Ever wonder how some people can make their cupcakes turn out so pretty? The trick is to pipe the icing onto your cupcakes instead of just frosting it on with a butter knife.
Piped icing makes cupcakes taller, more elegant, and in my opinion more tempting. It’s not overly difficult to learn to work with a piping bag…Yes you do it with a little practice!
One stumbling block in learning to pipe is that it can be messy to get the icing from the bowl into the bag. That is why I am going to show you how to avoid the frustration of getting the icing all over your hands, tools and counter.
This easy tutorial will start you out with a solid foundation for your icing adventures. Neat freaks—this lesson is for you!
What You’ll Need
1. A bowl of fresh room temperature icing. In this example, we’re using vanilla meringue buttercream.
2. A reusable piping bag. I like to use Ateco bags , but what you’re looking for is a sturdy bag that’s fairly large so you don’t have to refill it too many times while you are working. If you only plan to make small batches, then a smaller bag will do just fine.
3. A large piping tip. For this example I’m using an open star tip.
4. A rubber spatula.
5. A plastic bowl scraper that has a straight edge…and your secret weapon.
6. A tall glass or mug. A glass that’s about this shape.
Let’s get started!
Drop your tip down into the piping bag, small side down. Notice I am not using a plastic coupler here - it’s not really necessary unless you’re going to be switching the tip a lot with the same icing in the bag. I just use lots of bags, usually one per flavor.
Take your newly tipped bag and put it into your tall glass or mug. Putting the bag in a mug or glass just makes it easier if you are new to the experience. Fold the top edges of the bag down around the outside of the glass, about halfway down. Congratulations, you are ready to fill your bag with that delicious icing you just made (or bought…I won’t tell)! Once you are more comfortable with the process, you can fold the bag over one hand and fill it with the other.
Above, you can see the no-glass method.
Grab your trusty spatula and start transferring icing into the bag. Don’t worry if you get icing on the edges. You turned it inside out for a reason. You will be filling it about halfway, which will allow you enough control of what you are piping, plus give you something to hold onto at the top.
Once you’ve filled the bag up to the edge of the glass, or maybe just a little higher, lift the bag up by the edges and gently shake everything down toward the tip. Satisfying, right?
Take the flat edge of your bowl scraper and push any remaining icing down.
Grasp the top of the bag and give it a twist or two to make the icing snug and cozy inside.
Holding the bag as pictured, squeeze a little icing back into your bowl to get rid of any air pockets.
You now have a perfectly filled icing bag that is ready to begin decorating delicious cupcakes!
Baked Alaska is a layered dessert consisting of cake, ice cream and sweet meringue, so it wasn’t terribly difficult to translate into cupcake form. To begin, you’ll need a “naked” cupcake - no wrappers! They’d catch fire, and we certainly don’t want burning paper on our delicious treat.
You have two options to obtain your “naked” cupcakes: 1.) Bake cupcakes without liners in a greased and floured cupcake pan. 2.) For easy clean-up, use your least cutesy cupcake papers and just peel them away before you begin assembling the cakes. I’m all for the latter - one less pan to wash. Inexpensive parchment paper liners will do just fine.
To make the blue-flame magic happen, turn down the lights and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of warmed brandy over each meringue-coated cupcake. Ignite with a grill lighter or a long fireplace match.
Flaming Baked Alaska Cupcakes:
Yield: 10-12 cupcakes&
Use your favorite cupcake recipe, or the Basic Vanilla Cupcake recipe (below)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
2 cups of your favorite ice cream for filling cupcakes
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
2. Gradually beat in the sugar until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Transfer half the meringue to a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
3. Preheat oven to hottest setting (this is usually broil).
4. Remove the cupcakes from freezer. Set each cupcake on their own small plate, and then set the plates on one or two large baking sheets. Immediately pipe meringue swirl on top of the cupcakes, covering/enveloping the ice cream completely. Use an off-set spatula to coat the lower part of the cupcakes with meringue.
