Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Velvet Cupcakes

If you're looking for a St. Patrick's Day treat that's sure to blow minds, look no further. These little two-bite cupcakes are made with my great-grandma's red velvet recipe, and I promise you'll love them. My sweet friends Nathan and Julie are about to get married, and I'm doing their Pampered Chef shower tomorrow night... which happens to be St. Patrick's Day! I didn't want to go over the top with green everything, but I couldn't ignore this important holiday on which we celebrate... well, I'll Google it later. For now, I'll just get to the nitty-gritty.

Green Velvet Cupcakes

1 1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
1 oz. green food coloring

Icing1 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Sift dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add all cake ingredients to oil/sugar/egg mixture, and beat well.

Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter in small muffin cups (3 tbsp. for large, 1 tbsp. for mini). Bake one pan at a time for 14-16 minutes.

For icing, beat butter and cream cheese together. Gradually add powdered sugar until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pipe on cooled cupcakes, and decorate.

Wow, there's a lot going on here! Let's just dive in: Sugar, oil, and buttermilk (gag) are in the Easy Read Measuring Cups, my favorite measuring tools of all-time! Then there's the little Easy Read Mini Measuring Cup beside those to give you some perspective. Vinegar is in an Adjustable Measuring Spoon, and Vanilla and baking soda are in the Measuring Spoon Set. I measured flour with the Measuring Cup Set, and the handy leveler tool is resting on those. My eggs are in a Prep Bowl, and everything is on top of the Large Cutting Board. Then I've got my Stainless Mixing Bowls ready to go with my mom's old sifter in the small one. No, this is not a Pampered Chef sifter (we don't have one), but it IS the greatest sifter I've ever used. I don't know its history, but I think it's been in the family a long, long time.

By the way, I know I hate buttermilk, but do not abuse my great-grandma's recipe by using anything but the real deal. None of that fat free junk!

A customer of mine in California - Dawn, this is your shout out! - told me she couldn't use anything but the Pampered Chef Madagascar Vanilla because it's the best. Unfortunately, I never got around to ordering any, so I remained a consultant who didn't know her own vanilla. Tragic, but true... Anyway, I was recently given a $250 shopping spree from the company (I know, right? Join my team, and you can get free stuff, too!), and I decided it was the perfect time to order my vanilla. It didn't matter that I had a brand new bottle of "Someone Else's Pure Vanilla Extract" in my cabinet - I had to try this! You'll notice that my recipe says 1 tsp., but I used a 1/2-tsp. Measuring Spoon. That's because this is double-strength and therefore goes twice as far. Yes, this 4-oz. bottle is really 8 beautiful, brown ounces of awesomeness. Dawn was right - just the smell when I opened this told me I would never go back. By the way, that's the Stainless Whisk in a Stainless Mixing Bowl.

Man, it's amazing what an entire bottle of green food coloring can do! My muffin cups are on the Cookie Sheet, and I did a second batch on the Large Bar Pan. If you don't have a Medium Scoop, please do me a favor and get one! This is the runniest cake batter I've ever worked with, and I think I would have had a huge mess without my scoop. The Mix 'n Scraper was a hero, making sure all the batter was off the sides of my bowl. That equals more cupcakes, people! More cupcakes!!!

When you make icing, be sure you take the "gradual" to heart with your powdered sugar. Otherwise, you end up with a huge mess and a lot of frustration. I just use the Measuring Cup Set to add a cup at a time, and I rarely walk away with a blanket of powdered sugar all over my front. Rarely is not equal to never, but it's better than always. Hey, check out my copy of the recipe! My aunt Barber (or Barbara) let me make a copy of her hand-written, oil-stained original, and I get excited every time I pull it out!

Now for the fun part! The Skinny Scraper is the perfect size for loading the Easy Accent Decorator full of icing. Then you can just screw on a tip, and you're good to go! This tool is fabulous, and it's great for kids when they want to help in the kitchen.

People who are good at decorating things can ignore this tip, but the rest of us should heed the warning: Patience. Center your tip, slowly press the button, and let the icing shape itself. There are all kinds of things you can do, but these are small cupcakes, and I didn't want to mess them up trying to be a hero. One good, big blob of pretty icing is always a safe bet.

Then you can decorate with whatever you want, but I prefer leftover Christmas sprinkles. I remember using these in December thinking they looked too St. Patrick's Dayish, and now look at me go! Just ignore the snowflakes that slipped by my eagle eye. I've got 24 cupcakes on the Large Rectangular Platter with Handles from the Simple Additions Collection, and my back-ups are in the Cool & Serve Square Tray. I LOVE this tray for transporting cupcakes because it's tall enough to leave the icing in-tact. I mean, you saw how difficult my technique was, so the last thing I want is some stupid lid messing it up! Lastly, I have my leftover icing in the Easy Accent Decorator with the handy cap stuck on for storage.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy being American and acting as though you have Irish roots even if you have no clue. Except me... I'm sure there's some back there somewhere.

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