Friday, October 28, 2011

Baking: Candy Corn Cupcakes

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Candy Corn Cupcakes

1 18.25-oz. white cake mix
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow and orange Gel food coloring (about a heaping 1/2 tsp. of each)
A double batch of Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 24-cup muffin tins with white paper liners (although you may not make it to 24 cupcakes). Combine all ingredients except for food coloring in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium for 2 additional minutes.
Divide batter equally into two bowls; you should have about 2 1/4-2 1/2 c. of batter in each bowl. Mix about 1/2 heaping tsp. of yellow coloring into one bowl of batter and 1/2 heaping tsp. of orange coloring into the other bowl.
Divide the yellow batter evenly among the muffin tins. I used a standard cookie scoop, which measures about 1 Tbsp. I only had enough to make 20 cupcakes with the cups filled about halfway. Holding the edges of each pan firmly, bang the pan a few times on the counter to level out the batter. Repeat the process with the orange batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
recipe by

3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)
1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. I think this is the critical point for any of you who have had problems with this recipe. I have a feeling people are under-cooking this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.
Use it to fill cupcakes or other pastries, or as a frosting on top. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)

One batch makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes .

After trouble-shooting with a lot of people, here are some helpful Notes:

1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.

2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!

3. Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.

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