My Nutella cupcakes are way tastier than Krispy Kreme’s new Nutella donut, not that I’ve visited the Krispy Kreme Nutella donut ATM in London in the last two days. My friends H’s boyfriend is turning 40 and for some reason I’m making cupcakes for friends’ boyfriends’ birthdays now.
The cake is chocolate. I used a box of Duncan Hines’ Devil’s Food cake mix, a small box of instant chocolate pudding mix, 1/3 of a cup oil, a cup of whipping cream (makes them extra fluffy), 4 eggs, and a generous tablespoon of vanilla. I filled the shiny gold cupcake papers using a spring action ice cream scoop so they were mostly the same size and yielded almost 3 dozen little yummies. It’s my friend A’s birthday party on Sunday and she asked for little fanfare. Leftover Nutella cupcakes and kisses for her it is.
The frosting is buttercream, which includes a large sack of powdered sugar, a stick of butter, a stick of butter flavored Crisco, 1/3 of a cup of whipping cream, and another generous tablespoon of vanilla. I spooned about half a small jar of Nutella to beat with the butter and butter like substance as a first step.
I bought a new frosting tip at Spun Sugar to replace the one that went missing last week because I prefer not to use the star tip. The star tip doesn’t look as professional. I used some milk and white chocolate flake things also from Spun Sugar to decorate.
I don’t like Nutella but I was squirting this frosting directly into my mouth from the pastry bag (after I’d already frosted all the cupcakes of course) because I’m a piggy.
I am the program manager for Tech Futures Group. Today is our quarterly team meeting. Our advisors come to WeWork Berkeley from as far away as Santa Cruz. I baked cupcakes last night for the meeting as well as for my blog party tonight.
My coworker E asked for snicker doodle cupcakes. I baked snicker doodle cupcakes. My go to cake recipe is a box of cake mix (in this case Duncan Hines white), 4 eggs, a box of pudding mix (in this case vanilla), 1/3 cup oil, and a splash of vanilla (I don’t think it’s possible to use too much). This time I used a cup of heavy whipping cream in place of water.
When filling the super cute orange with white dots cupcake papers, I alternated a layer of batter with a layer of cinnamon sugar (2 tablespoons of cinnamon mixed with a half a cup of sugar). While the cupcakes were in the oven for about 20 minutes, I made the buttercream frosting (the big bag of powdered sugar, one stick of butter, one stick of butter flavored Crisco, 1/3 of a cup of heavy whipping cream, and the other half of a small bottle of vanilla extract).
I used a pastry bag and my handy frosting tip from Williams-Sonoma to give the cupcakes a professional look. After sprinkling on some more cinnamon sugar, I topped them off with little chocolates (not too sweet) that my boss brought back from his European vacation.
The cupcakes came out delicious, not too cinnamony, they taste exactly like snicker doodle cookies. Lucky Tech Futures Group team. My friend P says, “They’re f-ing great!”
Tomorrow night is my friend L’s 30th birthday at Missouri Lounge in Berkeley. After my Easter brunch with a friend’s family (pumpernickel bagel, egg salad, Kerns pear nectar, and See’s chocolate Easter eggs), I got to work baking cupcakes. It feels good not to have to follow recipes and be able to improvise now. Baking isn’t as rigid/scientific as some people think.
I did my usual Duncan Hines Devil’s Food mix with a box of chocolate pudding mix for the dry ingredients. Four eggs, 1/3 of a cup vegetable oil, 3/4 of a cup buttermilk, and 1/4 cup bourbon got mixed in.
I decided to fill them this time. Filling is fun. You core out little pockets of cake with a pairing knife, pipe in some goo and then pop the little tops back on. After frosting, no one is the wiser until they take a bite. I’d asked my friend P to get me salted caramels to melt at Berkeley Bowl but he was too stressed out by being in that fucking madhouse, he abandoned his mission.
I ended up at Safeway at 9 am buying something trying to fancy next to squeeze bottles of Hershey’s Syrup. It ended up tasting not salty at all, so I added salt. Then it was too salty. I’d say I eventually wrestled that shit into submission.
The frosting was standard buttercream with extra vanilla and some more bourbon. I went to the fancy cupcake store and got snazzy little chocolate vanilla swirl straws to top them off. Very professional looking. I also got 3 and 0 candles because I think everyone should blow out candles on their birthday. I hope they help make a it a special night for her. She deserves it. She’s wonderful.
Tonight is my friend M’s running pub-crawl 29th birthday in Oakland and Berkeley. Five pubs, 5 miles, is it a recipe for projectile vomiting? She loves a cocktail at Make Westing with whiskey, ginger, and other stuff. I decided to make chocolate Whiskey Mac cupcakes. I bake at my ex boyfriend’s (the good one) house because my mixer lives there and my own kitchen has no counter space. I asked him for 4 tablespoons of whiskey and he left some Oban out for me. Holy shit, Oban! M is worth it.
For the cake I added a package of Jello pudding mix, almost a cup of buttermilk, whiskey, half a cup of oil, 4 eggs, and a teaspoon of ground ginger to a box of devil’s food cake mix. I used a cookie dough scooper to try and make the cupcakes even but I always fail miserably at this.
The frosting is the standard cup of butter and 3 cups of powdered sugar with vanilla, whiskey, and a splash of whole milk. I use a little butter flavored Crisco to make the frosting hardier (buttercream melts and doesn’t look so pretty). I like baking with butter flavored Crisco. In fact, my chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from the package. I used to tell my chef friend who loves those cookies that there was a secret ingredient and he would try to guess. Hahaha, he never guessed it was lard.
I decorated the cupcakes with real French chocolate sprinkles instead of that chocolate flavored wax stuff. I got those along with the back foil liners and the plastic carriers at Spun Sugar in Berkeley. The secret to making the frosting look professional is to buy a set of decorating tips from Williams and Sonoma. Use the biggest one and just squeeze the frosting from a pastry bag on top of the cupcake without moving it around.
Check back tomorrow for a post about M’s birthday. I hope nobody pukes up my Oban cupcakes.