May was my month to bake for the "Baked with Love Cupcake Mission for the Atlanta Day Shelter". The mission of the Atlanta Day Shelter is to ease the burden of homelessness for women and children and to help them establish self-sufficiency. One Saturday each month, Alpharetta First United Methodist Church delivers homemade cupcakes (baked by church members) to the shelter. That's where I come in. I was one of 4 members of the church to bake 4 dozen cupcakes.
I hesitated to create a post about these cupcakes because I used a cake mix, but I did make a homemade frosting. I also thought I could share the decorating tip that I use which makes the frosting look so pretty. Plus, I am working on my food photography skills and what better subject than pretty cupcakes with sprinkles!
A few years ago, I had a little cake business where I made wedding cakes and special occasion cakes out of my house. I made lots and lots of cupcakes. I tried so many homemade cake recipes and could never find one that I really loved. I always came back to using a mix. The boxed cake mix cakes always come out the moistest. And as much as I love using all natural ingredients, I still loved the moist texture more. For wedding cakes, I found that it was best to "doctor" up the mixes by adding flour, sugar, sour cream and flavorings in addition to the oil, water and eggs. But for cupcakes, it seemed to work best to just use the cake mix as it is with the oil, water and eggs (following the package instructions).
How do you like my photos so far?
I decided to make 2 dozen vanilla cupcakes and 2 dozen chocolate cupcakes. I have found that you absolutely have to make homemade frosting to create a really yummy cupcake. The store bought frosting just won't do! This buttercream recipe works great when you put it in a pastry bag with a 1M tip (that's my little secret that I'm sharing). I use the Wilton brand tip. It makes your cupcakes looks so professional. When I gave these cupcakes to Mary Ann (our volunteer cupcake driver this month), she said, "oh, you bought cupcakes." See what I mean? I give all the credit to this secret decorating tool - the 1M pastry tip.
Here are the finished cupcakes, ready to deliver to Atlanta Day Shelter. I got the plastic containers from the Publix bakery. They were 25 cents each.
Here's my favorite Buttercream Recipe. It's easy and delicious!
p.s. The lovely cupcake liners which appear in the first photo of this post came in my 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off goody bag. They are made by Reynolds which was one of the sponsors of the bake-off.
Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
For the cupcakes
- 1 box cake mix flavor of your choice, prepared according to package instructions
For the frosting
- ½ cup vegetable shortening such as Crisco
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla use clear vanilla for pure white frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Sprinkles if desired
- 2 tablespoons milk or more for thinner consistency
For the cupcakes
- Bake according to package instructions. Let cool.
For the frosting
- Place shortening in large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high for two minutes. Add the butter and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half the sugar. Add the milk and vanilla. Beat on low for a few seconds. Keep mixer on low and add the remaining sugar. Cover mixer with a cloth, turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for 2 minutes. Add more milk if it's too thick. To decorate, use a plastic disposable pastry bag (I used Wilton brand). Cut about ½-inch off the tip of the bag. Insert a 1M pastry tip (Wilton). Fill bag with frosting, about halfway full. Pipe frosting in a circular motion, going around a few times until you have a nice amount of frosting. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.