By Diana Falzone
Tips and tricks on how to create the most delicious confections. Plus, recipes from the experts!
I have an enormous sweet tooth and nothing curbs my sugary cravings better than watching WE tv’s Amazing Wedding Cakes. I’m fascinated by the talent and imagination of the cake designers and wish that I too could whip up a decadent dessert that would wow my friends. So instead of wishing, I decided to be a woman of action.
First, you need to have your basic ingredients. Cupcakes require the same ingredients as your basic yellow or chocolate cake recipes: flour, sugar, shortening, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt and a flavoring of your choice, such as vanilla or melted chocolate.
I spoke with the CakeGirls’ Brenda Maher to come up with the best tips on how to create the perfect homemade cupcake. Brenda’s No. 1 recommendation is to plan ahead. “Prepare things ahead of time if possible like a filling or icing so you don’t have to do it all in one day,” she said. “It can get overwhelming.”
Once you’ve made your batter, be sure to not overfill the tray. Another rule of thumb is to pay careful attention to your cupcakes. After years of honing her craft, Brenda says it is imperative to not over-bake your cupcakes. Remember, cupcakes require less batter than a cake therefore they take much less time to be done. “Set you timer 5 to 7 minutes less than the recipe calls for so you get a chance to check the cupcakes before it is too late and they are ….dun, dun, dun…dry,” she said.
Lauri Ditunno at Cake Alchemy suggests adding decorative wraps to your cupcakes for a bit of extra flair. Cupcake wraps are available on the Internet. Since there are so many yummy cupcake recipes, we decided to share our top favorites. Enjoy and happy cupcake making!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Courtesy of Lauri Ditunno at Cake Alchemy
1/2 # butter
12 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons red food coloring
11 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs and vanilla and food coloring. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions. Add vinegar. Pour the batter into a pastry bag, prepare cupcake pan, fill cupcake cups 2/3 full, this will insure the proper height of cupcakes. Bake for 30 minutes or until springs back to the touch. Let cool on a cooling rack. Invert the cupcakes from the pans.
Cherry Glazed filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Courtesy of The Cupcake Girls
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for muffin tins
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
¼ cup cherry-flavored liqueur
1 cup canned pitted black cherries
Juice from canned pitted black cherries
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
¾ Stick of Butter
16 oz cream cheese
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ cup coca, sifted
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 6-cup (each with a 1-cup capacity) jumbo muffin pans; dust with cocoa powder to coat, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add half the flour mixture, followed by sour cream, ending with remaining flour mixture; mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool in pans, 5 minutes; remove cupcakes and cool, right side up, on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare cherry glaze. Drain cherries. Reserve juice. Pour the cherry juice and liquor in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir through the cherries. Set aside to cool.
While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting. Place the butter and cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6-8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa and beat for a further 6-8 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Using a small melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, discarding crumbs. Spoon cherry filling into the holes of each cupcake. Fill a piping bag with chocolate cream cheese and pipe top of cupcakes.
Diana Falzone is a talk show host, relationship expert, and writer. She is a fashion commentator on, Hollywood Life.com. She can be seen, heard, and read as a relationship expert on various TV networks, radio stations, and websites. For more, click here.