Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes


When the FaceBook friend I asked to make Carter’s birthday cake emailed 5 days before the party to let me know that Swine Flu had made its way to her house, my first reaction was concern, as she is pregnant and has 2 little guys at home that could be sick. Not shortly thereafter though, I went into panic. I already had a long list of items to accomplish before the party, and had not planned on baking a cake being one of them. When I got myself back together, I decided cupcakes were the perfect fix. I dyed them pumpkin orange and topped with green frosting to go with the theme of the party. They turned out great, and I’m looking forward to finding out other ways I can “theme” these go-to cupcakes.

 


 

 

Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes
(makes 36)

This was Martha Stewart’s recipe, and we really liked it. It wasn’t too sweet and had a great texture.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low.
  4. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla.
  5. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  6. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(makes about 9 cups, enough for about 28 cupcakes)

Another Martha Stewart recipe

Note: This is a little time intensive, I think it took almost an hour start to finish, but the result it worth it. Also, I added additional sugar, as I thought the result was a little too buttery for my tastes. This addition is reflected in the recipe below. Also, I think this recipe makes enough for way more than 28 cupcakes. I frosted all 48 of the cupcakes for this project, and still have about 1/3 of the batch leftover.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Gel icing colors

Directions:

  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and add in powdered sugar to taste. Continue to beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets for about 5 minutes.
  5. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  6. To color, mix in gel icing tints until you achieve the desired shade, keeping in mind color will darken slightly as it sets.
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