Vanilla Cupcakes with Easiest Chocolate Frosting
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pillsbury™.
The opinions and text are all mine.
Did you know that Meijer stores have a new product for fall baking from Pillsbury? It’s the NEW! Pillsbury™ Filled Pastry Bags, which you can find in the baking aisle next to all the tubs of ready-made frosting and cake mixes. They are available in Vanilla, Chocolate Fudge, and Cream Cheese.
If you’d like to give it a try, you can save $1 on any Pillsbury Filled Pastry Bag with mPerks digital coupon.
It has been many moons since I was a preteen learning how to frost my own cake. I was in the fifth grade and the PTA was running a cake drive and all interested students made cakes and cupcakes to donate. They were sold at a bake sale to benefit charity. Each classroom took a vote and the cake with the most votes won a handsome prize.
I remember making it, with Mom giving me pointers, such as learning to have patience while waiting for the cakes to cool enough to frost. She showed me her favorite technique- swirling the frosting on with a butter knife. I was in awe of her skills even if she didn’t have any pastry bags to get fancy with. We didn’t know anyone who did outside of those taking cake decorating classes.
What was your first cake and icing experience? Tell me in the comments below.
After I was contacted to try this new Pillsbury Pastry Bag filled with icing, I went shopping with my daughter to pick some up. She mentioned she didn’t even know where ordinary pastry bags could be found (most good craft store carry a wide range). That sort of took me off guard, since I am a food blogger myself, and also, am an experienced floral design instructor as well as a former folk artist who sold lots of crafts. And my whole family has a deep interest in doing art at home.
I imagined her, stumbling across the cake decorating aisle at the craft store, like someone stumbling into a jungle of baking equipment, overwhelmed by the sheer amount and variety. Which tip to buy? What goes with it? What else does one need? I can only imagine her being a bit put off.
As a teenager I had a job as a Baker’s assistant, working with Lucille at Parks. That was an assembly line of baking- Lucille could deftly hold a pastry bag fitted with tips while spinning an icing nail in her fingers making roses to decorate cakes. My job, watching in awe, was to help her with other things, such as washing the pastry bags. Which is kind of an icky job, scrubbing them inside and out, then folding them like an army of bishop’s hats at the Vatican to dry while standing upright. And cleaning the tips. That’s how I cut my teeth.
Then in later years I bought some tips, found I didn’t have what I needed, and then bought an entire case of tips, couplers and bags, just to make sure once and for all. I didn’t really decorate too many cakes except maybe for birthdays and cupcakes for school. So today, as a food blogger, I occasionally have use of them being an empty nester, but to be honest, I am a food blogger. So things I don’t use often get stored to reduce the clutter. And in the case of retrieving stored icing tips and bags, I might waste a good half hour hunting.
Which brings me back to these Pillsbury Pastry Bags, which are economical and I don’t have to search for those tips and bags at all. And I don’t have to worry if I have the right sized tip, since it is already on there.
And icing is a breeze, just tear off the plastic cover, squeeze the frosting down into the tube, test squeeze to ensure even flow, and go.
But my mother will tell you to “Hold your horses until the cake is cool!”
And I will tell you to start squeezing the frosting at the top where you hold it, using the other hand to hold near the tip to guide it. As long as you hold at the top, the twist won’t come loose, and as the bag empties, just keep that moderately tight. The reason being: you don’t want air getting up into the frosting or the stream of frosting will be cut off. But it’s fairly easy.
I’d also worked in a donut shop as a teen, filling jelly donuts. It was the same deal on the hopper- A nice even flow is better than having a tip blow bubbles of air.
Another good thing about these Pillsbury Pastry Bags is that they are sealed at the top, so you don’t end up squeezing frosting onto your fingers. And if you have extra frosting, and want to save it, I would just twist tie a piece of plastic wrap over the tip and refrigerate.
The Pillsbury Pastry Bag I used with chocolate frosts around one dozen cupcakes. I’ve provided a recipe below for vanilla ones that make a dozen. It’s inspired by the cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. Of course, you can always grab a box of Pillsbury cake mix and make some from that. There are different camps and opinions on cake mixes. Some people insist on making their own cakes with family recipes, while others like the ease of a box mix. You can use what you like- I vacillate between them depending on what kind of cake I am making or if I have a lot of time to bake from scratch or am just pressed for time. I love the results either way. But I love the idea of using this Pillsbury Pastry Bag every time, rather than hunting for my stored pastry bags.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Easiest Chocolate Frosting
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 (16-ounce) Pillsbury Filled Pastry Bag, your choice of flavor
• cake sprinkles (as needed or desired)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line a 12 cavity muffin pan with cupcake liners.
3. In an electric mixer, beat soft butter and sugar until blended.
4. Add eggs on at a time, letting the first mix in before adding the next.
5. Add vegetable oil and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
6. Mix the flour baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
7. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, half of each at a time.
8. Mix until the batter is very smooth.
9. Divide batter among cupcake liners (I fill using an ice cream scoop)- they should be no more than 3/4 full.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly springy.
11. Cool 15 minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
12. Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost using the Filled Pastry Bags, and decorate with sprinkles or other toppings of your choice.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com