Tea Time

Our church hosted a Ladies Tea the other day and I supplied the dessert! Originally I wanted to do a cake with a teapot and teacups and such, but it just wasn't going to happen this time, so I decided to go simple and do cupcakes. Normally I stay away from cupcakes because I am not a fan of the monotony of making them. I like variety and the thought of making 6 dozen cupcakes all the same bores me, but the thought of making 6 dozen cupcakes all different scares me!  I have heard it said that in the cake world, you are either a cupcake person or a cake person. I think you can add cookies to that list too. I am a cake person. I like making cakes and doing designs on the grander scale. However, I will admit that I did actually enjoy making these cupcakes.

Since I needed to make 6 dozen, I figured that I could easily make three different flavors since one cake batch usually makes 24 cupcakes. So I decided on three: Chocolate with a caramel icing, Vanilla with a Raspberry filling and Almond Buttercream, and an Orange Creamcicle with an Italian Meringue.

This is the chocolate cupcake with the caramel icing.
This is the vanilla cake with raspberry filling and almond buttercream.
This was my favorite, an orange cake with a creamy orange Italian meringue buttercream.   

Want to try my favorite? Here is the recipe!

Orange Creamcicle Cupcakes

(adapted from a recipe by Cake Central member m_willford)
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted vanilla ice cream 
1/2 cup orange soda 

2-3 Tbsp orange zest

Pre heat your oven to 350*F.  Beat the butter until creamy and fluffy. Add the sugar and cream for a good 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Do not cheat, I promise it will matter! Dump in the oranges, and mix for a good while. The longer you mix, the smaller the orange pieces will be.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix your melted ice cream, orange zest, and the orange soda. Add both mixtures alternately into to egg/sugar stuff while mixing. Don't over mix this part.

Scoop into cupcake liners, about 3/4's full.

Just before you put the cupcakes in, reduce the oven temperature to 325*F and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you are going to bake another batch, be sure to let the oven warm back up to 350*F before reducing the temp and putting in the next batch, otherwise the cupcakes will overflow. 

Let them cool completely, and if you want you can cover them and let them sit for a few hours.

The Frosting

This frosting is a good old-fashioned Italian Meringue Buttercream. I promise this is one you want to try! And don't panic, it will come together.

1 cup corn syrup
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large eggs)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1 lb butter, room temperature 

1/4 cup vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet
1/4 cup orange sode

Place corn syrup in a pan, heavy bottomed is preferable, but if not then just keep a close eye on it. Turn it onto about medium.

Dump the egg whites into your mixing bowl. Beat on medium until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Increase the speed to high and add the sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. This should only take a minute or two.

By this time your corn syrup may or not have bubbles, turn it up higher and let it come to a boil. Once it has come to a good, steady boil with decent sized bubbles, let it boil for about 1 minute. If your pan doesn't have a pouring spout, you might want to transfer the syrup to a glass measuring cup (but I hate making extra dishes, and I can pour well enough from my pans).

With the mixer running, pour the syrup in a thin, steady stream into the meringue (this is what cooks the eggs and makes them okay to eat). Try not to get it on the beaters or you will start making cotton candy! Keep beating until the mixture has cooled, body temperature is fine.

Once it's cooled, add your butter, 1 tbsp at a time. It may lose volume, that's fine. If your butter was too cold, then it will start to curdle. Don't panic! Just keep beating and it will magically turn into frosting, right when you aren't looking! I promise. It may take a few minutes.

Once it has magically turned into frosting, add 1/4 cup of frozen sherbet, a little at a time. Then I added about 1/4 of orange soda and beat that in. I started with 2 Tbsp, and just kept tasting it and adding more until it had a flavor I liked.

One important thing to note. This frosting can be kept in the fridge, but be sure it comes back to room temperature or it will separate. If it does separate, don't panic, just let it warm up and then beat it again until it comes back into a frosting form.

If you have any problems or questions, just let me know.
Happy Baking!

Spring Flower!

I am a little behind in getting this post up, but I made this super cute sunflower cake for our Easter celebration last weekend. I love how easy it was to make and how cute it came out.

To make the sides, I just used a tip 12, and piped dots that I squished off to one side with the tip. The center was done with a leaf tip, 352.  

Then my kids helped me stick the peeps on to for the pedals of the flower! So easy.  Later I went back in and piped some yellowish dots between the peeps because I didn't like the look of the brown or green showing between the peeps and I think it gave the flower a more full look. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing my spring flower! Stay tuned for more sweets to come! 

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Sacramento, California, United States
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