Vanilla Almond Buttercream Frosting

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Vanilla Almond Buttercream

This weekend I wanted to play a little with baking a cake and decorating it since it has been a while since I’ve made and decorated one. I decided upon a vanilla cake, baked it, then the big decision was what kind of frosting I would use. I prefer buttercream, but it doesn’t set up as well as the frostings I’ve made with shortening. I really don’t like the frostings made with just shortenings, so I decided to do a mixture. The recipe was inspired by the recipe I found on I Am Baker‘s website.

To make the buttercream, you will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening (I realized I put in a whole stick when I only needed half, but it still turned out pretty well with the whole stick)
1 two pound bag of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup milk (I used Vanilla Silk Milk)

Directions:
1. Put the butter, shortening, vanilla extract, and almond extract in the mixer and cream together about 30 seconds.
2. Dump the entire bag of powdered sugar in, along with the milk. Mix until creamy and desired texture. You can add more milk if you’d like your frosting to be thinner.
3. Enjoy!

I kept my frosting a bit stiffer since I knew I’d be decorating the cake using rosettes.

Vanilla Almond

Baking love,
Heather

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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Up Close Detail with words

Over the weekend, I met up with my friend Beryl (after her superhero adventures) to bake some gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. I’m taking her Momtographie Online class (which is awesome!) and she wanted to get some video footage baking with a friend for one of the lessons. I was happy to be the friend to help her out with this!

We decided on a Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcake from Cupcakes Take the Cake with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life.

To make the cupcakes, I followed the recipe from Cupcakes Take the Cake, but made a couple of changes. Here is exactly what I did!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Position rack in center of oven. Place cupcake baking liners in a 12-cupcake baking pan (this recipe really makes the perfect amount for 12 regular sized cupcakes). In a medium sized bowl, stir flour blend, salt, baking powder, and guar gum until mixed. Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed for one minute. Make sure your mixer is on stir and add the bowl of dry ingredients slowly until mixed. Continue on stir and add oil, vanilla soy milk (I really think this made a huge difference in the vanilla flavor) and vanilla until ingredients are mixed well; beat at medium speed for one minute (the batter will be pretty runny). Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in center of oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until center springs back when touched and cupcakes are very lightly browned. Cool on rack for five minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan onto rack and cool completely before icing.

DSC_0198

To make the frosting, I did the following:

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (your finger should be able to push into the stick, but the butter should NOT be melted!!)
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. With your mixer on stir, add 3 cups of powdered sugar slowly until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream while still on stir (so they do not splash) and then beat everything for 3 minutes at medium speed. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add more sugar (I would add 1/2 cup at a time until it is the consistency you’d like). If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to your liking.

At first, I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough frosting for the cupcakes because it didn’t look like much, but it turned out to be way too much for the 12 cupcakes!

Once everything was ready, Beryl and I decorated the cupcakes using some store bought flowers, roses I had made, and sprinkles. What was really great about the whole experience was that since we were making the video for Beryl’s photography class, I got some one-on-one time with Beryl to ask questions about my camera and take some great pictures of our freshly made cupcakes! Here are some of the pictures that I took while learning!
Rose Up

Rose Over

Up Close Detail

Rose Details

And all of the cupcakes together…minus the few we ate before we took the pictures!
All Cupcakes

These cupcakes turned out to be so delicious, none of us (my husband wanted to taste-test too) could tell that they were gluten-free! Like I said before, I think the vanilla soy milk made all the difference! The big test for these cupcakes was how they tasted the next day…and Beryl let me know that they were still moist and delicious two days after we made them!

It was such a fun day of baking, decorating, and photographing with a great friend!
Baking love,
Heather

Baby Shower Cupcakes!

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Finished Cupcakes with words

A good friend is due in April and her baby shower was this weekend. Her sister asked if I would make a little something sweet for everyone and I was happy to do so!

To make the cupcakes, I used a recipe my sister suggested at Glorious Treats‘ website. To make the cupcakes, I followed the recipe exactly. One thing that was a little worrisome was how thin the batter is after putting in the boiling water. This is what mine looked like:

Batter

I used the advice to pour the batter into the cupcake holders using a measuring cup, which worked out very nicely, with the exception that they weren’t as uniform in size as I like. It was hard to determine how much to put in while pouring!

In Oven

The recipe says the batter will be thin and they will turn out fine…and it was right!

Baked

To make the buttercream, I used the recipe found at Savory Sweet Life‘s website. This buttercream was delicious and I highly recommend the recipe!!

To color the icing, I used Wilton’s copper coloring. I actually put WAY too much in the frosting and it turned out a completely orange color. I ended up making another batch of buttercream and added half of it to what I already made, but lightened the color enough to make it more of a peach skin color.

I colored the remaining frosting with black Wilton coloring and I had to use quite a bit to get it to the color it was. It still had a purple-y feel to it, but it was harder to tell in the small quantity that was actually on the cupcakes. I used Wilton tip #3 to pipe on the hair, eyes, and nose.

For the cheeks, I used raspberry flavored pink M & M’s, which were totally a happy accident I came across while at the grocery store. The pacifiers were Wilton’s candy pacifiers, which I found on Amazon.

Finished Cupcakes

These cupcakes were so fun to make and everyone seemed to love them!

At Shower

Baking love!
Heather

Super Bowl Fun!

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Football cupcakes

This Sunday we had a few friends over to watch the Super Bowl and, of course, I took this as an opportunity to bake! First, I made vanilla cupcakes from a recipe I found at Everyday Occasions website. The cupcakes were quite delicious!! I also made the buttercream from the recipe on the same website, which was pretty tasty, but it was a bit too thin to make the grass on the cupcakes. I tried to make it a bit thicker by adding more powdered sugar, but it just didn’t work out! It all just ended up blobbing together in a melty kind of way, which still looked cute, but not quite the effect I was going for!

For the football on top, I used a chocolate buttercream recipe which can be found at Savory Sweet Life‘s website. Let me tell you, this frosting was DELICIOUS!!! It also came out a bit too thin and, when I added extra powdered sugar, it turned to a perfect consistency to pipe the footballs on the cupcakes.

These were fun to make and everyone seemed to enjoy them!

Football cupcake

Since we were having people over, I decided to also make a trifle which I found on Pinterest and linked to indulgy.com‘s website.

Cookie Trifle 2

To make the trifle:
1. Crush a whole package Oreos.
2. Cream together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix 2 small boxes vanilla pudding and 3 cups COLD milk. Chill until set.
4. Fold 12 oz thawed Cool Whip with the set pudding.
5. Add the cream cheese mixture.
6. Layer in a trifle bowl, starting and ending with the Oreo’s.
7. Chill until ready to serve…then be ready to be addicted to this deliciousness!!

This trifle was definitely the hit dessert of the party!

Cookie Trifle

Baking love!
Heather