Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cupcakes






So, I found a better buttercream recipe and thought I would share. I modified it a bit ..

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
6 cups powdered sugar
2 t. clear vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract
1/4 t. salt
4 oz heavy whipping cream

  1. Cream butter and shortening until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar (1/2 cup at a time) until well blended.
  2. Add rest of ingredients to whipping cream. Add 2 oz of whipping cream. Add additional whipping cream if you like a more 'wet' look of frosting. (sometimes you may want a stiffer texture for decorating. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.
So .. I tried out making mini cupcakes. They sell liners for the mini muffin size cupcake at walmart (about $1.50 for 100 liners). I tried mini cupcakes before, and they didn't come out of the pan very well without the liners. So, I signed up to bring a treat for a shower. I tried the mini cupcakes and ONE box of yellow cake mix made 96 cupcakes. Woah! The frosting recipe above was PLENTY of icing to ice all of the cupcakes. So I show up to the shower with almost a 100 cupcakes and about 15 to 20 people show up. OVERKILL! ha! Anywho, I got to keep some at home. I may switch to mini-cupcakes for parties with kids because the cupcakes are stretched farther and there is less waste. (BTW, the patriotic cupcakes caused me to set up some memorial day plans just so that I could use the flag picks I got at Osen Gygi for a dollar!)

Tips for baking mini cupcakes:
  • Use a small cookie scoop to put batter into cupcake tins. Watch the baking time. My oven was about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • You want to pull them out before there is any brown on the edges but after the middle ones are done.
Tips for cupcakes in general:
  • Make sure the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled before decorating.
  • Keep it simple. It's fun to use different decorating techniques, but they look better if all of the cupcakes are uniform with some slight differences.
  • Make the frosting. I've tried box cake and from scratch cupcake recipes. I don't know if you could taste a HUGE difference. However, I think the frosting makes a big difference, especially for cupcakes.
  • You can bake now and use them later. You can use freeze baked cupcakes for up to 3 months. When I worked at the bakery at Kroger, the cupcakes would sit in the back freezer for I don't know how long. Once decorated they could stay in a freezer for one month. The baked cupcakes only need to sit on the counter for a few hours to thaw. For decorated, they would need about a day to thaw the frosting and cake.
  • Transportation can be tricky. I've yet to buy a cupcake carrier. I have a plastic box that was the packaging for a make-up kit from Costco. I don't use the makeup much, but that plastic box has gotten a LOT of use for carrying cupcakes. My sister saves the cupcake containers from the store.
  • Make your own picks. Becca gave me this idea. I did this for one of Phillip's birthdays. Just print some images on card stock or paper and glue to a tooth pick.
  • You don't have to go to a specialty store. You don't need a fancy tip. Use the end of a bag, or just a knife to spread the icing. If you like sprinkles that you see on the bakery cakes see if they will sell you some. I did this for 4th of July 2 years ago at Dicks and still have some sprinkles left. You could even see if you could buy the cupcake carrier from the bakery.
  • Have fun! It's cupcakes!



Friday, June 11, 2010

Chickens on the Move!


So, our neighborhood has seen an increase in the rat population. We have set out traps and Pete even got a pellet gun and was successful in one hit and one possible wound. (Pete's a great shot!). Even with our successes, we thought it better to move the chickens to a more rural location until we build a better chicken coupe.

My sister Becca got chickens this easter and is moving up to Charleston, UT (near Heber and Midway). It's a farm property equipped with a chicken coupe and she was nice enough to take our 10 chickens.

I know the chickens have been our schtick, but I guess we can't be defined by our livestock.

Here's a funny video of our minivan packed with 10 chickens, 1 puppy, 3 kids, and 2 adults. We even went to Wingers for dinner. I kept on thinking of funny pranks I could play with the waitress. "Could you fry this one up and take $4 off our check?" After waiting 45 minutes for our meal, we left Wingers without eating ... I kept saying "It would have been faster to pluck and cook our own chicken!" Anyway, here is a tribute to our chickens and "Keepin' it Rural" in Bountiful Utah.




video