Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cupcake and Orange Cupcake for Cousin Lillian's Birthday

Last week, I was excited about baking cake for my cousin, Lillian's birthday on February 9 as this was my first baking assignment for party since my baking hobby started two years ago. I was thinking what kind of cakes or cupcakes to bake for her birthday party at Day care. Finally, my aunt told me to bake cupcakes. I  started to do some research online and figured out cupcake recipes and decoration ideas that kid will love. Finally, I decided to go with lemon meringue cupcake and chocolate chip cupcake recipes from marthastewart website as recently I wanted to buy cupcake recipes book written by Marthsteward. No harm trying now.

In fact, most of cupcake recipes are only slightly different in term of ingredient ratio and methods. We can fix one basic cupcake recipe and change according to flavor and them. The chocolate chip cupcake recipe is almost same as the basic vanilla cupcake recipe from marthastewart website. I chose chocolate chip cupcake recipe instead of vanilla cupcake recipe was because beating egg white separately creates lighter texture and more like Chinese bakery's birthday cake texture that I learned from video from tudou website.

When baking cupcakes, It is better to line muffin tins with paper liners for easier remover especially using cake flours as sometimes the cupcake is too soft to come out from muffin tins and cupcake becomes broken while trying to remove from muffin tins.

For chocolate chip cupcake recipe, I added both egg yolks and egg whites instead of only egg whites as I do not want to waste egg yolks and egg yolk also makes cake moist. I also reduced chocolate chips from 2 cups to 1 cup as I did not want too overwhelming of chocolate. I have Nestle semi-sweet mini  chocolate chip morsels on hand so I used those. The mini size is just right for kids. I did not bake a lot with chocolate chips so I thought the morsels will melt during baking. Too my surprise, those chocolate chip did not melt after baking. If cake flour is not available on hand, can substitute with the all purpose flour (1cup of cake flour = 1 cup - 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour ).
I baked half of chocolate  chip cupcake recipe which yields 15  standard cupcakes.

Chocolate chip cupcake recipe (30 standard cupcakes)
  • 3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature {original: omit}
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cups {original: 2cups} semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Mix vanilla extract and milk in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, and fold into batter. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
  5. Bake cupcakes at center rack until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 - 25 minutes. If the oven temperature is not even, rotate muffin pans after 10 -12 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.
 For Orange cupcake recipe, I did not have lemon on hand and had a lot of oranges which I hand picked from my aunt place, so decided to do orange cupcake instead. Then I had to modify lemon cupcake recipe for orange cupcake. If you are using the store bought orange juice, you can reduce amount of sugar in the recipe as orange juice is already sweet. I changed from all purpose flour to cake flour as I wanted the cupcake to more tender and delicate texture. We can make cake flour by reducing 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour from 1 cup of all purpose flour and adding 2 tablespoons of  cornflour and sifted the flour mixture three to five times. I did not do orange curd as it contains a lot of egg yolks.
I baked one third of lemon cupcake recipes which yields 8 standard cupcakes.

Orange cupcake recipe (24 standard cupcakes)
  • 3 cups and 6 tablespoons cake flour {original: 3 cup all-purpose flour]
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 3 oranges (about 3 tablespoons) {original:Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice}
  • 1 teaspoon orange essence {original:1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract}
  • 1 cup orange juice {original:1 cup buttermilk}
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (163 degrees C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of orange juice {original: buttermilk and lemon juice}, and beating until just combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake at center rack, rotating tins halfway through (If the oven temperature is not even, rotate muffin pans after 10 -12 minutes. ), until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. 
  4. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

For frosting, I did not follow marthastewart buter cream frosting recipes as I do not want to use icing sugar that is too sweet for most of us. The marthastewart meringue frosting involves egg whites and I need to buy candy thermometer. If not successful, there will be raw egg white smell. If successful, the taste suppose to be great. I rather try meringue frosting after getting thermometer.

Finally, I used my favorite, no fail the non dairy whipping cream frosting and added some coloring. The dairy heavy whipping cream will not give the desire texture for decoration. So far, I found non dairy whipping cream, Pastry Pride only at Smart and Final in LA, CA. The premier version of pastry pride, so far found only at 8lb size, gives more stability. Just now I am looking for photo of Pastry Pride and saw Costco selling it too. But I did not mange to find it at local Costco store. The Pastry Pride picture at Costco is non premier version which contain milk and less sweet.

We can add sugar to whipping cream if we likes the sweetness. The amount of whipped cream used depends on the decoration design. I added 1/2 teaspoon of  Wilton Meringue Powder to 1 cup of whipped cream to stabilize further. The frosting is still great without  meringue powder for decoration. When whisking, we have to monitor the stiffness of frosting. Sometimes, the frosting is over stiff due to over whisking. Don't worry, just add  one teaspoon or tablespoon of whipping cream at a time and whisk by hand till get the desire consistency. We can freeze the remaining whipped cream wrapped with air tight plastic bag.
I used up 1 1/2 cup whipping cream for 23 cupcakes.

Whipped cream frosting recipe (24 standard cupcakes)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups non dairy whipping cream, Pastry Pride
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon meringue powder, Optional
  1. Defrost the whip cream one night in advance
  2. Place the whipping bowl and whisk in to the fridge for 15 minutes before start whipping.
  3. Wish the whip cream and meringue powder with high speed till stiff.
It took me sometimes to come out with decoration theme and idea. I researched a few websites such as Wilton and youtube. I don't have gumdrop, marshmallow, candy, different pattern of snowflake or color sugar to decorate kid favorite design. So I planned to do simple ones such as Reigning Princess designs for my cousin to blow candles and Swirl for the rest.

I was busy making frosting and mixing colors one at a time. When I did Swirl, I forget to release the pressure when finished as this was my first time doing Swirl (Wilton Tip #1M). That why, the top of Swirl was not nicely pointed, either tall or flat. After a while, I felt like doing some roses.So I used the larger rose tip(Wilton Tip #124) for larger petals.

After I had finished half of cupcakes decoration, my aunt called and asked me that she was coming to pick up the cupcakes. Oh gosh, I became panic and started to decorate whatever came into my mine. Those are rosette, pull-out star and drop flower. It was in a hurry and rosette (Wilton Tip #22) was not perfect. I did desert like plants with pull-out star (Wilton Tip #22). I made drop flower with Wilton Tip #106 and mine is not swirl drop flower.

I have finished everything around 6 pm. It took me almost half a day from baking to decoration and packing. I placed more than half of cupcakes in the 10x10 inches cake box and the rest was in the cake carrier. My aunt called me and said she will come later. Her husband came and got cupcakes 8 pm. My aunt gave me a call at 9 pm and said she was surprised the decorations and liked them.So I am very happy as they appreciated them.


  1. OMG, AMAZINGLY sis! i cant believe my eyes. Did you really make it? Can make one for me too?

  2. Sure, I will make one just for you when we meet next time. More coming soon, keep look out sis..

  3. Hoho... I will look forward to it.

  4. umm... cousin...it is not that i m very negative... it is really really amazing but your cup cake (last photo) look like goat shit... muahahha.... Do you want to make one for me??? (Noooooo... Thank you) hhahahah.....


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