If there’s one thing I’ve learned about frosting, it’s that everyone has a very difference opinion on what ‘the best’ frosting is. So trying to please EVERYONE, that’s a joke! However, I still try, because that’s how I roll.

Buttercream, a simple buttercream, is universally liked, right?!?! Yes, I know, some of you hate it… Which leaves more for me, so I’m not even going to try and convince you. But for the rest of us buttercream enthusiasts, have you ever tried to make it at home and been dissappointed with the results? Yaaaaa, sooooo have I, you’re not alone!

My trouble with buttercream always seems to be the same 2 issues: the outside ‘layer’ seems to get a thin crunchy ‘film’ and the buttercream itself doesn’t seem to be light and airy. You buy cupcakes at bakeries that have a light and airy buttercream that doesn’t have this ‘film,’ so I KNOW it’s possible! But how? I was on a mission.

I’ve tried a few different frostings and buttercreams in my quest to figure out if maybe those simple bakery buttercreams aren’t so simple at all. Maybe they cook the flour and milk before add it to the butter? Or maybe they add whipped egg whites? But when I ask them (the bakeries) they say they don’t use anything other then a simple butter/powdered sugar/milk + flavorings. Alrighty then… So I did a bit of googling and decided that I needed to try whipping the butter, on it’s own, for a solid 5-10 minutes on a fairly high speed to beat some life into it.

Cha Ching. I think I solved both the ‘film’ issue and the light and airy dilemma.

Which brings me to this months Secret Recipe Club post. I probably say the same thing every month about how much I enjoy this club, but it’s true, I do. Finding new food blogs, meeting new bloggers, trying new recipes. It’s great. This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Cookin’ with Moxie. She’s an Italian girl whipping up a lot of meals for her family and friends. To which I’d like to ask, “Jamie, can I please be your friend? And will you please make me dinner? Cool, thanks!” I browsed her blog and had a tough time deciding between the cookies & cream cake, orange coffee cake, or the brownie cupcakes. They all had me dreaming of sugary buttery deliciousness. But I finally landed on the cupcakes.

Cupcakes. With a fluffy buttercream.

They were the perfect cupcake to bring to a baby shower (which is why they’re yellow). The buttercream is firm enough to stand up to piping and even holding a cookie in it. But it’s not firm in the ‘firm’ sense. I know, I make LOTS of sense. Bottom line, I loved the cupcakes and the buttercream. I used the recipe on Jamie’s blog, and made a couple adjustments (like my whole buttercream experiment of beating the crap out of it to add air into it to make it fluffier).

Pretty Party Cupcakes – SRC

Pretty Party Cupcakes – SRC

Ingredients

    Cupcakes:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (or butter at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk ( I used non fat)
  • Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream:
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 – 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

Cupcake Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

*I had enough batter for 24 regular cupcakes and about 10 mini cupcakes.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Mix oil and and sugar in the bowl with a whisk, then add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla. Mix flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix until thoroughly blended, 10 to 20 seconds.

*If you use butter instead of vegetable oil then whip the butter and sugar on medium speed with a mixer for about 2 minutes, and then continue with the rest of the instructions.

Spoon 1/4 cup (I use an ice cream scoop) batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in tin on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and cool completely.

Buttercream Instructions

Put butter in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed (level 3 on my stand mixer) until pale and creamy, anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium (level 2); add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla and salt. Raise speed to medium-high; beat until smooth, about 1 more minute.

*a few dashes of milk if you need to thin out the frosting.

Transfer buttercream to a piping bag (I didn’t even use a fancy tip, I just piped straight from the bag). Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake.

Store buttercream or frosted cupcakes in an air tight container up to 3 days a room temperature.

http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com/2012/02/pretty-party-cupcakes/

For the cookies I used my ‘go to’ sugar cookie recipe, but only because I wanted sanding sugar on the cookie instead of any icing or monogramming. And that is because I am TERRIBLE at decorating cookies. My handwriting is worse then a doctors, so monogramming cookies, ya right, that’s not gonna happen. I transported the cupcakes without the cookies in the buttercream, then plopped a cookie onto each cupcake once they made it safely to the destination.