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Cupcakes 101: Your Essential Baking Guide

December 15, 2009
Orange - Vanilla Cupcakes

Orange - Vanilla Cupcakes by BakeSpace Member Cuppincakes

A few essential cupcake tips from your friends at BakeSpace:

Converting a cake recipe to make cupcakes: A recipe for a 2-layer cake makes about 24 regular-sized cupcakes or 60 mini-cupcakes.

Working with Cupcake Liners: When using foil cups, remove the paper liners (if included) before filling and baking. The liners are included simply to help separate the thin foil cups.

Filling Cupcakes: Fill liners 2/3 full with batter (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup regular sized and 2 tablespoons for mini cups). The easiest way to pour is to fill a small storage bag or a large funnel — both work great for controlling batter while pouring. If you’re making large cupcakes, you may want to lightly grease the edges of the pan to prevent the batter from sticking.

Baking with Silicone Cupcake Cups: Try preparing cups with non-stick pan spray before baking. Always place cups on a cookie sheet or sheet pan for level baking and easy removal from oven. You may need to add more baking time for some shapes. To remove cupcakes, turn upside down and apply gentle pressure to the bottom while gently peeling the cup away.

Cupcake Baking Temperature: Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees F. Be sure to read the recipe for exact instructions as the batter density may vary. If you are baking in a pan with a dark or non-stick surface, you should lower the recommended recipe temperature by 25°F to avoid over-browning. Dark pans give your cakes a darker finish when baked.

Cupcake Baking Time: It takes about 21 to 26 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes and about 10 minutes for mini-cupcakes to bake fully. Always check to see if cupcakes are done as soon as they reach the minimum baking time. The easiest way to test is by inserting a toothpick during baking. If it comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached, your cupcake is done!

Cooling Cupcakes: Use a stack of cooling racks and allow cupcakes to cool for at least an hour before you start to frost. If you have time, bake cupcakes the day before to allow the cake to fully cool before frosting.

Filling Cupcake Centers: Use a #230 cake decorating tip. Insert tip in top center of an uniced cupcake and squeeze out a small amount of filling.

Coloring Cupcakes: Add coloring to the frosting with an eye dropper one drop at a time until the desired color is achieved.

Frosting Cupcakes: Don’t be shy with your frosting. It’s a good idea to use a large blob of frosting from the start and spread it out to the edges of each cupcake. This way you can glue down all those pesky crumbs and keep them from getting into your smooth frosting finish.

Storing Cupcakes: You can store unfrosted cupcakes and icing separately in the freezer for up to 2 months. Most experts say that cupcakes with whipped cream, buttercream, cream cheese, or ganache frostings should be kept in the fridge for short term storage.

Awesome Cupcake Recipes

Need more help? Find a Cupcake Recipe Mentor!

Cupcakes Throughout History

December 15, 2009

It’s National Cupcake Day today!

How far have cupcakes come over the years? Compare your favorites against these classic, albeit a bit crude, recipes from the past.

1796 – American Cookery: “A light Cake to bake in small cups. Half a pound sugar, half a pound butter, rubbed into two pounds flour, one glass wine. Emptins, a nutmeg, cinnamon and currants.”

1828 – Seventy-Five Recipes for Pastry: “Five eggs. Two large tea-cups full of molasses. The same of brown sugar, rolled fine. The same of fresh butter. One cup of rich milk. Five cups of flour, sifted. Half a cup of powdered allspice and cloves. Half a cup of ginger. Cut up the butter in the milk, and warm slightly. Warm the molasses, and stir it into the milk and butter: then stir in, gradually, the sugar, and set it away to cool. Beat the eggs very light, and stir them into the mixture alternately with the flour. Add the ginger and other spice, and stir the whole very hard. Butter small tins, nearly fill them with the mixture, and bake the cakes in a moderate oven.”

1833 – American Frugal Housewife: “Cup cake is about as good as pound cake, and is cheaper. One cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs, well beat together, and baked in pans or cups. Bake twenty minutes, and no more.”

