Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cupcakes and Frosting {Ultimate Blog Swap Post}

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Serendipity ScrapNook  and I’m excited to welcome Lizy from  Adventures in Life, Love, and Librarianship to Mostly Food and Crafts.

Despite food blogs and restaurants telling me the cupcake trend is fading, my love for cupcakes hasn’t diminished.  How could it?  Cupcakes are probably the most perfect dessert.  They are small enough to not feel terribly guilty after eating, easily customizable, and portable.  Who doesn’t love a dessert you can eat while walking?
I knew I wanted to do a recipe for Danielle, because, let’s face it, I’m not crafty.  Not “I say I’m not crafty while simultaneously decorating my home with homemade wreaths” not crafty, but the “it
took me a week and a half to make 4 sets of tile coasters and a week to clean up the mess” kind of not crafty.  But, I can bake.  And I can, sort of, decorate cupcakes. 
It was actually my “sort of” ability to frost cupcakes that inspired this post.  I don’t know about you, but in today’s Pinterest-project filled blogosphere, I tend to feel inferior when faced with all the organized pantries, hand sewn pillows, and piped, flooded, and perfectly decorated cookies.  I get down on myself and think that I shouldn’t even bother making whatever it is I’m going to
make because it will never match up to what these other bloggers can do.
Which is pretty stupid when you take a step back and think about it.  The time,effort, and thought that you put into something to make it beautiful and special is all that really matters.  Just because some other blogger frosts cupcakes better than you do, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to pipe frosting onto cupcakes at all.  The simple act of doing it and sharing them with someone special is what is important.  Your efforts are truly appreciated no matter how
it looks.

Can you tell I’m talking to myself?  ...Anyway, moving on.

So cupcakes.  Chocolate cupcakes.  Yum.  I am constantly on the hunt to find a new or better chocolate cake recipe.  The cupcake has to be moist, but not fall apart as soon a bite is taken.  This is a hard thing to find apparently, so I’m always trying new recipes.  I have no idea if this is the recipe I’ll use the next time I make chocolate cupcakes, but I really like it and think that you
will too.
You’ll need softened butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder,
salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, and mini chocolate chips.

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease 16 muffin cups.  I like to use cupcake papers and
spray those with cooking spray. 

Beat the butter for a minute or so, until it’s smooth, then add the sugar and cream
the two together.  I beat mine on the “4” speed on my mixer, which would equate to medium speed for other kind of mixers, for 3 minutes.  You really want to incorporate air into the butter/sugar.  It helps make the cupcakes fluffy.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until it’s well mixed.  Scrape the sides
down between each egg; really make sure everything is mixed in.  Stir in the

In a small bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients.  Add about ⅓ to your mixing
bowl, stir until it’s almost mixed in, then add in about half the milk.  Another
⅓ of the dry ingredients, a stir, the rest of the milk, a good mix, and the last
bit of the flour mixture will help you achieve the right consistency.  Mix all
of this on very low speed.  Scrape down the sides of your bowl and mix very
gently, even by hand if you feel like it.  An overbeaten cake equals a tough
cake.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips (totally optional but totally delicious)
by hand.

Divide the batter evenly among 16 muffin cups.  The cups should be about half full.
Put a few tablespoons of water in the empty cups to keep your pans from

Bake for 20 and test for doneness with the toothpick test.  You may need up to
another 5 minutes for the cupcakes to be done (the toothpick will come out dry).
Don’t freak out!  The cupcakes will be flat!  This provides you a nice frosting

Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 10ish minutes before removing them to racks to
cool completely.  Now it’s time to frost!

Assemble your ingredients: 2 sticks of softened butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar,
vanilla, and milk. 

(For those that are keeping count, we are up to 3 sticks of butter and a pound of
powdered sugar.  Which, if you know me, doesn’t surprise you.)

Start by beating the butter for a minute or two.  Scrape down the sides, and beat in a
teaspoon of vanilla.  I’m using clear imitation extract to keep my frosting
pretty white.  If you’re going to dye your frosting or you don’t care about the
color, use regular (non-imitation) vanilla.  Beat in one cup of powdered sugar,
scrape down the sides, and repeat with the remaining three cups.  Mix in the
milk, one tablespoon at a time (about 2-4), until you reach your desired
consistency.  If you’re dying the frosting, this is the time to stir in the color.

Time to frost.  I’m going to show you three different ways, so there’s something for

The first is piping the frosting with a piping bag and a tip.  I use
disposable bags
and tips from a tip set I got for Christmas.  The tips I like best for this are
12 (round) and 32 (open star).
It would really be better if I had bigger tips, but going with the theme of not
trying to be so perfect, I’m using what I have.

To use either tip, follow the instructions for preparing and filling the bag, and then, holding the bag about an inch or so above the cupcake, squeeze the frosting smoothly, with even pressure, as you spiral around the cupcake, starting from the inside and working your way in.  You can also reverse it for a slightly different look.  Sometimes I like to put another layer of frosting on
top of the first spiral, mostly because I like frosting, but it also looks pretty.  You can use this method with any tip you like or have on hand.

To create the little fluff of frosting, put the open star tip in the center and squeeze out frosting.  It will spread out, and with a bigger tip, you can actually frost the whole cupcake like this.

If you don’t have frosting bags and tips, you can still pipe your icing!  Simple
fill a zip-top baggie with some of the frosting and squeeze the frosting down to
one corner.  Cut a small hole at that corner and then frost just like you would
do with a tip. 

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spreading a nice (extra thick!)
layer of icing on a cupcake.  Simple, easy, and absolutely delicious.

Especially after you sneak a taste. ;)

Click here for a printable copy of the cupcake and frosting recipe!

Elizabeth, better known as Lizy, is
a single girl blogging her way through life, sharing recipes, adventures, and
pictures along the way. She is a solo librarian, loves books and cats, and
spends an unhealthy amount of time on
You can find her blogging at
Adventures in Life, Love, and Librarianship.

Visit Life Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!


  1. Love-love the "not trying to be so perfect" theme. {blows kiss} and I feel silly for saying this, but I don't think I've ever thought of piping frosting onto cupcakes like that.

    So simple and pretty :)

  2. Cupcakes are definitely my favorite treat to make! Love this tutorial!

  3. Thanks Amy Jane! I discovered the plastic bag frosting a few years ago, and it changed my world. So easy and so pretty! Thanks for reading!

    Glad you liked the tutorial Joanne!


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