5. Place cupcakes under broiler until meringue is lightly browned - be sure to give this step your undivided attention! Remove from the oven and present to guests. Gently pour 2 tbsp. brandy over each cupcake. Ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match and let burn until the flame subsides
6. When the flames die down, serve immediately.
Note: As a safety precaution, keep cupcakes on the metal baking sheet until flame subsides.
* This recipe can be found in one of my favorite cookbooks:
I love decorating cupcakes more than cakes because if you mess one up you just eat it and hide the evidence instead of crying because you have wrecked the entire cake. So these cute gridiron cupcakes are right up my alley. It doesn’t hurt that the footballs are made out of chocolate covered almonds!
You can check out the recipe for these Championship Chocolate cupcakes and a tutorial on how to decorate them over at Cakewalker.
If you’re craving towering tiers and buttercream, this staggering confection is proof that you can serve cupcakes without sacrificing those classic-cake moments. Inspired by tradition, this vanilla cake is fresh, fun, and meant for sharing.
As much as I love American fudge frosting, nothing beats the decadent, indulgent taste and texture of chocolate ganache. Made of pure chocolate and heavy cream, ganache is a chocolate lovers best friend. It’s versatility as a glaze, decorative piping, and whipped cream answers the need for icing, frosting, and filling.
Below I have pictured 3 different ways to adorn cupcakes using the same recipe. As a glaze, you can easily pour ganache over cakes for a nice smooth finish.
If you are looking for a chocolate whipped filling, look no further. Just whip the ganache as you would heavy cream, making sure your mixing bowl and beater are nice and cold. And whatever you do, not put your ganache in the freezer with the hopes of whipping it. It will not whip and have a curdly like texture.
For a thick frosting or decorative piping, allow the ganache to cool for a truffle like texture.
Anyway you decide to eat it, this ganache will satisfy your sweet tooth and chocolate cravings.
Below are step by step photos to guide you. Enjoy!
- 12 ounces chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- optional 3 tablespoons flavored liqueor
Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Allow ganache to cool before pouring over cakes as a glaze.
The longer you allow the ganache to cool, the thicker it will set. Typically I stick mine in the refrigerator so it is slightly cold before whipping.
For piping or frosting, allow the ganache to completely cool and set up. When you are able to spoon the ganache and it can hold its texture, it is ready for piping.
I think this might be my new favorite cupcake. The cupcake itself came out very chocolaty & moist but not too pudding like. The peanut butter added just the right amount of saltiness & had the great stick to the roof of your mouth feel.
These would be great treats to serve at a bridal shower or your next party
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/4 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
6 T water
1 c sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 t vanilla
1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 12 muffin cups by lining with paper or greasing.
Melt butter in a large heavy sauce pan over med-low heat. Whisk in cocoa. Add water & whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, egg, yogurt and vanilla. Stir flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt together then sift into cocoa mixture. Whisk until just combined. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool.
Fill a pastry bag with the peanut butter & fit it with a star tip. Stick the tip into the top of a cupcake, pushing it about 3/4 inch deep (I found the perfect depth was the length of the tip). Gently squeeze the pastry bag to fill the cupcake, withdrawing it slowly as you squeeze. Scrape any excess peanut butter from the top of the cupcake. Fill all the cupcakes.
Perfect Chocolate Frosting.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
- 2/3 cup dutch processes cocoa
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
About 2 cups frosting.
Top each cupcake with a star of peanut butter.
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- Optional - Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Cook’s Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip. Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.
* Recipe Credit: Paula Deen
Today I want to introduce to you a very special lady named Cheryl, the owner of Savvy Treats.
Savvy Treats is a specialty cake and cupcake business that delivers to the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia metropolitan area.
Cheryl’s love for cooking began at a very early age. She credits her Italian grandmother for teaching her the fine art of baking delicious desserts. For many years Cheryl spent her career as an executive but realized her true passion was baking.
Last year she decided to follow her dream and started Savvy Treats by offering her favorite Carrot Cake. Which was a huge success!
