Showing posts with label buttercream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buttercream. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Red, White, and BLUE VELVET CUPCAKES for July Fourth from Cleo Coyle





Like red velvet cake, blue velvet cake carries a wonderful hint of cocoa. This recipe makes a beautiful cake (or cupcakes) for birthday parties, for baby and wedding showers, for school and sports teams with blue colors, or even, yes...a Doctor Who Wedding Cake!

Laine Barash, a longtime reader of our Coffeehouse Mysteries, sent me these photos after using my Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe for her daughter Johanna's big day.... 




Doctor Who Wedding Cake Slice
Design and Photo by Laine Barash


Doctor Who Wedding Cake
Design and Photo by Laine Barash



With July Fourth almost here, I'm sharing this recipe again as a fun dessert idea for Independence Day celebrations.

There are many ways to add the "red" and "white" to the Blue Velvet bakery concept. You can ice half of the blue cupcakes with blue icing, for instance; half with red icing; and use white star sprinkles to decorate the tops of all of them. 


Or, if you're really ambitious, you can make a batch of red velvet cupcakes, a batch of white cupcakes, and a batch of these blue babies. Then you can line them all up on a tray or dessert table to resemble an American Flag. 


Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

I confess I didn't bake and photograph those ideas for this post because I'm working hard with my husband (and partner in crime-writing) to complete our next Coffeehouse Mystery. BUT...

If I did have the time, I can tell you it would have been a fun project. So however you use this recipe, I sincerely hope you have a Happy Fourth...

May you eat with red-white-and-blue velvet joy!


~ Cleo Coyle 


To download this recipe
in a PDF document that you
can print, save, or share,
click here



Click Here for the
Free Recipe PDF.



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Cleo Coyle's Blue Velvet Cupcakes
with Blue Buttercream Frosting


Makes about 16 cupcakes

Ingredients 

1 box of white or vanilla cake mix (with pudding in the mix)

4 teaspoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use canola) 

3 eggs (lightly beaten with a fork) 

1 cup whole milk + ¼ cup whole milk (add separately) 

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1-2 teaspoons Royal Blue food coloring gel or paste 

      (also called Icing Color) 

*Important Note on the food coloring: Because of the brown cocoa powder in this recipe, your cupcakes will end up turquoise in color (or even greenish) instead of blue if you use the wrong kind of food coloring or the wrong amount. To get the beautiful shade of blue in my photos, be sure you do two things: (1) Do not use water-based food coloring such as McCormick’s brand. Use a gel paste coloring. I used Wilton Royal Blue Icing Color gel paste. Michael’s stores carry it in their baking supplies section, but you can also buy it online; click here to see. (2) My other piece of advice is to use enough of the food coloring. Don’t skimp. Start with 1 full teaspoon, at least. You may need up to another full teaspoon to see your batter turn the shade of blue you like best. (Some bakers add a very small amount of violet gel paste to help achieve a deep, royal blue. Give that a try, if you like, but I did achieve a pretty blue color using only blue gel paste.) 




For the Cupcakes

Step 1: First preheat your oven to 325° F. Place the vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup line with whole milk. Set aside for five minutes.

Step 2: Into a large mixing bowl, combine the box of cake mix, cocoa powder, vegetable or canola oil, and eggs. Add the sour milk from Step 1 and an additional ¼ cup whole milk. Beat with an electric mixer for about a minute until a smooth batter forms. (Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you mix.)

Step 3: Measure out 1 teaspoon of the royal blue gel paste and add it to the batter. Mix well and observe the color. You may need to add up to 1 more teaspoon of gel paste to achieve the depth of blue you want.

Step 4: Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Take out the ¼ cup container in your measuring set. Use it to measure out the batter for each cupcake. This will keep the size consistent.

Bake in your preheated 325° F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes (exact time depends on your oven). Cupcakes are done when the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a test cupcake comes out free of wet batter. Transfer pans to a cooling rack and allow the cupcakes to cool in their pans at least five minutes before removing.

