Saturday, May 23, 2009

Katie's Graduation Cupcakes

'Tis the season of graduations! If you've been out of the house over the recent weeks, you may have noticed that every window display have similar themed displays: grads, graduations, etc. Well, I certainly have my share of commencements to attend this year, with great pride of course. I, myself, graduated last year, which was a bittersweet event simply because it meant that because I was at my own ceremony, I couldnt' be at my friends'. Well, thank goodness for those who took their time. I will get to attend three, count them, 1-2-3! graduations and I will be taking the liberty of providing the desserts for every single one of them.
The first diploma will be granted to Katie, with a Bachelor's in business management. I am particularly proud of Katie because she has accomplished so much for herself. She's able to put herself through school while working two jobs and having a social life. She never let any circumstances hold her back from reaching her goal. She plans to achieve an MBA in the near future and go into marketing.
For her graduation party, I kept the theme of the condiment cups, which I so much enjoy using. The cake was my, now redundant, vanilla buttermilk cake, and a traditional buttercream frosting. I had some candied confetti left over from a previous project and this was the perfect time to break them out. As you can see, I did not need very much of it. I still have plenty left over from the little salsa container it is kept in to be used in the future.
I've been dying to make some kind of flags to label my cupcakes ever since...oh, so long ago. Every time I wanted to make them, I some how ran out of time so only the unadorned guest of honor got to arrive. Not this time! I'd waited long enough to make flags and this time it was going to make its shining debut. I was able to finish them quickly because my sister unobjectively typed up the text and helped me assemble these dainty labels. Like an assembly line, I cut the strips of text and construction paper and passed it along the "conveyer belt" to my sister for gluing around the toothpick. Fifteen minutes later...Ta-da!
You don't actually think I came up with this particular design on my own, do you? Well, you would be correct. Find the instructions below.

The overplayed Vanilla Buttermilk Cake, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or, if you would like to go without the liners, grease the pans with shortening, butter, or non-stick cooking spray

2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition.

4. Fill the cups 2/3 full with the batter.

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Buttercream adapted from Wilton

I actually modified this recipe a little bit. From experience, I feel that the amount of confectioners' sugar makes the buttercream very dry. This time, I wanted to achieve a smooth and soft topping. To adjust for this, I omitted the milk and simply added the sugar one tablespoon at a time. The result was a less concentrated, silky smooth frosting, reminicent of a sweet meringue.

If you've never tried buttercream before, try this recipe excactly and see how you like it.

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

(Medium Consistency)

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

Flags adapted from Une-Deuxsenses

I stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago and I've been following it ever since. The uniqueness of her blog comes from sharing all of her interests on one site.

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