Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Baker is Back!

Eight months later, I am finally out of the dorms and into an apartment with my own kitchen! Prepare for an onslaught of brand new recipes. With a few new friends who love baking as much as I do, expect a few guest authors as well!

From now on, I will be picking ordinary recipes and tweaking them in tasty, fun ways. For example, a few weeks ago my friend Britni and I got bored with banana bread. After picking 10 pounds of strawberries, we decided Strawberry Banana Chocolate Chip Bread would be better. Expect that recipe coming up soon!

Without further ado, the grand re-opening cupcakes! When I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I'll bake a cake from scratch. Yesterday, however, was not one of those days. After all, decorating is the fun part! With Alex Barker's book, Essential Guide to Cake Decorating, I have a plethora of new fantastic ideas for cake decorating. The book was given to me for my birthday by one of my best friends and my fellow baker for the day, Simone!

This is her disdainful face. ^_^
Yesterday was my friend Larry's 20th birthday, and the book conveniently had adorable birthday cupcakes. He requested strawberry cupcakes, so I bought a box mix from the grocery store and called it a day. Really, to me, baking from scratch is more for bragging rights than lack of tasty alternatives, there's a few box mixes I prefer to any recipes I have.

So fast forward through the eggs and oil and mix bit, to the magical decorating. Apologies in advance, these are not the best photos because I was baking at night and on a deadline.

So once you have pre-made cupcakes, cover them in Royal Icing. What, you're not sure how to make royal icing? Well then, here's a guide!

Royal Icing
1 lb of Powdered Sugar
2 Egg Whites
1/2 Teaspoon Flavor Extract (Lemon, Vanilla, Almond, whatever you want!)

To make more icing, simply double the recipe. To change the consistency, simply add small amounts of water at a time. And by small, I mean increments of teaspoons or so.

Here is my trick for giving royal icing that smooth, almost fondant look. Fill a glass with water, and put your spatula or knife in it. If you spread the icing then use a very thin layer of water to smooth it out, you get a result like the blue cupcakes above.

This is the same type of icing used on those gorgeous sugar cookies that I could never figure out how to decorate. (Hint: This will be coming up soon.)

Simone and I used squeeze bottles from JoAnn's craft store to decorate these. Frosting tips are totally unnecessary if all you want is a thin line of frosting, and these are a less messy alternative to piping bags. You can buy them here.

All we did was copy from the book, so this is really a less recipe and instruction intensive post.

Three frosting colors: White, Light Blue, and Dark Blue
The book includes those shiny spherical sprinkles, but I couldn't find silver ones.
So welcome back to baking! Lots more to come!

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