Sooo, I know it’s been a while since I last posted. In my defense, that’s because it’s been a long time since I baked a cupcake, or even turned on my oven. Lately my microwave has been seeing the most action in the kitchen, warming up takeout leftovers. We’ve been very bad about cooking at home since we came back from My Amy’s wedding in Key West (which was a blast by the way!). Anywho, I’m trying to get back into my cupcaking and since I have a luncheon tomorrow, I figured now was as good a time as any to bake!
Usually, when I bake for a meeting, I’ve had an idea in my head for a while and I buy the ingredients specifically for that recipe the week before I’m going to bake. Have I mentioned that I don’t test bake my recipes? I don’t have the patience for that shizzo. Some recipes are more successful than others. Most of the time, I just tweak things as I go! This time, I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what cupcakes I would bake. But I always have cake mix and frosting in the house. And a while ago, I came across this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste, but I didn’t really know what to do with it having never used vanilla bean before. Anyway, I started Googling and came across several recipes that sounded good but I really didn’t want to bake these cupcakes from scratch today. I had a box of white cake mix in the pantry and it recommended adding some lemonade (from concentrate, thawed) to the mix. While I have lemonade in the freezer, I’d made lemon cupcakes a few months ago so I didn’t want to do that. But I also had Passion Fruit Punch in the freezer and that sounded good! And so Passion Fruit Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Passion Fruit Buttercream Frosting were born!
I wish I could say that after baking and frosting cupcakes for years I have a solid technique for frosting cupcakes. Sadly, I do not. Most of my cupcakes look like I was three sheets to the wind when I frosted them. I only wish I had that excuse! Nope, I just suck at piping frosting onto cupcakes! See photographic evidence below. One of these days, I’ll spend some time watching videos or (gasp!) take a class to learn how to do that, until then, use the manners your grandmother whipped into you with her wooden spoon (no? Was that just my grandmother? Crap.) and smile and nod politely or shovel a wobbly frosted cupcake into your mouth and say “mmmmm” so that I don’t feel quite so bad about the cupcakes that don’t look as pretty as the rest! Mmmkay? Thanks!
- Don’t over mix your batter. Y’all probably already know that, but it’s definitely a lesson I learned the hard way. Over mixing doesn’t really change how your cupcake will taste, but it changes the texture of the cake and, more importantly, it’s the difference between a typically rounded cupcake and a cupcake that totally sinks in the middle as it cools. You can cover that up with frosting of course, but it’s so much lovelier when you don’t have to cover up your mistakes, amiright?
- Did you know that softened butter does not mean ‘about to melt all over the place’? Because I surely did not. To get it to the right softened consistency for frosting, just set it out on the counter an hour or two before you are going to use it (assuming your kitchen isn’t super duper hot or in hell or something). Don’t try to rush it by nuking it in the microwave a little. Just put it out on the counter, maybe cover it in a dish or something (I’m reminded of an episode of King of Queens here, Wes knows which one, sooooo damn funny. It’s called Inn-Escapable, Google it, freakin’ hilarious!)
- Sift that powdered sugar before you whip it into frosting. Gets all those clumpy little bits out and gives you a nice, smooth consistency.
- I like to refrigerate the frosting for a few minutes before I put it into the piping bag, stiffens up the frosting a bit and makes it easier to pipe, even for a drunken piper like me!
- Sprinkles cover a multitude of sins! If your piping is hella bad, cover those cupcakes in sprinkles!
Passion Fruit Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Passion Fruit Buttercream Frosting Recipe:
Either use your fave vanilla scratch-made recipe or pick up a box mix like I did. I followed the instructions mostly with the following modifications:
- 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup passion fruit punch (from concentrate, thawed), 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 whole eggs. Mix on low to incorporate, then on medium for 2 minutes (seriously, not more than that). Fill cupcake liners (24) 2/3 full, bake at 350 degrees for 17-19 minutes (mine were 17 minutes in a gas oven)
- 3 and 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, 3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk (but I used the passion fruit juice instead)
- Whip the butter on medium for 8 minutes (whaaaaat? 8?? Yes, 8. The butter will be super light and creamy and pale yellow when finished).
- Then add in remaining ingredients, but start the mixer VERY slowly lest you powdered sugar your kitchen (this isn’t TV, you have to clean that mess up yourself if you make it)! Once fully incorporated, mix on medium for 6 minutes. Scrape the sides of the mixer occasionally.
- Refrigerate until cupcakes have cooled, load up your piping bag, and pipe away!
I keep my cupcakes refrigerated until ready to serve. Less chance of your frosting melting all over everything that way. Plus, I just think cold cake tastes better.
And here are the drunken ones…
Questions, suggestions, requests? Comment below! Thanks y’all!