Sunday, June 20, 2010

Graduation Cupcakes


Today, we celebrated my dear cousin's graduation from high school
her subsequent entry into college.

This summer, she will be packing up and leaving Southern California for the trek across the United States to Barnard College in New York.

New York has no idea what's about to hit it, but once she gets there, 
it will never be the same.


Mr. Dot and I contributed to the festivities by putting together some cupcakes to represent both of her schools:

[brown and yellow]

[blue and white]

Together, we baked and decorated *100 cupcakes* for the party.  I used just two of my favorite recipes in order to keep it simple: 

Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, and 
Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcakes

I like both of these recipes because I feel that they are pretty fool-proof, (yes, I have accidentally doubled the amount of butter necessary for the vanilla cupcakes before and they still clogged arteries turned out delicious) and they both turn out nice, moist cupcakes.  If you too are a fan of low-maintenance cupcakes, then these recipes are perfect for you:  

From "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes"

Makes about 24 cupcakes 
(Note: I find it usually makes just under 24... perhaps 20?)

  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 3/4 c. warm water
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk (I usually end up using the ol' vinegar-and-milk substitution since I never have buttermilk on hand)
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, SIFT together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. ADD eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; MIX until smooth (about 3 minutes).  Scrape down.
  4. DIVIDE batter evenly among liners, filling each about two-thirds full.  
  5. BAKE until tops spring back when touched; about 20 minutes. (Note: this recipe usually takes about 17 minutes for me.  I'd set your oven for 15 and go from there)

From, "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence," by Amy Sedaris

Makes 24 cupcakes
(Note: I can actually usually get more than 24 outta this recipe)  

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F and line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, CREAM together butter and sugar.
  3. BEAT in eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking powder.
  4. ADD flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk.
  5. MIX until batter is smooth with no lumps.  Do not overbeat.
  6. DIVIDE batter evenly among cups.  
  7. BAKE for 16-20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  (Note: this recipe also bakes at 17 minutes for me)
  8. COOL on rack until at room temperature.  Proceed to smother with buttercream frosting (recipe follows).

Now, before I continue on to my buttercream frosting recipe,  
allow me to clarify something really quickly: 

~In this happy world of baking and sweets, there are two major frosting parties~ 

[1] Those who subscribe to the SMBC [Swiss Meringue Buttercream] fan club
[2] Those who swear by shortening-based buttercreams

I, my dears, am of the latter persuasion.

There's just something about a sweet, traditional buttercream 
[just like mom used to make]
that makes me smile every time I bite into a piece of cake.
It's simple to whip up, it's simple to change the consistency, and the use of shortening (instead of more butter or eggs) results in a pure white buttercream that tints to precise shades.

Shortening-based buttercreams will always be  
my favorite  

From, well, me.

Ices 10-12-? cupcakes (obviously, this depends on how thick you ice them!)

  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar (I don't sift it.  I know, I'm such a rebel...)
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 3 T. Karo brown sugar corn syrup (optional -- I think this adds a really robust flavor in the background of the icing but it's not necessary)
  • Milk or water (as necessary)
  1. CREAM the butter and shortening.
  2. ADD the sugar in two batches.
  3. ADD vanilla and corn syrup (if using it).
  4. BLEND in milk/water as necessary to achieve consistency you want.
NOTE: Don't be afraid to really whip this icing to remove lumps.  You'll end up with a fluffier, lighter product if you do.  Since this recipe is so simple, it's fun to experiment with consistency to get a good feel for what you like.  
These recipes are very simple yet they yield delicious results.  They're perfect for summertime get-togethers [[think family BBQ's, neighborhood block parties, Fourth of July...]] or an afternoon bake session with the kiddos.

Toss some sprinkles on 'em and they're done!

Until next time...


  1. Adorable. Thanks for sharing. Good to see you back (I hope).

  2. cute blog and great looking cupcakes!

  3. They look amazing!!!

    Happy blogoversary :)

  4. Love the fondant flowers!
    Super cute- glad your back!

  5. Absolutely love them! I was going through my list of "Good Eggs" today and decided to pop over. Yayyyy! I'm so glad you're back! Would you be interested in doing a guest post? You could write a new post, or pick one of your favorites you've already posted, and just write up a sweet little intro for yourself. I'd LOVE to reintroduce you to my readers! Cheers! jenn

  6. cute! (:

  7. You're cupcakes look delish! Cute blog!

  8. Hi, I don't know how but I wound up on your blog and I'm glad I did. I have my own baking blog, but I always say learning from other is the best way to learn. These cupcakes look delicious! And I must say, I recently made my first batch of SMBC and I wasn't impressed. I preferred good old-fashion buttercream and cream cheese frosting anytime. Thanks for sharing. Jackie