Sorry- no Tuesdays with Dorie post today- but definitely check out the blogroll to see the Floating Islands that the rest of the TWD bakers made! Instead, I finally broke out Hello Cupcake! by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack and made these adorable sunflower cupcakes. My mom gave me this great book for Christmas and I have probably looked at the pictures cover to cover about 10 times- the ideas are just too cute! The centers are mini oreos and regular sized oreos and the rest is just colored buttercream.
I decided to go with the recipes in the book for Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes and Almost-Homemade Vanilla Buttercream. I'm not usually a big fan of semi-homemade type recipes, but the cupcakes turned out great (the additions to the box mix really make a difference). The buttercream was good too- but I ended up adding a lot of extra powdered sugar to get it to the right consistency. The buttercream was very easy to work with- it spread really nicely and it was not too difficult to pipe either. I've been pouring over the book trying to decide if I want to do one of the cute designs for Helen Mae's upcoming 1st birthday!
Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes
1box (18.25 oz) cake mix (French Vanilla, devil's food, or yellow)
1 cup buttermilk (in place of the water called for on teh box)
Vegetable Oil (in the amount called for on the box)
4 large eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)
Follow box instructions, putting all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer. Fill 24 standard paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking tins, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely.
Almost-Homemade Vanilla Buttercream
1 container (16oz) marshmallow fluff
3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus additional sugar if necessary (like I said before, I used WAY more!)
Spoon the marshmallow fluff into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low. Gradually add the butter pieces, beating well after each addition, until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the confectioners' sugar. Scrape the bowl well to incorperate.