Yesterday, Luke and I made cupcakes for his class Easter party so we thought we would show you our handiwork!
I use the Better Crocker GF Cake Mixes because they are easy and predictable when I am short on time. I hope to start working on finding some good scratch recipes over the coming months when life slows down a bit (will it, really?), but until then, this is where we are! I also happen to have about 42,000 of them in my personal stock. I order them on Amazon for a significant savings over my local grocery store (and my local store never seems to have them in stock)! I don’t usually buy so many but with all my cake decorating classes, I bought 3 cases of each, assuming I would need to take a cake each week like I did when I took a class last year. Guess I should have clarified that it would indeed be the same instructor, but it’s not, and she does not have us bring a cake to class each week (only for the final class). We practice on cutting boards instead, which makes me feel safer but I am now buried in cake mixes! 😀
We made a batch of the Devil’s Food Cupcakes, omitting the eggs, butter and regular water and just added 10-ounces of room temperature sparkling water. This would be useful for egg and dairy allergies or if you simply want to lighten up the fat content. Unfortunately, it does nothing for the sugar content so moderation is still key, as it should be with all things.
As for the Yellow Cake Cupcakes, I tried something new because the yellow cake mixes have been tasting funny to me lately, kind of like play dough. I have been learning about using Flavor Emulsions in my cake decorating class, so I used one this time instead of the usual Pure Vanilla Extract. I found a gluten-free emulsion at Hobby Lobby by LorAnn Oils. I tried the Princess Cake and Cookie Flavor in this batch of yellow cupcakes and I have to say that it was a remarkable improvement in flavor. I did not do the sparkling water technique on this batch (don’t like to change too many things at once), but I followed the directions on the box using 2/3 cup regular water, 1/2 cup of Smart Balance (Earth Balance is fine too), 3 eggs and 2 tsp. of the Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion (instead of the vanilla extract). I never use real butter in these mixes because the cake always turned out too dry. The oils in the Smart/Earth Balance seem to add moisture.
New ingredient I haven’t checked out before: Propylene Glycol.
The emulsion is much thicker than an extract, kind of like a salad dressing texture. I wonder if this could be made at home? 😉
Now for the icing that I make and use all the time, a modified version of Wilton’s Class Buttercream Icing.
Here is how I make the icing:
1 cup 365 Organic All Vegetable Shortening (I like this much better for white icing than I do the Spectrum Shortening, as it stays white. The Spectrum Shortening yields a pretty off-white color).
1 tsp. Clear Vanilla Extract (if you want a white icing).
2 Tbs. Water
1 lb. Powdered Sugar (365 Organic has a corn-free powdered sugar, using tapioca starch instead of cornstarch)
1 Tbs. Meringue Powder (you can omit this and I often do when it is not hot and humid out)
Pinch of Salt (this is optional, but it is supposed to cut the sweetness a bit. A pinch is just under 1/8 tsp.)
This is a great substitute for Crisco Shortening, which has a few undesirable ingredients. I have a picture of Crisco’s ingredient label, here.
Cream together the shortening, vanilla and water, then add the powdered sugar (and meringue powder if you decide to use that). If using a toddler to command the stand mixer… stand back and wear a raincoat! 😀
I beat the icing for a good solid 5 minutes which makes it light and fluffy.
I used a 1M tip in the pastry bag for applying the icing.
Starting on the outside of the cupcake and using controlled pressure, apply the icing in a circular pattern from the outside in.
Decorate with your favorite GF sprinkles or other embellishments!
Click here for a video tutorial on using pastry bags and tips.
Here is another link for the Wilton Cake Decorating Channel on You Tube, there are lots of different video tutorials that you might find helpful!