Mar 15

Not even a contender

Posted by Nanc

My interest (and the world’s, it seems) in cupcakes has taken me down the road of trying to find the perfect cake and frosting recipe. And I mean from scratch, y’all. It’s not that I’m against box cake mixes, but I would like to find a good, from-scratch recipe. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, would ya?

This is my quest

Update: photos added to article, thanks to Skittermagoo.

I liked my first recipe for Cola (Chocolate) Cupcakes, but now I need a basic (non-vegan) yellow cake recipe. And frosting, ’cause I don’t go near those tubs o’ stuff they sell in the store.

Sure, I could use the frosting recipe my mom has used for years. It was tasty and good and always got compliments. (She earned extra scratch decorating cakes – and she was good.) But for some oddball reason, I can never remember the recipe. And I hate calling her just for this … again. Surely cake cookbooks should have something in the same realm of goodness, right?

Sadly, no. I turned again to the best of book borrowed from the library. (It goes back tomorrow and I can’t say that I’ll miss it.) I tried the Moist and Mellow Yellow Birthday Cake or Cupcakes and Pastry Chef’s Trade-Secret Buttercream recipes today for C’s birthday.

I will admit that I made a small, but possible significant substitution with the cake recipe: I used 1 c. of Splenda for Baking, instead of the 2 c. of sugar. (That’s the correct substitution amount, I didn’t just make it up willy~nilly.) Oh, and it called to start the sugar and mix the ingredients in a food processor. Wha? Since when do you mix a cake (or bread, or desert) recipe in a food processor? Sorry – I don’t got one.

Even so, I can’t imagine that these cakes would’ve been that different. They were dense and dry; not moist at all. The flavor was not as “yellow cake” like as I think it should be. In fact, it was quite bland except for the excessive sweetness.

The frosting, a “Pastry Chef’s Trade-Secret”, didn’t taste much more than the sugary spread at the old grocery store bakeries – all shortening slick and questionable. And how in the world am I supposed to use it to decorate with when it’s so… lipid (for lack of a better word). The secret recipe uses white fondant instead of the traditional confectioner’s sugar. Add a whole lot of butter AND shortening, and WHAM-O! you’ve got Trade-Secret primordial ooze! Oh, yeah. And don’t forget way too much vanilla and almond, to make it over-the-top insulting.

Okay. Perhaps I’m a little harsh. But really, it’s hard to find anything that compares to what my mom could whip up in a blink of an eye. Matty Bonez says that they taste fine. (In fact, he’d rather keep them all here for himself if he could. Well, tough. I got girls to feed sugar to, and feed them I will!) I hope the girls have no complaints about them, and if they do I’m sure we’ll hear about it here.

Overall though, neither of these recipes did anything for me. Next!

Luckily I’ll be getting a lot of practice this month; nearly half of my knitster gals have March birthdays. Hopefully, I’ll have something better when LilyN’s bday rolls around.

Here’s pics of the cupcakes. First I tried the frosting trick of “painting” the food coloring on the insides of the decorating cone. When you pipe frosting through the colors stripe the sides. I didn’t have any handy, food-safe paint brushes, so the color started out extreemly dark and opaque. I just didn’t like how it was turning out.

The second technique was simply coloring the frosting (or not, for some) a nice light blue, and sprinkling sprinkles (non-pareils) on top. Basic, childish fun.

3 Responses to “Not even a contender”

  1. chris Says:

    Hmmmm, I thought they were good! ‘Course, I think there’s pretty much no such thing as a bad cupcake.

  2. Aubyn Says:

    they were good but not great-but as one of the girls you have to feed sugar to i always appreciate the effort

  3. Pamelalala Says:

    I’d just like to go ahead and volunteer my services as “official cupcake taster” now!