Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Soda Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I can already tell that this is going to be my "go to" cupcake recipe. It's a very simple recipe in terms of baking and flavor. It is perfect for occasions when you want the decorative value of the cupcakes to be the focus.

The cake requires only two ingredients: one box of cake mix and one can of soda. Three, if you want to use food coloring. Don't ask me how it works, but it does. And it yields an extremely delicious and moist cake with less work and calories. Who would have thought that you could further simplify a boxed cake mix?!?! I love it! The only thing to keep in mind is that the cake box says it will make 24 cupcakes but this soda method only yields 12.

For the two sets of cupcakes that I have made so far, I chose to use white cake and a diet lemon-lime soda. I definitely plan to experiment with other soda/cake combinations. White cake with grape soda or raspberry soda. Vanilla cake with root beer, coke, or orange soda. Chocolate cake with cream soda. Strawberry cake with pineapple or cream soda.  

The frosting is homemade. I tried several different recipes for a vanilla buttercream and I finally decided that this one was a keeper based on my own palate and the feedback from others. Every time I make cupcakes with this frosting, people tell me that it's absolutely delicious and ask me for the recipe. I think it's the perfect texture (sort of light and fluffy but thick enough to hold up when piped on to a cupcake) and a wonderful balance of flavors (it's very sugary but you can still taste the butter and vanilla).

As for the decorations, my sister had been talking about these rainbow cupcakes for weeks so I decided to make them for her birthday. I also think they were very fitting for St. Patrick's Day. Rainbows and pots of gold and leprechauns, ya know. Plus I put shamrock sprinkles on them, which makes any baked good festive! I included the technique for making the layers in the recipe. It's pretty tedious but the result is totally worth it.

Ken being a spoiled birthday girl :)
The second cupcakes I made were for The Hunger Games movie. I dyed half of the batter orange and half red and then swirled them. Then I dyed the frosting orange and topped with some red sugar sprinkles. I was channeling both Peeta, the baker, and Katniss, the girl on fire.

You should make these and go CrAzY decorating :)

Rainbow Soda Cupcakes (12 cupcakes) adapted from Budget Bytes and Baked Bree
For the cupcakes
·         White cupcake liners
·         1 box of white cake mix
·         12 oz can of diet lemon-lime soda
·         Food color
For the frosting
  • 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons of whipping cream/half and half/milk
  • Sprinkles
1.       Preheat your oven according to the directions on the cake mix box. In a large bowl, mix the contents of the box of cake mix and 12 oz. of soda.
2.       Divide the cake mix as equally as possible into 6 small bowls.
3.       Dye each bowl of batter a different color of the rainbow.
  •  To make purple: 9 red and 6 blue drops
  • To make blue: 12 drops
  • To make green: 12 drops
  • To make yellow: 12 drops
  • To make orange: 12 yellow and 4 red drops
  • To make red: 18 drops
4.       Starting with the purple, put about ½ to ¾ of a tablespoon at the bottom of each cupcake liner. Use your finger to completely spread the batter over the bottom of the cupcake liner. Continue with the rest of the colors in rainbow order. Make sure to spread each layer all the way to the sides of the cupcake liner and push the batter into the liner without mixing layers. This is relatively tedious but it will ensure that you will see all of the colored layers when looking at the cupcakes.
5.       Bake according to the directions on the box.
6.       For the frosting: In a standing mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter. Mix in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
7.       When the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe or spread on the frosting.

all of the ingredients. can you believe it?!?


look at those layers!!!
these would be the treat at the end of my Irish rainbow :)
magical remnants of a rainbow cupcake that has been devoured!

fire cupcake batter

girl on fire cupcakes and mockingjays :)

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