Monday, December 5, 2011

Vanilla Latte Cupcakes

And a frosting tutorial!


As I continue to recover from my surgery, I really wanted to keep up with the cupcake baking.  However, that is kinda tough when you can't drive yourself to the grocery store.   But I decided to try out the Vanilla Latte Cupcakes for one simple reason--- I had all the ingredients already!  They were honestly really easy to make and I was pleased with how they turned out 

The cupcakes themselves were a coffee based cupcake that were quite tasty.  My favorite part was the fact that the cupcakes had specks on them from the coffee grounds that you put into the batter.  I also used a french vanilla K-cup to make the coffee for the recipe so I could add in a touch more of the vanilla flavor.   And while I used soy milk (cause it keeps longer!), I think next time I would use buttermilk as the main liquid in these cupcakes to make them a little more moist. 

The icing was a complete disaster.  The recipe I was adapting called for a version of a Swiss meringue buttercream (which is similar to an Italian Meringue I've made before).  I thought it'd be simple... NOPE.  But it was my own fault since I didn't follow my very own rules.   I didn't relax and take my time.   And I definitely didn't remain calm.   I was so stressed out!  Which you can tell by looking at icing attempt #1 ......


This is not icing.

So i just took my go to icing recipe and adapted it to be coffee flavored.  I do however feel that i  put far too much Kahlua (yes, that is possible) into the icing.   I wish there had been a stronger vanilla flavor and less Kahlua.  But it was still tasty and I had quite a few compliments on my icing.  Still, I think in order to get more of the "latte" feel, it would have been better to have used a Swiss meringue recipe. 

I frequently get told "I made your _____________ cupcake recipe, but they just didn't look as pretty."  And I have been asked to give some kind of tutorial or "step by step" method of making the icing.   However, I'm not quite ready to be a film star, so I decided to show you a step by step icing tutorial via pictures.  It probably would have been better if I had asked for help in the picture taking.... however I didn't so sorry that the self pictures are not the best. This tutorial uses Wilton 1M (which is my favorite)


1. Prepare your Icing bag.  Place the tip all the way down into the bottom of the bag.  You will want to cut off the end of the bag so the tip sticks out.  If you are using a coupler, put the  coupler in the bottom of the bag and attach the tip once you have cut off the end




2. Fill the bag.  Now I'm notorious for making a mess on this part.   However I just saw a new method on pinterest that might save me!  Anyway, the best way i find to do it is to fold down the top about 1/2 to 1/3 of the way down.   Fill up the bag, pushing out as much air as possible and getting the icing down in there.    Then seal off the top by folding down about 1/2 inch of the top and twisting.  This should keep the icing in the bag and off of your hands!

 I find its best to "under fill" the bags (so only fill half way) cause the icing does not get soft with the heat of your hands. 

3.  Ice!   To make those pretty 1M swirls, start the icing bag on the outer ring of the cupcake with your hand at about a 45 degree angle.   I find it easier to hold the icing bag in one hand, but if you're just starting out, you might need two.    Keep working your way around the cupcake, gently squeezing and not releasing pressure.  Once you get the hang of it, you can twist the icing bag to give it more of a "swirl" feel.   When you get to the second loop you want to build it on top of the previous layer just slightly.  I like to overlap about 1/8-1/4 of the rings.    Continue around the second and third loops until there is just the center left.  Then change your hand position to a 90 degree angle, gently squeezing and then releasing the pressure. 



 4. Sprinkles!  Normally I try to find something that goes along with the theme to garnish.  For these I normally would have used a chocolate covered espresso bean or chocolate sprinkles, neither of which I had.  So instead I opted for these pretty sprinkles since I had never used them before and they are so pretty! 
 
Recipes

Cupcakes
  •  3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs dark roast coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (I use french vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbs Kahlua
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds.  
  5. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the brewed coffee, milk, and liqueur.
  6. Divide the batter between 18 cupcake liners, filling each cup about 2/3 to 3/4 full. 
  7. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting
Icing

1-1/4 sticks butter
3 Tbsp shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Kahlua (You can add more or less depending on your preferences)
milk for consistency.

  1. Cream the butter and shortening with a paddle attachment until soft 
  2. add the sugar one cup at a time
  3. Add in vanilla, Kahlua and milk (if needed) until smooth
  4. Ice your cupcakes and enjoy! 
Cupcakes adapted from Pink Parsley.com 

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