Would you believe that this time last year,
I was moving into my sixth month of pure and undiluted no-sugar veganism? I’d Master Cleansed
body, soul, and colon, washed away fifteen pounds of booty-jiggling chub and felt certain I could maintain said lifestyle until the end of time.*
Then, one afternoon, over a ladylike luncheon of salad and a honey-bran muffin,
I was visited by the Diet Epiphany Angel.
Hovering above me with her harp, she whispered a word which I knew I could no longer live without.
She sang the song of cloudlike creaminess, invited me to slather and smell and partake.*Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter.*
Until that day, I’d discovered that I could very possibly live a life without milk. If needed, I could do without eggs. I could even tolerate desserts without sugar or cream or chicken gravy. But, I couldn’t get over butter
.*That soft melted puddle on hot toast.That creamy mound, peppered on an ear of fresh corn.That crisp crunch ’round the edge of warm cookies.*
Did I mention frosting
?*That thick, sweet bite of homewhipped buttercream atop a baked delight.
How do you ever get over that?*
Well, I suppose you start a blog and bake like a woman saved.*Praise Butter.*
A good tasting, good looking cupcake doesn’t need require an afternoon budget splurge at a professional bakery, nor the shipping in of exotic ingredients, nor the sacrifice of a sunny day as you hand-mold marzipan daisies for decor. Perhaps one of the most attractive qualities of a good cupcake is this: simplicity.*First
, you need a good vanilla
, you need a good buttercream.Third,
you need a simple yet striking decorating plan.*
For now, let’s focus on step two.
Because, well. Buttercream has butter in it.And, I believe in butter.*
The secret to a stand-up-and-sing buttercream is a pack of pure butter. When butter is skimped upon, a stiff, super-sweet frosting occurs, bogging down the fluffy cake below.
A good, basic buttercream should be simply that, basic. So basic, in fact, that you don’t actually need a recipe
. You need only the right base of ingredients. Beginning with such allows you to create a multitude of succulent frosting flavors without sacrificing texture or taste.*Do you see what this means for a world such as ours?
It means a vanilla-vanilla cupcake can be turned into a Lemon Lover’s Delight
It means a chocolate cupcake can become a Peanut Butter Parfait
It means any old batch of cupcakes can become a bushel of bakery-quality marvels that look and feel and taste better than your prettiest dreams.
And it can be accomplished in a snap. Here’s how…*~SNAP~
Grab a big bowl, an electric mixer or beater, and the following:*2 sticks butter, slightly softened
Flavorings or Extracts
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk*
To create a fluffy, flavorful basic buttercream, begin by whipping the butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add any flavorings (1/4 tsp. -1/2 tsp. of a flavored extract, a splash of fruit juice, a scoop of cocoa powder, a spoonful of peanut butter, etc.) then add half of the powdered sugar. Whip with an electric mixer. Slowly begin to add milk a few tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached. For a slightly thicker frosting, add powdered sugar by the half cup, as needed. If you’ll need more frosting than 2 lbs. of sugar can make, be sure to add a stick of butter for every 1 lb. of powdered sugar to keep the taste of the buttercream perfectly heavenly (and not too sweet).
Description of cupcake photos above, starting at the top and moving left to right*
(1) GRAPFRUIT ESSENCE: Buttercream made with a smidgen of lemon extract and several teaspoons of grapefruit juice, topped with grapefruit TicTac’s.
(2) LOLLIPOP DELIGHT: Basic vanilla buttercream tinted blue with jimmies and Charms mini lollipops
(3) PEANUT BUTTER BEAUTY: Vanilla buttercream made with a spoonful of peanut butter, topped with PB Whoppers.
(4) CANDY CANE FEVER: Light chocolate buttercream with a hint of mint extract. Vanilla buttercream piped around edges and finished off with peppermint sparkling sugar and candy.
(5) MINT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE: Vanilla buttercream with mint extract, tinted green. Topped with a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory mint truffle.
(6) BUBBLEGUM BABY: Basic vanilla buttercream, DubbleBubble bubblegum balls (purchased in the ‘movie theatre candy section’ of Walmart.)
(7) CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE: Vanilla buttercream with french vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips and a Chips Ahoy cookie.
(8) LEMON LANE: Vanilla buttercream, lemon extract, yellow coloring, topped with sugared lemon candy slice.
(9) GRANNY’S LICORICE CARAMEL: Vanilla buttercream with a drop of molasses and anise flavoring. Colored black, then topped with a ring twisty black licorice (purchased at mall candy store)
(10) POPPERBERRY: Vanilla buttercream with drop of strawberry flavoring. Topped with Pop Rocks and candy crystals.
(11) SPRINKLY TWINKLY: Thick vanilla buttercream, topped with sprinkles and a sprinkle bubblegum ball (from a mall vending machine).
(12) ALMOND JOY: Chocolate buttercream topped with sliced almonds, coconut and chocolate jimmies.
(13) FOR KWON YONG, OUR KOREAN EXCHANGE STUDENT: Please forgive the severe lack of sticky rice and seaweed presented through our painfully American dinner fare. As a peace offering, I’ve made you the cupcake below. Thanks so very much for being patient with us, dear boy.
Hoping your week is better than butter.