10 Jan

I know, I know… I said that most of the posts on this blog would be about decorated cookies, and they will be! But I’ve had this recent obsession with cupcakes, and I just had to try a few things.

We live in a pretty small city in southeast Idaho. The trends that hit the big cities tend to hit Idaho Falls about 2 years later. So guess what? The cupcake craze has ARRIVED! Just over the last couple of months we have gone from zero to 3 cupcake shops in our town. THREE. In a town of about 50,000, that’s a lot of cupcake shops. But between the opening of the shops, and seeing super-cute, scrumptious cupcakes on blogs like Glorious Treats, I got a cupcake itch.  So I bought a few cupcakes from the locals and tried them out (you know… research! Somebody’s gotta do it.) They were ok, but it made me think that I could come up with something more than ok. So I came home, rolled up my sleeves and got in the kitchen where I belong!  I made:

Raspberry Vanilla

Chocolate Mint (my 2nd favorite!)

Pina Colada (my favorite!)

Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese

Cherry Almond

Chocolate Chocolate

Lemon Raspberry (wait! Maybe this was my favorite)

Orange Orange

I had way too much fun experimenting with these, and believe it or not, it was one frosting recipe and only 2 kinds of cake. I just spiffed them up with this loveliness:

Because I was in experimental mode, I just divided up the frosting into about 10 small containers and added itty bitty amounts of flavorings to get some fun flavors. I’ll tell you more about that in my next post, where I’ll be posting the recipe and flavoring ideas.

Now a word about cake. For the cake, I used….  um…. Betty Crocker cake mix. Here’s the thing. For 7 years (the height of my cake decorating career), I lived in Oregon, pretty much at sea level. I made excellent scratch cakes, if I do say so myself.  Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible was my, well, cake bible, and I had excellent results with most of her recipes (have you tried her White Chocolate Whisper cake? Yum!) Then I moved to the mountains (high desert) of Idaho, and I have had NO luck with scratch cakes since I’ve lived here. I’ve been here for almost 6 years, and still no luck. What am I doing wrong, mountain dwellers?? Somebody help me! So anyway, I’ve gone back to box cake mix because it never fails, and then I don’t have to throw away batches of ingredients, which makes me crabby. I do doctor them up a bit. For chocolate, I add a couple extra tablespoons of cocoa powder (Dutch process) to the mix, and use buttermilk instead of water. For white, I use whole eggs (which makes it a tiny bit yellow), also sub buttermilk for the water, and I always add some kind of flavoring, usually vanilla. Personally, I think they’re great cakes. They’re consistently moist and light, and with some added flavoring it tends to hide the fake vanilla flavor that I don’t like in box mixes. For the cakes above, I divided up the batter and added these:

Orange Emulsion, Lemon Emulsion, Pure Vanilla Extract, Almond Emulsion, and Coconut Emulsion

They were all amazingly delicious, and combined with the frosting variations that I’ll show you in my next post, I think I found some definite winning combinations. YUM.

I ate three for breakfast.

Cupcake frosting recipe coming up next!


23 Responses to “Cupcakes!”

  1. Anna January 10, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    They all look so pretty and delicious! =)

    • Karen January 11, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      Thank you Anna!

  2. Rachel January 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    WOW. These pictures make the cupcakes look scrumptious! Oh, how I wish I could dive into the computer screen and forget my dairy and sugar allergies and live in the magical world I see here! 😀

    • Karen January 11, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      I wish that part of the the magic was that they had no calories. I spent much time on the treadmill working off my “testers”. 😀 Ha ha! Thanks for the comment, Rachel! You’re my first follower. ❤

  3. lea January 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    your cupcakes looks amazing! looking forward to that frosting recipe of yours! happy baking!:)

    • Karen January 11, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks, Lea! The frosting recipe is up!

  4. Karen January 10, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Yay! I have readers! Thanks girls! 😀

    • Pam (aka CookieCrazie) January 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

      Yum is right! Wow… do cupcakes too. And I have all these flavorings, so I could do it too???? Actually, my daughter is the cupcake queen. She loves to do cupcakes (because she LOVES cupcakes) so I’ll pass on this info to her.

      Your photos are fantastic, by the way. Keep ’em coming. 🙂

      • Karen January 11, 2011 at 10:57 am #

        Yes, you can do it!! Not that you have time, with all those cookies…. but have your daughter do it, because they’re yummy!

  5. Kayla Ehnat January 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    What a fun post! I would love to try these sometime when I am feeling extra ambitious! 🙂

    • Karen January 12, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      One of these days I’ll have to bring you some, Kayla! (or toss them over the fence!)

  6. Jenn January 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Yum and yum! I have never had any luck with cakes here, either. Even when I alter it for high altitude. Glad to know a professional has troubles, too. Add it to my list of reasons I want to move!

    • Karen January 12, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      Hey Jenn, you can’t move! First you ask if anybody knows a good realtor, and then you say you want to move… You’re making me think you don’t like it in cold Idaho!

  7. Emily January 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    I’ve had success with Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food Cake Cupcakes. They are easy to make and are moist and light but not fluffy. They aren’t too dense (like the last time I tried making a cake from scratch not at sea level). I’ve been meaning to try a few of her other recipes but keep craving chocolate.

    • Karen January 12, 2011 at 8:41 am #

      I’ll have to try that one. Thanks Emily!

  8. Rose Lee January 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    These all look and sound delis.

    • Karen January 26, 2011 at 9:01 am #

      Thanks, Rose. I appreciate all of your comments. I’m learning that I’m not very good at keeping up with responses to comments, but I appreciate every one! 😀

  9. Kris Colucci January 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I can’t wait to try your cupcakes and frosting recipes.. YUM! Thank you so much for your website tutorials. I send everyone that asks about my cookies to your site. You explain everything so well. I use your MPB Glaze recipe for all my cookies. I don’t bake cakes very often (cookies are my passion) but when I do, I use a box mix and add 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder and mix according to box directions. It add so much to the cake, everyone raves about the taste, so rich, I will add your flavoring ideas to it as well from now on! Thank you for your website, blog, and cookie forum. Its a wealth of information… Kris

    • Karen January 26, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      Ooh, I’m going to try that next time I make a cake. Thanks for the idea! And thanks for your kind thoughts about my site. I really appreciate it!

  10. MrsAB January 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    These cupcake creations look scrumptious!!! I can’t wait to try them. How much emulsion did you use in the small batches of mix?

    For the record, this is my first time visiting your site and it is amazing!!! Thank you for all the information/tutorials and inspiration.

    • Karen January 26, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Well, I didn’t really measure, so it makes it hard to say. But I think if I were doing an entire cake mix all one flavor, I would add about 2 tsp. of the emulsion per batch. That’s what I’m going to try the next time I do this, and I’ll see how that goes. Thanks for the great feedback!

  11. Sher February 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Fabulous! I am going to have to them myself. It is so much fun making mini-cupcakes!

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    Come on over and seek advice from my web site . Thanks =)

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