Her famous Carrot and German Chocolate cakes were so popular she quickly expanded her business to include breads and cupcakes in many flavors…Red Velvet, Vanilla Bean, German Chocolate and more.
Cupcakes are available in both regular and mini sizes.
Salty Carmel Peanut Butter Blossom Vanilla Bean
Savvy Treats can cater your next large or small event from Weddings to Mitzvah’s and Sweet 16 parties and everything in between.
You can contact Cheryl for special orders at 202-422-5173.
Or Visit her website www.savvytreats.com
Anything that comes close to the experience of eating a Dairy Queen chocolate-dipped ice cream cone immediately has my attention!
These cupcakes have an added flavor bonus reminiscent of Reese’s: peanut butter.
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Peanut Butter Buttercream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter,
cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Coating
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with 10 cupcake cups.
2. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In larger bowl combine sugar, buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Spoon batter into cupcake cups, dividing evenly.
4. Bake 25 minutes or until center is just set. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to wire rack. Cool completely.
5. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream frosting. Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of electric stand mixer.
6. Set bowl over pan of simmering water. Gently whisk until mixture registers 160 degrees F on instant-read thermometer.
7. Immediately transfer bowl to electric stand mixer. With whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until mixture resembles consistency of shaving cream.
8. On medium speed, add butter one piece at a time, until combined and creamy.
9. Whip in peanut butter and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
10. Transfer buttercream to pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip.
11. Pipe 1/3 cup frosting onto each cupcake. Chill cupcakes in refrigerator until buttercream is completely firm, about 1 hour.
12. Once the cupcakes have chilled, make the chocolate coating. Place oil and chocolate in a medium bowl and melt over a pan of gently simmering water.
13. Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large coffee mug.
14. Holding cupcake by the bottom, carefully dip into the chocolate. Be sure to submerge all of the buttercream.
15. Pull up and hold for a few seconds to let excess chocolate drip off. Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with remaining cupcakes.
16. Before serving, let cupcakes rest a few minutes so chocolate can set.
Yield: 10 cupcakes.
*Photo & Recipe Credit : Martha Stewart Living
Make party favors in a snap with this super simple idea
You’ve gotta love those dollar stores! If you’ve never been to one, consider yourself warned. You will come out of there with all kinds of stuff you never dreamed you needed. (And probably don’t.) Why? Because it only costs $1.00!
For example, I bought several packets of these adorable mini Chinese take-out boxes. Eight boxes, with handles, for $1.00! I’ve found all kinds of uses for them. They make great little take-home treats for party guests.
Here’s all you do. Make (or buy) mini cupcakes. Stuff boxes with a little paper shred, tuck in a cupcake, close the lid, and tie up with pretty ribbon. You could also add little name tags and use them for place cards.
Chocolate Mint Oreo Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)
For the cake:
1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 small box (3.9oz) Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
24 Cool Mint Oreos
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- Place one Cool Mint Oreo in the bottom of each cupcake liner.
- In medium bowl combine cake mix, chocolate pudding, vegetable oil, milk and eggs.
- Beat with electric mixer until incorporated and then continue mixing 1-2 minutes.
- Scoop batter over top of Oreos in cupcake liner.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
- Once cupcakes are completely cool frost with Crushed Oreo Mint Frosting.
For the icing:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp mint extract
green food coloring
12 Cool Mint Oreos, crushed
- In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and vegetable shortening until creamy.
- Gradually add in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
- Add milk 1 Tbsp at a time as needed until reach desired consistency.
- Add mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring to tint to desired color.
- Mix in crushed Oreos.
- Place icing in piping bag and snip off tip to create a large hole. Swirl icing on top of cupcakes.
- Garnish cupcakes with 1 Cool Mint Oreo cookie on top if desired.
Go pour yourself a tall glass of milk and enjoy a Chocolate Mint Oreo Cupcake!
Recipe & Photo Credit: www.thecakeblog.com