1871 – Mrs. Porter’s New Southern Cookery Book: “Half a cupful butter and four cupsful of sugar creamed together, five well-beaten eggs, one teaspoonful of [baking] soda dissolved in one cupful of cream (or milk), six cupsful of flour, nutmeg, one teaspoonful of dry cream of tartar.”

Why not create cupcake history yourself? Find cupcake recipes and make a few batches yourself!

BakeSpace Founder on Fox Business

November 16, 2009

I was recently interviewed by Fox Business on how I started BakeSpace.com and advice I would like to share with others thinking about starting their own business/websites.  It was a delight to be part of their show and I have a new appreciation for anyone who can speak to a camera and make it look easy.  It is not. But it was really fun. See More videos at BakeSpaceTV

Top 10 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy

November 1, 2009
Haunted Halloween House by DDPie

Haunted Halloween House by DDPie

After you get over your initial sugar hangover, try these nifty ideas to make the most of all that leftover candy.

10. Homemade Flavored Vodka

Some candies dissolve beautifully in vodka to create “infused” booze. In addition to candy, you can add coffee, rosemary, cinnamon, pepper, citrus fruits or dried flowers. The recipe linked below uses Jolly Ranchers, but you can also try candy corn (use 1/2 cup candy corn for 1 1/2 cups vodka).

Jolly Rancher Vodka

9. Make Hot Chocolate with Real chocolate

Melt a 1 oz. mini chocolate bar into a mug of milk, making sure to stir frequently. It’s especially tasty with rich chocolates such Dove miniatures.

8. Sweeten Your Cooking

Add some excitement to pork chops by adding a Pixie Sticks glaze. Simply combine red or white wine, vinegar, Pixie Sticks and salt. Feeling adventurous? Try adding Smarties or Red Hots to BBQ for a homemade chipotle sauce. Yum!

Search BakeSpace Recipes

7. Make Movie Night Sweeter with Ice Cream Toppers

M&Ms and gummy bears make a great toppings for ice cream sundaes. You can also mix them directly into your ice cream. And don’t forget adding some mixed candy to your blended ice cream drinks.

6. Brownie Blends

Simply stir chopped candy directly into brownie batter. You can also sprinkle it as a topping or use it as a garnish for brownie sundaes.

5. Secret Treasure Cookies

Cut cookie dough (homemade or store-bought) into 12 slices, bring it to room temperature and then mold each slice around individual-size candies before baking.

4. Freeze & Forget It!

Place wrapped candy in a freezer bag and throw it in the freezer for later. Candy stored this way will last for up to a year. When you’re ready to use, thaw at room temperature (the whitish bloom’ that develops on chocolate candy when it freezes will go away after it thaws).

The same goes for cookies – which will keep for six months in the freezer when placed between sheets of freezer paper and stored in a plastic container. Keep the cookies between their wrappers for 10 to 15 minutes when thawing.

3. Make a Batch of Candy Coated Popcorn

Simply melt any type of leftover Halloween candy and use it as a glaze to coat popcorn (microwave or air-popped) in a large bowl. The key is to make sure the popcorn has no butter or salt (or as little as possible). Spread the glazed popcorn on a cookie sheet to dry, and voila: candy coated popcorn. Even better with nuts.

2. Try a New Recipe: Apple Candy Bar Salad

You’ll need:

  • a few Granny Smith apples
  • a bunch of candy bars (e.g., Snickers, Baby Ruth or 3 Musketeers)
  • Cool Whip

Cut the apples and candy bars into small pieces and mix them with thawed Cool Whip. If the candy is too mushy to cut, put it in the fridge for a few hours before cutting. Serve.

1. Our Favorite Idea… Share Them!

Donate your leftover Halloween candy to a food bank. While food banks tend to focus on necessities, many will welcome indulgent extras like candy.   Find a food bank in your area by visiting Second Harvest.org

Have a Halloween recipe to share? Upload it to BakeSpace today!

Win a KitchenAid!

September 25, 2009

Yeah, it’s Friday! This is going to be a great weekend for many reasons including the return of Desperate Housewives and another steamy season. Did you know there’s a new housewife on Wisteria Lane who I hear can really bake up a storm? Watch out Bree!

