Monday, December 26, 2011

Simple Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Roses

Christmas has come and gone, in a whirlwind of activity.  Baking, cooking, candymaking, cleaning, wrapping, unwrapping, hair-pulling, and loving, and now the aftereffects... cleaning and playing with new toys.  One of my new toys was an awesome decorating set that I decided to stay up all night messing with.  These cupcakes were the result of that playtime. As if I hadn't spent enough time in the kitchen the last two weeks...

Cake: adapted from here
Makes exactly 12 cupcakes or one double layer 8 inch round cake.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Dump everything into a food processor and pulse until well incorporated and a batter is formed.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and mix well.  Divide into a prepared 12-cup muffin tin and bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  If you don't have a food processor, measure the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to incorporate.  Mix the wet ingredients together well, then fold in the dry ingredients until the batter is formed.

Buttercream frosting:

1 cup softened butter
4+ cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp heavy cream
Food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix butter and 4 cups of sugar 3-5 minutes, until fluffy and light.  Continue mixing and add first vanilla, then cream, then food coloring.  Still beating, continue to add in powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency.  I think for these cupcakes I used about 5 1/2 cups of powdered sugar so that the rose petals wouldn't lean into each other.

Helpful hint:
I set a baking sheet in the freezer.  After letting the cupcakes cool for fifteen minutes, I set them all on the baking sheet inside the freezer, removing them one at a time to frost them, then returning them to the freezer once they were frosted.  I left them in the freezer about fifteen minutes them removed to my cake plate. This help the buttercream stay stuff without melting down anymore and gave it a chance to set and reduce the risk of softening my rose petals.

To Frost:
Using my 104 tip, I created a small cone in the middle of the cupcake.  I formed three petals around the cone, pulling back slightly on each one to create a slightly folded look to the petal.  I continued out from the center, adding more petals until I reached the edge of the cupcake.  There are some really good Youtube videos about making buttercream roses that can describe it much more easily than I just did, though, so that would probably be smarter if you've never frosted flowers before.  It's not hard, it's just a lot easier if you've seen it done before trying it out for yourself. 

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