Me: "So... Princess RunWild, what kind of cupcakes do you want at your mock-birthday at school on Monday?"
Princess RunWild: "I want REAL cupcakes" (I'm new at the whole preschool thing, but do some of the moms send fake cupcakes on occassion? Why would she even think I would send faux cupcakes...I just let this one go.)
Me: "Oh... well.... ok. I can make real cupcakes. What do you want them to look like?"
Princess RunWild: "I want them to be rainbow cupcakes"
Me: (Gloating, because I think she is referring to the tie dyed cake that I made a few months ago) "Oh, great, so you want the tie-dyed cupcakes with white icing?"
Princess RunWild: "No, I want white cake with rainbow frosting"
Of course that's what she wanted. I had never made rainbow frosting. She couldn't choose the tie dyed cake with white icing, because I had already figured that one out. Shamefully, I even offered to buy cupcakes today. She didn't fall for that one. She wanted ME to make them. So I got a game plan in mind and set to work.
The recipe for these cupcakes remind me of childhood birthdays everytime I make them. As a child, it was a super treat to get a cake from a locally owned bakery, named Jerry's Bakery. They were known for their almond flavored frosting. No other local bakery ever made their cakes flavored exclusively with almond extract. This was their signature flavor. Sure, you could request almond flavoring at other bakeries, but they barely added any flavoring. When Jerry's eventually closed, I decided I was going to have to come up with a similar recipe so that I could still get my almond flavored fix. This was the recipe I concocted after tinkering with a few different recipes and it is very close to Jerry's. It is my standard staple recipe for cakes and cupcakes. I've tried others, but I always come back to this one. In case there are any mothers out there that have a request for rainbow icing, here is what I did:
Fit a piping bag with a decorating tip (I think I used a 2C ). Place the tip end of the bag into a tall glass. Fold the top of the bag over the glass so you have access to the inside of the bag. You will take a wooden skewer and dip it into gel food coloring. Make a stripe up the side of the inside of the piping bag (from tip to around 1/2 way up the bag. You can make as many colored stripes in the bag as you like. It will look something like this:
This was actually the 2nd fill, so my bag wasn't nice and neat anymore, but you get the idea. Fill bag 2/3 full with icing (recipe following). Begin piping. Color will mix with the frosting as it flows through the bag. Voila! Rainbow Frosting! The first few will look like this:
I think they look like Rastafarian cupcakes, but of course this was Princess RunWild's favorite. The color will soften a bit as you continue to pipe and look like this:
Towards the end, they will be very muted, like this:
So to sum it up,
Price to make cupcakes: About 3 bucks.
Time to figure out how to make rainbow icing: Longer than I'm willing to admit :)
1 cups granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites (I have also made this with 4 whole eggs, with great results)
1.Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.
2.Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
3.Pour into lined muffin pans, filling each cup a little over half full.
4.Lightly tap cake pans on counter to bring air bubbles to top.
5.Bake in preheated 325° F oven for about 20 minutes or until cupcakes tests done with a toothpick. Cool completely before frosting.
White Almond Frosting
8 cups confectioners' sugar
2 cup shortening
2 tablespoons milk
2 TBSP clear vanilla extract
2 TBSP pure almond extract
white corn syrup
1.In a large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, water, almond and vanilla. Beat on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed.
2.Note: If you're not using this for decorating, but just for icing the cake, thin the icing by adding 3-6 tbs. of corn syrup, to the icing. It won't look like Icing at first, but keep the mixer going for fifteen minutes, and then you're done!
Note: Yes, you really do need to beat it that long. Beating in air is what makes the icing not have such a "greasy" after taste. Decorators call it "beating out the grease." This works best in a stand mixer.