Most of you probably know that Desperate Housewives has been a BakeSpace member for a couple of years now. Between the juicy bites and saucy dishes, they have definitely added culinary intrigue to our community.

So, to celebrate the show’s return, we’re giving away a pink KitchenAid Chef’s Series Food Processor to the BakeSpace member who posts the most desperate housewife story based on a personal “desperate” expereince.

Here’s how you can win:

  • Head over to the Desperate Housewives BakeSpace Kitchen
  • If you’re already a member of BakeSpace, simply add the show to your network of friends (click “add as friends” if logged in). We’ll approve your friend request so you can post a comment. Not a member, join today! It’s only the best recipe swap on the web!
  • Once you’re in the show’s network of friends, post your favorite personal desperate housewife story on the show’s profile (fridge at the way bottom of the page – after the videos). Note: This must be a personal story about you, not a scene from the show.🙂
  • That’s it!

The most “desperate” story (as picked by our editorial staff) wins the prize. The winner will be announced this Monday (9/28). Deadline to enter is Sunday, September 27th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Story must be about your personal experience, NOT a storyline from the show. Good luck!

VISIT BAKESPACE TODAY AND POST YOUR BET DESPERATE MOMENT

Want to watch the show? Tune in Sundays at 9/8c on ABC! The season premiere is September 27th! Get caught up on past full episodes at ABC.com.

A Foodie’s Guide to SXSW Panel Picking

August 18, 2009

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cupcakes

Vote with your stomach.

by Erik Deutsch

SXSW (South by Southwest) is a film, music and interactive media festival that takes place every March in Austin, TX. The Interactive program features five days of presentations and panel discussions from some of the brightest minds in digital media.

Each year, thousands of panel ideas are submitted to SXSW, and the best are selected to be part of a public selection process that allows the online community (i.e., people like you) to vote on which panels will make it into the final program.

So this is where you come in. As a fellow foodie and home cook, please help us support the culinary-themed panels listed in our following “Foodie’s Guide to SXSW Panel Picking” list.

Voting is quick and easy, and it ends on Sept. 4th…  so vote today!

Picture 57SXSW Food-Themed Panels:

Emily Olson

Emily Olson Foodzie

Jeff Potter

Jeff Potter Cooking for Geeks

David Berkowitz

David Berkowitz 360i

Steven Mandzik

Steven Mandzik, A Clean Life

Ashley Colpaart

Ashley Colpaart, U.S. Food Policy

Babette Pepaj

Babette Pepaj BakeSpace

Picture 61

Picture 57Honorable Mention (or Best Use of Food in a Panel Title):

Picture 57Panels by Friends of BakeSpace & Fellow Foodies, but Not Food Related:

Please feel free to comment below which panel’s you think foodies may want to check out. This list is by no means complete.

How to Vote:

Visit the SXSW Panel Picker and browse the selections. Or you can simply click on the links above to go directly to each corresponding panel. Before your vote is counted, the SXSW Web site will ask you to register (it’s super quick and easy). Once registered, you’ll be able to click on the “thumbs up” icon to vote. That’s it!

Share this post with other foodies & home chefs:

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Click on bird above or tweet this: Foodie’s Guide to SXSW Panel Picking http://bit.ly/foodsxsw – Voting ends Sept 4!

BakeSpace Cookover

August 17, 2009
BakeSpace Cookover 2009

BakeSpace Cookover 2009

In July, BakeSpace.com members from eight states got together for a good old fashioned Cookover. A cookover is when a group of friends get together and pitch in to make a meal.  Check out the recipes made for the event. See photos of the event here!

To find a cookover or foodie meetup in your area, check out our forum meetup posts. If you don’t see your state, why not start your own meetup or cookover?

The event as also covered in the Pittsburgh Post Gazett’s Online Cooks Meet Here story.

Marguerite Millren and Michele Brigante at the BakeSpace Cookover in PA.

Marguerite Millren and Michele Brigante at the BakeSpace Cookover in PA.