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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cupcake Trio



A group of fourth year marketing students at McMaster University spent the last semester creating a marketing plan for my baking business.   Oddly having taken the course myself almost 10 years ago, between working full time, taking courses and baking there is very little time to develop a business plan for the future.   Working with these students yields several benefits : 1) It’s free,  2) The amount of research/time they put into this 3) Fresh young eyes coming up with new ideas, who may be my target audience and 4) free publicity.     I met some of the students at the beginning of the year to answer any questions they had and where I wanted my business to go.   They were really great, very thorough and interested.  Fast track several months later we are now at the end of the semester,  the students have completed their paper and now have to present the plan to their marketing class.  I didn’t want them to go in to the presentation empty handed so I offered to bake them some cupcakes for the class.  I wanted to make sure they had a few different flavours so I put together a cupcake trio - Vanilla, Chocolate and Coconut. 

For the chocolate cupcakes I used my One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes .  It's a quick and easy recipe with intense chocolate flavour.   Instead of using a star tip like I did before I used a large plain circle tip and made the little balls on top.  I also used half of a Nestle milk chocolate hazelnut bar, chopped finely and added on top of the icing. Adding a bit of crunch and nuttiness






VANILLA CUPCAKES
(Adapted from Billy's Bakery)

INGREDIENTS:
Makes about 15 cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Butter cream icing:
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tsp milk, if needed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup purple chocolate, melted and cooled
Fondant flowers for on top
  • 1/2 cup white fondant
  • Silver dragees
  • Daisy cutters

INSTRUCTIONS:
1)Preheat oven to 325F- convection.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners and put aside.
2) In your stand mixer bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined using the paddle attachment. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour and starting to form small beads


3) In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, slowly add the wet mixture, scraping down the sides of bowl if needed.  Beat until ingredients are incorporated and do not over beat.
4) Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, edges just turning brown, 15-17 minutes.



Icing: 
1) Beat butter and shortening until whipped and creamy.  Add some of the shortening and vanilla and beat on low, increasing speed as the sugar become incorporated.  Repeat until all the icing is whipped in. 
2) Add in the melted chocolate and beat to incorporate.
3) Add the icing to a large piping bag with the star tip.   Swirl the icing on to each cupcake.  


Fondant Flowers: 
1) Using colour gels/paste and dye about 1/2 cup of white fondant to whatever colour you choose. 
2) Roll out the fondant, using confectioner's sugar for dusting.
3) Using a medium and small daisy cutter, cut out as many flowers as needed and place the small and large together using a tiny dab of water.  Add the silver gold dragee to the center.







LEMON COCONUT CUPCAKES
(Adapted from Canadian Living)


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened (I pulsed 1/4 cup finer in my stand mixer processor)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Preheat oven to 350F or 325F convection.  Line 12 cups with paper liners.
2) In a medium bowl combine the flour, coconut, lemon, baking powder and salt.
3) In your stand mixer bowl or a large bowl, beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and smooth.
4) Add eggs one a time, beating on low after each to incorporate.   Add vanilla/coconut extracts and beat on low until just combined.


5)  Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk while mixing on low.  Start and end with the dry ingredients, using 3 additions.
6)  Spoon the batter equally into the 12 cups.  Bake for about 18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, edges just turning brown.
7) Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack before decorating.  Cupcakes can be stored overnight in a sealed container or in the freezer for two weeks.


Cream cheese icing
1) Beat butter and cream cheese in a bowl until whipped and smooth.  Add confectioners sugar and extract and beat until creamy and all sugar is incorporated.
2)  Spread a generous scoop of icing on top of the cupcake and spread using an offset spatula.   Place all the iced cupcakes on a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch excess coconut.  Sprinkle the flaked coconut on top of the cupcakes.






Cupcakes are so fun to play with. You can experiment with so many different things, icings, colours, flavours , toppings.  You may never see the same thing twice.    All of the recipes turned out really well.     I struggled for a long time to find a vanilla cupcake recipe I really liked, this one is it.  It is never fail, same with the chocolate. Both of them are very easy.   
This was the first time I tried the coconut recipe and it beat expectations.  The cupcake was moist and fluffy.  Adding the lemon really heightened the coconut experience.  They are a great combination together.   It is also impossible to go wrong with cream cheese icing in any fashion.
I am glad I could put these together for the students after all the hard work they did.  I am really looking forward to what they have put together.   

MEG's RATING: D-EEEEE-LICIOUS!




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