Glitz and Glamor

I must say, I have some awesome friends. One in particular loves movies just as much (if not more) than my boyfriend and I. Hard to believe, given the fact that we go to the movies around twice per month (sometimes more!).

Well, this friend of mine hosts some fun movie-themed parties in the — get this — movie theatre room (!!!) in his apartment’s rec area. On Oscar night, he hosted a red carpet party with… well… betting.

I haven’t watched the Oscars since Lord of the Rings was nominated. I’d actually watch the entire show from beginning to end just to see if it won best picture and if Peter Jackson would win best director. (It took him until the third movie to win, ugh!)

To make it interesting, as I mentioned, there was betting at this party. $5 into the pot, you get a ballot. Whoever guesses the most right wins the pot.

I lost my $5. But I ate well, and that’s what makes me truly happy!

Wine, baked goods, snacks, popcorn… all good! But, what did I bring?

These bad boys! Now, I’m not going to post the cupcake recipe. It was okay, not great, not special… edible, chocolatey, and pretty good. Just not blog-worthy, really.

Now, this frosting… it’s more than worthy of this post. It is officially my favorite frosting ever. I thought I loved buttercream, then I met this frosting.

If you like frostings that are over-the-top with sweetness, this isn’t for you. If you want to coat your kitchen in powdered sugar, look elsewhere. This frosting is grown up. A fluffy whipped-cream texture, perfectly pipe-able, spreadable, and lick-able off of a spoon. If you use clear extract or vanilla beans, it will be a striking white color, as the blogger I’m crediting for this recipe shows in her post.

Funny thing is, I initially chose this recipe because I had no powdered sugar on hand and needed frosting. Also, it can easily be adapted to be made vegan. Bottom line: get ready to go ga-ga when you make this stuff.

Seriously Awesome Frosting
Makes about 4 cups, enough to frost 24+ cupcakes, easily.
From this genius recipe.

  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated (not powdered!) sugar
  • Combine the flour and milk in a saucepan on medium-high heat. It will start to clump together in a dough-like consistency. (This is called a roux and is the base for creamy things like alfredo and other cheesy sauces.) Put in the fridge to cool.

    In a stand mixer (or a bowl using a hand-mixer) whisk together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffly and all of the sugar crystals have dissolved. Add the cooled roux and whisk vigorously (!!!) until fluffy like whipped cream. (This took me about 2 minutes of whipping.)

    Taste it. Love it. Frost with it. Eat leftovers using just a spoon. Put a glob of it on top of ice cream or sandwiched between cookies. Enjoy its divinity.

I rolled my mini-cupcakes around in some glittery silver sugar to fit the glamorous theme of the Oscars. (I wish I had gold though!)

Some comments on the frosting recipe say that it does not hold up well when it’s not cold. These cupcakes sat at room temperature for about 2 hours and were perfectly fine. They were also delicious the next day when I took the leftovers to work.

The perfect frosting? I think so!

The good, the bad and the tasty.

It’s our intern’s 20th birthday, so I took the liberty of being a good role model (a whopping 5 years older than her, but whatever) and giving her a nice gift – food!

Cupcakes, to be specific.

I asked her what her favorite baked good is and she gave me a wordy response that included “chocolate cake or cupcakes” and “strawberries” somewhere in it. Well, following the crazy cupcake trend that’s been spreading throughout the world, I made a nice batch of chocolate-strawberry cupcakes for her.

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I used this recipe for the chocolate cupcakes but substituted mayonnaise in place of the sour cream. (You’ve got to work with what you’ve got! You can also use yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo.)

For the buttercream frosting, I basically followed my go-to recipe. I used to be awful at making buttercream frosting, but I soon learned some tricks:

  1. Don’t be scared of butter! I used to try to use margerine, but it never held and would melt like crazy. No matter how much powdered sugar I’d add, it would never get stiff. Use butter. (I will post, in due time, a recipe for vegan “butter”cream frosting.)
  2. You don’t need to be exact. I used to measure every half or quarter cup of powdered sugar… every single 1/8 teaspoon of extract. No need! Temperature, age of the butter, how long the sugar has been sitting in your pantry, etc. all affects how things will turn out, so scrutinizing your measurements with something as simple as frosting is a waste of time. Just taste and test as you go, that’s it.
  3. Get a good mixer. Before I had my Kitchenaid mixer, I had a standing mixer I got for free from my boyfriend’s mom, who got it for cheap at a garage sale. It did its job for a while, but it took forever for frosting (or anything, for that matter!) to come together. Since I was very very young, I dreamed of owning a Kitchenaid stand mixer, and finally I was able to get one after winning a gift card to Amazon.com. I love it, and it makes mixing, beating, whipping, etc. infinitely easier!

Now, onto the recipe.

Stupidly Simple Buttercream
Makes enough to frost & fill 12 cupcakes… at least!

  • 1 stick of butter @ room temperature
  • roughly 1/3 of a 5lb bag of powdered sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • a drizzle of whipping cream

In a standing mixer (or using a hand-held mixer… or using a whisk, if you’re super-strong) beat the butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Keeping the mixer on medium-high, add the powdered sugar in small batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Continue adding until the frosting is stiff but spreadable.

Add the whipping cream while the mixer is still running. Add powdered sugar if you notice the frosting is too wet and/or won’t hold its shape. Frost cooled cake or cupcakes. Lick the beater until clean, too.

Tip: To get your butter at room temperature in a pinch, put the stick in the microwave for 10-12 seconds.

I made my batch into strawberry buttercream by adding a few heaping spoonfuls of strawberry jam (100% fruit, no added sugar or other garbage). You can use any jam, obviously, to make custom fruity frostings.

You can make chocolate buttercream by adding about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder before you add the cream.

Replace the vanilla extract with any extract you’d like to make it unique. Peppermint, butter, almond, orange… get creative!

I decided to add a little finesse to my cupcakes by not only filling each cupcake with a little of the buttercream, but I also dunked the tops of each in chocolate ganache before piping the frosting on top.

Booya.

Definitely not health food… and you can bet that after licking the cake batter bowl clean and licking my Kitchenaid mixer’s whisk attachment free of frosting that I went for a 40-minute run up and down stadium stairs! All the pain was worth seeing my coworkers – especially the birthday girl! – enjoy the treats.