Vanessa’s back…with more cupcake fun! Let’s give her a warm artsy welcome, shall we?
Hello, artsy friends! I’m back and sweetening up Amy’s blog for a day. This post is kind of like part 2 of the LEGO cakes post. You all may have caught a little peek at the cupcakes I served with the Emmet cake at my son’s The LEGO Movie birthday party on the first post.
These awesome cupcakes could be a great option for someone unsure of taking on the challenges and time commitment that the fondant cake involves. They were bright, and fun, and GLUTEN-FREE! Did anyone miss the gluten? Not even a little bit.
To get started, you’ll want to get some paper cups to go with the theme. I went with black to be the base of the Wyldstyle cupcakes and blue for the base of the Emmet inspired cupcakes. I made sure I had rose, sky blue, and orange food coloring on hand. I use Wilton tip #1M, which I put down into a pastry bag, to pipe on the frosting. Make sure you have these things on hand, plus your trusty mixer and cupcake pans.
I decided to bake gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. You can use whatever recipe or box mix that you’d like to use, but I will go ahead and recommend, once again, a recipe from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli and Peter Bronski. You just cannot go wrong with this little book of recipes. Remember to first mix your gluten-free flour blend:
Here is the recipe, once more, for a refresher:
Gluten-free flour blend
1 ¼ cups brown rice flour
¾ cup sorghum flour
⅔ cup cornstarch
¼ cup potato starch
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon potato flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Throw all of this in a big bowl, whisk it together, and you can store it in an airtight container, or just get to baking right away!
Now that you have prepared your flour blend (obviously I made several recipes at once, because I use it so much!), you can get to work on the batter.
*Friendly reminder: Always leave your butter out on the counter to soften. Do not try to soften it or melt it in the microwave or on the stove. It works best if you just let it do its own softening. Yes, this takes planning ahead, but it is worth it!
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
From Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes
¾ cup salted butter (1 ½ sticks), room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons GF pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup milk
¼ cup sour cream
3 cups Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 ½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon GF baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Now let’s get baking (large soft drink and disco ball optional, though I never regret their inclusion).
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line your standard cupcake tins with your awesome Emmet and Wyldstyle paper liners.
2. With your electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the vanilla.
4. Add the milk and sour cream, and mix until combined.
5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix with a whisk to “sift” the ingredients and break up any lumps.
(Ugh, every time. You’d think I’d be better at this!)
6. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the sugar mixture and mix for about 10 seconds at medium-low speed to incorporate.
7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at high speed for about 5 seconds, just until the batter is completely mixed and smooth.
*Note the scoop in the above picture. I use this to help keep my cupcakes all the same size, and the tops fairly smooth. It’s a quick and easy cheat.
9. Bake for 15 minutes.
10. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and let cool completely on a wire rack.
It is always important to let your cupcakes cool before icing them. Sometimes I use this time to make the buttercream. Sometimes I just have a dance party (note the disco ball). Whatever you do, let them cool!
Look how nice and evenly sized they are. I’m serious about that scoop.
As I mentioned, I often make the buttercream while the cupcakes are cooling down. Here’s a quick reminder of my buttercream recipe:
Vanessa’s Buttercream Frosting
1 lbs of confectioner’s sugar
1 cups of vegetable shortening
2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoons of butter flavor
2-3 Tablespoons of milk
Clear Karo syrup, as needed, for thinning the icing to your preferred consistency
*Alternate suggestions: You can do half shortening and half butter, omitting the additional butter flavor. It will not be as white, and it can get extra soft on you, but it’s so yummy. Also, adjust the vanilla based on what flavor YOU want. Use clear for a true white icing. If that doesn’t matter, use real vanilla extract. The Vanilla Karo syrup is used to help get the consistency that you want, after all ingredients have been mixed together. Just add a tablespoon at a time until you get it to where you want it. I add some when I have put the icing in the fridge, and need to rewhip it too. You may not need to add any.
*Helpful tip: For total deliciousness, use whole milk.
Cream the shortening together with the vanilla and butter flavor. Then, start adding the sugar 1 cup at a time. Run the mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes between each addition. This really helps achieve a good, smooth consistency. After all the sugar is mixed in, add 2 Tbs of milk, and mix until it is incorporated well. If you want to add a little extra, you can add another 1 Tbs of milk, but you don’t want the icing to be too thin. You can always use Karo syrup to adjust the spreadability as well.
I actually did use a double recipe, because I like to end up with extra icing rather than not have enough and have to worry about matching the color when you make more. It’s nearly impossible to match the color. I took half of the icing (1 recipe), and colored it with orange frosting coloring. I took the other half, and divided that into half too. Half I colored sky blue, the other half I colored rose.
I piped large “rosette” shapes on top of the cupcakes. To swirl the pink and blue for Wyldstyle, I filled the bag, very carefully, with blue frosting down one half, and then pink down the other half of the bag. That created that fun swirl of colors in the rosette.
Very Emmet and Wyldstyle!
They were a nice touch with the Emmet cake, as the centerpiece. A match made in LEGO Heaven.
Until next time, stay sweet!