My fear of piping frosting onto a freshly baked cake rivals a toddler's fear of the monster who lives under the bed.
My fear stems from the fact that my piping attempts usually end up looking like the work of that fearful toddler.
I'm feeling optimistic, though, that following the video instruction of Chef Dianne Rossomando, of the Culinary Institute of America, will help me. Watch her step-by-step video here...
Rossomando turns cupcakes into a bouquet of sunflowers, zinnias and chrysanthemums with a pastry bag and a "leaf" piping tip. She even demonstrates a two-tone effect that mimics the look of flowers in the garden.
With 12 cupcakes on which to practice my piping technique, a few are bound to end up looking like flowers, right?
Even if they don't, this "cupcake bouquet" will be a perfect treat for Mother's Day. Mostly because mom will think my creation is beautiful no matter what.
The following recipes were adapted by Rossomando from the cookbook "Baking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America."
Yellow Butter Cake
3 1/2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 cup whole or low-fat milk (divided)
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper cupcake inserts inside cupcake pan.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, egg whites, the remaining 1/2 cup milk, and the vanilla extract. Add to the batter in three additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between additions.
Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake until a skewer inserted near the center of one of the cakes comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow the cakes to cool, and remove from pan. Makes 12 cupcakes.
If you're short on time, use a boxed cake mix.
If you're short on time, make icing use the simple recipe that's listed on boxes of confectioners' sugar.
Simple Buttercream Icing
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk, plus extra as needed
In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, 2 minutes. Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add the cream in a thin stream. Increase the speed to high and whip the buttercream until very smooth, light, and a good spreading consistency. Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a bit more confectioners' sugar or cream. Use to fill, ice, and decorate a cake.
Note: Once blended, buttercreams can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To use after refrigeration, let the buttercream soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until it is a smooth, light spreading consistency, 3 to 4 minutes.
Nutritional information per 1-ounce serving of frosting -- Calories: 140, Protein: 0 g, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 0 g, Total Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 4.5 g, Sodium: 10 mg.
Nutritional information per serving of cake -- Calories: 210, Protein: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 0 g, Total Fat: 9 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Sodium: 75 mg.
Dawn Minty can be reached at 706-571-8512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog Dawn's Dish at ledger-enquirer.com/dawn