"For I was hungry & you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty & you gave me something to drink..."

Matthew 25:35

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

so for alex's 1st birthday i wanted somethnig fun- and everyone knows that rainbows = fun. right? right. so rainbow cupcakes & a rainbow smash cake were the obvious choice.

i'll be honest- the results were pretty great, but it started to get tiring about halfway through- the fun of playing with colors wore off & i wearily started plopping spoonfull after spoonfull of colored batter into muffin cups, all the while cursing myself for thinking that this was a good idea.

but it was worth it- and everyone loved them.

now there are 2 options when making these:
1. a "from scratch" cake mix
2. a "doctored" box mix

i'll be honest- i'm a "from scratch" snob so the thought of using boxed cake mix is usually quite horrifying- however, these things are a pain in the ass & whatever yuo can do to make your life easier = awesome. and let's be honest- there's a reason people like boxed cake mix...it's kinda good. in fact, when you doctor it up just right, it's REALLY good. so i'm going with the boxed cake recipe for you- trust me, it's ok:

Rainbow Cupcakes (Rainbow Smash Cake)

1 box white cake mix
2 eggs
1 cup cour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

line your cupcake pans with muffin cups

combine all the ingredients & mix for about 30 seconds (just until everything is mixed)- scrape your bowl & then beat on med-high for 3 min (i used my stand mixer)

split up the batter into bowls (however many colors you intend on using) i ended up using 5 colors:

into each bowl of batter- add your food coloring (i HIGHLY suggest getting the GEL FOOD COLORING instead of the liquid crap. the colors are BRIGHT & it doesn't think your batter. you can find gel food coloring at almost any craft store or any iParty) and mix until you see no more white (i used about 1/4 tsp of gel coloring per bowl)

now the fun, at first, part- start layering the colors into the muffin cups. i did about 1tblsp of each color. i'd put the first spoonful of batter in & spread it out. then the next, spread it out, then the next- etc etc. i was going for perfection so it took me forever- like seriously, 1 pan took me 20 min. see what i mean? PAIN IN THE ASS!!!

however, once i hit the 3rd pan i then realized that there is no need to spread the colors out-simply pop the spoonfulls of batter in & leave them be. it's still a rainbow & i'm sure no one is judging you...

bake the cupcakes according to the directions & allow them to cool on a wire rack

once cooled- frost away!
oh, you want a frosting recipe? well well well! i happen to have one for you.

i used a vanilla bean frosting & it was aaaawesome. simple but delicious. there is just SOMETHING about vanilla bean:

Vanilla Bean Frosting
(now when i make frosting i eyeball. it all depends on how YOU like it- stiffer? smoother? etc etc. i'm going to give you amounts, but feel free to adjust them as you see fit)

2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temp)
2-4 cups confection sugar
pinch of salt (literally a PINCH)
3 heavy tsp of vanilla bean paste
2-4 tblsp heavy cream

using a hand mixer (i always use a hand mixer for frosting) cream the butter, salt & vanilla bean paste together.

add the confection sugar 1 cup @ a time & alternate with the heavy cream until you get the consistancy you desire. when you think you've got it- jack up the speed & beat for about 1-2 minutes until nice & fluffy.

i like my frosting a little more firm so i tend to use more conf sugar & less cream- i also don't like it to taste too much like butter- so again, more sugar. this is a lot of frosting- try starting off with 1 stick of butter & halving the recipe. you can always make more.

and there you have it. i also used the above recipes & made a small "smash cake" for her:

i made this by baking two 6in cakes (in a 6in cake pan) and layering the colors in the pan. after they cooled i leveled them & made the 2nd cake smaller by cutting around it. the 3rd layer = the bottom half of a cupcake. i leveled it just like the other 2.

i always freeze my cakes before i frost- makes it MUCH easier. so after they cool i wrap them in plastic wrap & pop them i the freezer overnight. i then frost them the next morning right out of the freezer (at least 3-4 hours before you serve it)

and here are the rest of the cupcakes:

see the cute little weiner dog decals? those are by Ticings & they are awesome! check them out because she has so many different designs for both cupcakes & cakes. they're easy to use & taste like frosting!
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