The pickle man

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cupcakes for the Cure - and Wilton's Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

How fast would you run for one of these?

 A few years ago, a dear friend and colleague of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her students came to me and asked if we could run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as a group, for her.  I said of course! But they were worried about participation.  Even with such a great cause, it's hard to get teenagers to want to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning to run.  So I announced that anyone who beat me in the race would get a cupcake :)  I have found in my 8 years of teaching that teenagers are HIGHLY motivated by food.  And competition.

To achieve this, I used a large Wilton open star frosting tip with the jagged edge.

I made the frosting, then I cut the end off of a Ziploc bag (although I highly recommend a frosting bag if you have one... I used to, and it's recently disappeared :( But my birthday is only a few days away!)

For the cake, you can make my mom's chocolate cake, or this Ina Garten version that is even softer and richer than mom's (sorry, Mom!). 

But what really makes these special is the buttercream icing. 

Here's the recipe, adapted from Wilton and my mother-in-law - the queen of all things frosting!

1/2 cup solid shortening (I buy the Crisco bars - they rock!)
1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature (DO NOT microwave this to soften it!)
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (Hershey's is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag powdered sugar, plus more as needed
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

In the bowl of a large electric mixer, beat the shortening and butter.  Add the cocoa powder.  The more you beat the cocoa powder, the lighter it will get, so be careful if you want a dark icing.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined.  Alternately add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, with the milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time.  You may need more milk or more powdered sugar, depending on the consistency you want.  To make a very thick frosting, you may need 1 cup more than the bag of powdered sugar.

Use a spatula to spoon into a frosting bag or Ziploc bag, fitted with the appropriate tip.  Go to youtube for a video, or visit my mother-in-law for a step-by-step tutorial on how to make pretty cupcakes :)


p.s., I think I'm going to find some pink sprinkles for these guys before I get to school in the morning.  

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