals. Adding beet juice will also give you pink frosting and I suggest you use this method over the other. You make this pink frosting the same way: by adding a splash of beet juice to the frosting once it is completed. Beet juice can be very strong so be wary.

If you want a fruity pink frosting you have many options. Crushed raspberries create an amazing pink color and I've often used them to color frosting. Adding a handful of crushed raspberries will give you a nice pink frosting and give the flavor a little kick! You could also use cherries for pink frosting. Frozen cherries will add a nice color to the frosting, as well. And last but not least you could make your pink frosting using strawberries. Crushed or cut up, they'll definitely give you the color you want. Strawberries don't run as much as raspberries and cherries, so you'll probably have to use more to get the pink frosting you desire. Any of these will work fine, though.

Creating pink frosting is easy and you could use food dye to create any color frosting you desire, using the same method. For lighter, more pastel frosting use less and for deeper and richer colors use more. It's really simple and gives your cupcakes the pizazz you might be looking for.

Pink frosting is perfect for Valentine's day, bridal showers, baby showers, and birthdays for girls and women alike! No one doesn't like pink frosting and it really does it's job topping off your vanilla cupcakes. I hope your pink frosting is a hit!