Showing posts with label icing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label icing. 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.

* * *

For more July Fourth party ideas, 
check out my latest Coffeehouse
Mystery Newsletter.

(There are some fun giveaways, too!)

To read the newsletter, simply send a "Sign me up"
email to CoffeehouseMystery(at)gmail(dot)com

A reply will be sent automatically
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Cleo Coyle's Blue Velvet Cupcakes
with Blue Buttercream Frosting

Makes about 16 cupcakes


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

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Our newest mystery is now

a bestselling hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

A Mystery Guild Selection
A Baker & Taylor Fall "Trends" Pick
Three "Best of Year" Reviewer Lists

Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes!

See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
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Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Billionaire Icing Recipe, #BookGiveaway and a Cozy Tour of New York City via Cleo Coyle #NYC #Coffee

We're celebrating with our readers this week!

Our 13th Coffeehouse Mystery, Billionaire Blend, a bestseller in hardcover, is now on sale in its mass market paperback edition, and we hope you enjoy the book. 

As most of our readers know, Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym I use for the long-running Coffeehouse Mystery series, and my partner in crime-writing is my husband, Marc.

We both invite you to join us on...

A Cozy Tour of New York City!

You'll not only visit some favorite landmarks (of the city and our series), you'll have a chance to win
a lovely prize package of...

* Premium coffee (actor Hugh Jackman’s favorite), 

* Gimme Coffee latte cup (made in Italy), and...

* Signed copy of Billionaire Blend in its new paperback format.

To go on our tour with us
at the "Escape with Dollycas" blog, 

As for today’s recipe, it’s an easy one, inspired by a spirited ingredient...

Cleo's "Billionaire"

For a long time, Baileys Irish Cream was far from trendy. It was tasty, sure, but something "Granddad" poured into his morning coffee. Not so any longer. 

This wonderful product made with aged Irish Whiskey and real Irish cream (from real Irish cows) has made a delicious comeback.

The array of flavors Baileys now comes in makes a simple buttercream frosting recipe (like the one I use below) even more versatile. Here are the possible flavors to get your culinary (and cocktail-making) motor in gear...

Baileys Original * Mint Chocolate 
Crème Caramel * Coffee * Hazelnut 
Biscotti * Orange * Truffle 
Vanilla * Cinnamon * Chocolate

Why do I call today's icing recipe "Billionaire" buttercream? Because it makes plain old cakes, cupcakes, and cookies taste like a billion bucks. (And, yes, it also happened to be one of many bonus recipes from Billionaire Blend.)

If you're short on time, use a simple yellow cake mix, but whip up this icing from scratch. The icing brings the party and the flavor. And the flavor is a delight. 

Makes about 2 cups of icing,
enough to frost a two‑layer cake 
or 24 cupcakes


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions: Using an electric mixer, cream softened butter. Add Irish Cream, vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat until sugar is dissolved. Scrape down bowl, add 2nd cup of sugar, and beat again. Add final cup of sugar, and beat until smooth. If icing is stiff, add a bit more Irish Cream, beat again. Store in an airtight plastic container in your refrigerator. Or frost your cakes, cupcakes, or cookies, and....

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.


The hardcover
bestseller is now in

*Starred Review ~ Kirkus
"Top Pick" ~ RT Book Reviews
"A highly satisfying mystery" - PW

Billionaire Blend
A Coffeehouse Mystery

This culinary murder mystery features
more than 30 delicious recipes, including
secret "off the menu" coffee drinks.
Read (and eat) with joy!


The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
amateur sleuth murder mysteries set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

Download a Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)
click here.

To sign up for my newsletter,
write an e-mail that says
"Sign me up" and send it to this address...


This will also enter you in my weekly
Free Coffee Drawings. Every week, I give away
a package of premium coffee to a subscriber.

Good luck!