Buttercream Icing

10 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered or icing sugar)

3 tablespoons whole milk (+ maybe a little extra)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Royal Blue food coloring gel paste (also called Icing Color)

Notes for success: Canned icing doesn’t come close to comparing to the wonderful taste of homemade buttercream. It’s easy to make. Just be sure to: (A) Start with softened butter. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to cream it. (B) When adding milk start with the lowest amount possible and add it in very slowly until you achieve a smooth, spreadable icing. If you throw in a large amount of milk, you will end up with watery frosting—at that point, even if you whip more butter into it, the frosting may remain grainy. (Ask me how I know.)

Step 1: Into a mixing bowl, cut the softened butter into pieces. Measure in the vanilla. Using an electric mixer, cream these ingredients until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer.

Step 2: Add in the confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk. (No more!) Beat until the sugar is completely incorporated. If the frosting is still too thick, add in a very small splash of milk and beat again. Add in more milk this way, a little at a time, until you get a smooth consistency that’s easy to spread on your cupcake tops. (Try a test frosting of one cupcake to be sure.)

Step 3: Finally, add a small amount of gel paste coloring to the frosting and beat it again. Add more gel paste to achieve the exact shade of blue that you’d like. My method of adding the gel paste is pretty basic—I dip the tines of a fork into the bottle to scoop out the gel and roughly mix it into the frosting before beating again. Frost your cupcakes and eat with blue velvet joy.







Happy July Fourth, Everyone!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The History of Cupcakes

When I started writing the Cupcake
Bakery Mystery Series,
I happily
immersed myself in all
things cupcake.
In fact, I’ve been
haunting my local cupcake bakeries,
Lulu’s and Sprinkles, all in the
name of research and inspiration
of course, and I’ve playing with my
own recipes until I get them just right.
It’s been just brutal, as I’m sure you
can tell from the photo below.


These are my very own
Tinkerbell Cupcakes (a lemon
cake with a raspberry
buttercream icing)! You can
find the recipe on my website
which is listed below.

While writing, one of the things
I became curious about was the
history of the cupcake. Where did these little beauties come from?
Who was the clever cook who thought them up?

There are a variety of answers. The cupcake, as it has come to be known,
was originally called a “number cake” as a mnemonic device to remember
the ingredients: One cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour,
four eggs, one cup of milk, and one spoonful of soda. These cakes were cooked
in actual cups, including teacups, allowing for more even baking than large
cakes in the hearth ovens of old. Another source for the name cupcake comes
from the fact that this was the first time ingredients were measured by the
cup instead of being weighed, which saved enormous amounts of time in the
kitchen.
By the turn of the 20th century, gem pans, like the cast iron one pictured
here, became readily available. Designed for breads and muffins called “gems”
these pans were useful for cupcakes and developed over time much like the
cupcake itself into the cupcake tins we know today.


Because I find ingredients so

interesting, I’ve included a few

historic cupcake recipes that I


(a fascinating site)!



[1796]
"A light Cake to bake in small cups. Half a pound sugar, half a pound butter,
rubbed into two pounds flour, one glass wine, one do. [glass] Rosewater, two
do.[glass]Emptins,
a nutmeg, cinnamon and currants."
---American
Cookery, Amelia Simmons, 2nd edition (p. 48)

[1828]
"Cup cake.
5 eggs.
Two large tea-cups full of molasses.
The same of brown sugar, rolled fine.
The same of fresh butter.
One cup of rich milk.
Five cups of flour, sifted.
Half a cup of powdered allspice and cloves.
Half a cup of ginger.

Cut up the butter in the milk, and warm them slightly. Warm also the molasses, and stir it into the milk and butter: then stir in, gradually, the sugar, and set it away to get cool. Beat the eggs very light, and stir them into the mixture alternately with the flour. Add the ginger and other spice, and stir the whole very hard. Butter small tins, nearly fill them with the mixture, and bake the cakes in a moderate oven."
---Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, By a Lady of Philadelphia [Eliza Leslie](p. 61)

[1833]
"Cup cake. Cup cake is about as good as pound cake, and is cheaper. One cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs, well beat together, and baked in pans or cups. Bake twenty minutes, and no more."
---American Frugal Housewife, Mrs. Child (p. 71)


There’s my short history on the cupcake. Join me next Wednesday when I talk about my
misadventures while trying to bake a mug cake in the microwave!

Jenn McKinlay
SPRNKLE WITH MURDER -- Berkley Prime Crime -- March 2010
For more recipes and information visit:
http://www.jennmckinlay.com/