Cupcake Confusion
Posted: 07 September 2008 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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There was a previous discussion about cupcakes but it was from 2007 so I thought I would not add to that one just in case.

I have gone through the Cake Bible and came across some info on cupcake by using the index at the back of the book. I saw where it was mentioned that 1/2 of recipe of All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter cake makes 9 cupcakes. (so an entire recipe would yield 18 right?)  My questions are numerous and I am looking for anyone who can give me hints, tips, and advice from experience.  I am making these cupcakes for my sister’s best friend’s wedding so it’s very important to me that they look and taste fabulous!

What I do know (which is limited) is that I can use the All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter; and I think I can use the Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake.  Are there any other cakes in the Cake Bible that can be used to make cupcakes? Is there anything specific that I should know about using these recipes to make cupcakes?  (amount of batter per cupcake etc; doubling recipes a good idea?; do I need to consider the amount of baking poweder used for cupcakes? (ie the Rose factor) etc…)

As well I would appreciate any suggestions for icing options.  The plan is to have chocolate icing and would prefer that the color be on the darker side.  I have looked at the various recipes for butter creams and ganaches but am unsure which route to take.  Ideally the cupcakes will be piped to give a swirl effect (and there will be a small 6” cake to top the cupcake stand) so I’m looking for an icing that will keep its shape.

I’m very nervous to do a good job since the wedding is for someone special.  I do have a moderate amount of baking knowledge (even though it might not seem like it from all these question; I just want to make sure I have all my bases covered).  I have successfully make wedding cakes in the past; the most recent a 5 tiered monster that turned out almost perfectly! (I can figure out the Rose factor).

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer some advice…I really appreciate it!

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Posted: 07 September 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There are a lot of postings lately regarding cupcakes…and there is a lot of differences of opinion.  I find that the all american chocolate butter cake cup cakes shrink a lot when they cool…shrinking out of the papers….not everyone has had this problem. I find that the chocolate fudge cake (almost the same, but with brown sugar) seems to work better….but I had even better luck when I changed the method of mixing the batter.  There are several postings about this throughout the forum today and yesterday.
As far as icing…I often use a chocolate buttercream icing that is not one of rose’s recipies.  It is darker than the usual chocolate buttercream, and more chocolatey, but not as intense as ganache.  It holds up really well and doesn’t lookse it’s shape.  If you search the Blog for Buttercream and my name Bill I think you will find the recipe…if not I can e-mail it to you, just send me a private message. (I don’t get to the computer every day, so I hope you’re not in a rush.

It seems that cupcakes to better with slightly larger amounts of baking powder, than with layer cakes (the smaller the cake, the more baking powder you need).

I have found, that for yellow cup cakes, the sourcream cake works better.  They are delicious as well.  I also find that the recipies yield more cupcakes than the book says.  If you are using a standard cup cake pan, and paper liners, I find that 40 to 43 grams of batter (I weigh everything), yields a cupcake that bakes right to the top of the paper, and I get 36 cupcakes from one full recipe of the chocolate fudge cake (would get about 24 from the sour cream cake (if I remember correctly).  You can use almost any butter cake for cup cakes for sure (and perhaps some of the others as well).  There are many people on the blog and forum who know more about cup cakes than I do, but I hope this helps.

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Posted: 07 September 2008 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I can vouch for bill, the chocolate buttercream recipe is delicious - here it is:

Bills Chocolate Buttercream

Hector:
Hi…it’s Bill. I’ve got the Chocolate Buttercream recipe for you (and
anyone else who is interested). My friend who gave it to me said it
was from gourmet magazine…not sure when or how old it is. It is very
similar to the Chocolate variation of the Mousseline Buttercream in
The Cake Bible ... with a little more chocolate and some cocoa powder.
Many people in my family find Ganache too aggressive as a frosting and
I like something a little more chocolaty than the regular chocolate
mousseline…so I’ve been using it a lot. I especially like it pared
with with chocolate fudge cake in the cake bible.

8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of Tartar
1 pound of unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (29 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder.

Just in brief…the method is the same as any buttercream: Melt the
chocolate over simmering water and allow to cool. Combine water and
sugar, bring to 248 degrees, Meanwhile, beat egg whites with pinch of
salt until foamy, add cream of tartar and beat until just holds stiff
peaks. Add syrup to whites and beat until cool. Beat in the butter, a
table spoon at a time. Sift cocoa powder onto the butter cream and
beat at low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and
beat in the melted chocolate.

Posted by: Bill | September 25, 2007 12:38 PM

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Posted: 07 September 2008 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for posting, Patrincia…note to anyone new to buttercream…you need to add the hot syrup gradually…as specified in the butter cream recipies in the cake bible.

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Posted: 07 September 2008 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ll weigh in on a few of your questions- my first suggestion is to make up a practice batch so there is time to tinker with things if you need to.

Yield and Shrinking- Just about all the butter cakes make good cupcakes, my yield is always 17-18 for a basic 6 cup recipe because I like a full cupcake that overflows just slightly when baking.  This may be why my cupcakes never shrink away from the papers, the cake rises above and slightly over the edge of the paper and “grabs on”. 

Baking Ahead of Time- I find that cupcakes dry out faster than a large cake (they have more surface area) and are a little more difficult to wrap tightly for freezing.  Not sure if the technique of syruping the cake (described in wedding cake chapter) works with the paper liners, has anyone tried that?  So you may need to bake these shortly before the wedding.

Baking Powder- I always leave it as is, because I like a peaked top.  If you prefer a flat top, increase it according to Rose’s instructions on page 164. 

Buttercream- Please consider your temperature constraints before choosing a buttercream.  If you need a sturdy one that will stand up to warm temps for several hours, go with the mousseline.  If you have refrigerated storage and temp isn’t a concern, I love the ganache best (though I haven’t tried Bill’s yet). 

Good Luck!

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Posted: 08 September 2008 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions; I am making note of them in my book asap.  Yesterday after posting my questions I did a trial run of both the chocolate and yellow cupcakes.  (the chocolate was extra yummy!! but I did have an issue with the papers coming off one batch but I thought it was the pan’s fault) I made the classic buttercream and added the melted bittersweet chocolate; it was ok but not what I was looking for.  Thank you (both Bill and Patrincia) for sharing your recipe for chocolate buttercream; I will be sure to try it on the weekend.

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Posted: 08 September 2008 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Welcome wannabe baker! Just my two cents worth….....the dark chocolate ganache and the raspeberry ganache in the Cake Bible are my absolute favourites but I have to say everytime I make a chocolate buttercream I make Bill’s recipe now. It is really good, not as chocolatey as ganache but more chocolatey than the chocolate mousseline.

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