Welcome to Natasha's Creative Confections! If you have stumbled upon this blog page, then you're in for a real treat! One of my favorite things to do is bake. If you choose to read on you will find pictures and recipes of some of the fabulous treats that I have created. So take a look around and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Devil's Food Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I guess I'm on a little bit of a cupcake kick. I don't really like cupcakes that much...and when I say "like" I'm not referring to the way they taste, but just how they've become so trendy. But, there are some that are just so adorable and creative, I can't say that I don't like them anymore, because I would be lying! Yes, they are simpler than cakes, but simple fits right up my alley. I'm not great at decorating cakes and cupcakes, but would LOVE to get better at it. I've seen some amazing creations recently and have been inspired to get better at it, for my cakes too. I'd love to kick it up a notch! I'm hoping to take some decorating classes very soon :)

I made these cupcakes to have tonight with some friends who were coming over for dinner. Sadly, my friends are unable to attend, and I have 2 dozen (well, now 22 since Chad ate a couple yesterday!) cupcakes sitting on my counter just waiting to be eaten. I will be taking most to work with me tomorrow and am hoping my coworkers will eat them up! I don't know what made me choose Devil's Food...I've only had it maybe once or twice, I think. I made a cake for my mom's birthday a couple years ago that was Devil's Food, but I can't recall any other time that I've had it. I was very pleased with the way these cupcakes turned out! They all were practically the SAME size...how often does that happen? It was almost scary how identical they looked! No bumps or ridges either. They were so smooth looking on top and smelled great when I took them out of the oven. They are lighter in color than I'm used to Devi's Food being, so I was concerned that they would just taste like chocolate, but they in fact are a little richer like Devil's Food. The batter was gorgeous after I mixed all the ingredients in; so silky and smooth (I admit that I tried the batter after I scooped the cupcakes into their pans, and it was SO tasty)

I got the recipe for the frosting from my sister-in-law, Kelli, and had made it once before to be used as an icing for the gingerbread cookies that I so frantically made for everyone for Christmas last year. The cookies were a bit of a fiasco, but the frosting was great! (even if it didn't look so good actually on the cookies!)
This frosting is thick, but very smooth and just really amazing! I love the taste of this frosting so much and I think it would go well on many different types of cakes. What makes this frosting so good, I think, is the freshly scraped vanilla bean that is added! At first, I didn't know what type of frosting to choose when I picked Devil's Food, so I went with this Vanilla Bean Buttercream because it really does work with a lot of different flavors! I was a little worried that I hadn't made enough, but just let me reassure you if you make it, at least for these cupcakes, it will be enough!

These cupcakes have a great taste, a smooth texture and a sweet frosting! I think you'd enjoy one if you tried it! :D

Ingredients for Devil's Food Cupcake:
-1/2 c. unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process powder
-1/2 c. plus 1 c. water
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
-1 c. granulated sugar
-3/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
-3 large eggs, at room temp.
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
-1/4 c. unbleached all-puroose flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the cups of 2 standard-size cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
2. Place cocoa powder in small bowl. Heat 1/2 c. water in small saucepan just until it begins to simmer. Pour it over cocoa and whisk or stir until blended and smooth. Add remaining 1 c. water and stir until mixture is smooth. Set aside until mixture cools to room temp. If it is warm, it will melt the butter and ruin the texture of the cupcakes.
3. Place the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of stand mixer. Beat on med-high speed until very light in color, 4-5 mins. Scrape down bowl with spatula.
4. Beat the eggs and vanilla in another small bowl to blend. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 Tbsp. at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off mixer and scrape down bowl, then resume adding the eggs. Scrape down bowl again.
5. With a fine-mesh strainer, sift the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl and blend with whisk. With mixer on lowest speed, add flour mixture and cocoa water alternately, beginning with one-third of flour mixture, and half the cocoa water. Repeat, then finish with flour mixture. Scrape down bowl and finish blending batter by hand, if necessary.
6. Fill each liner 1/2-3/4 full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are firm to touch and a toothpick inserted coms out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Ingredients for Vanilla Bean Frosting:
-2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
-1 vanilla bean, scraped
-2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
-salt to taste
-2 c. powdered sugar

1. Beat butter on med-high speed until creamy, 2-3 mins.
2. Add vanilla bean, vanilla and salt to butter and mix again, 1-2 mins.
3. Add 1 c. powdered sugar, and blend until it has been mixed in. Add the other cup of powdered sugar and mix frosting well, for 4 mins. or until you reach the consistency you like.

*When the cupcakes have cooled, you can put the frosting in a pastry bag (or just a sandwich bag if you prefer and cut the tip off) and pipe it onto the cupcakes. If you prefer to have a smooth top, use a small frosting spatula to spread the frosting across the top of the cupcakes. Add any decor you'd like! I chose some chocolate sprinkles and just a dash of white sugar crystals. Make them your own and try different toppings!

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