BEST CAKE RECIPES: DO IT YOURSELF


By Isabel Wilkins

 

About the contributor: Isabel Wilkins is a New York-based party planner, specializing in bridal showers, baby showers and birthday parties. She has a teenage son.

 

      I love to bake. I love the way my kitchen smells when there's cake in the oven. I love the way my son smiles when he tastes my desserts.

    I didn't attend culinary school, but my lifetime total baking hours may come close to the training time for a professional pastry chef. I have baked hundreds of cakes, using recipes from lots of different cookbooks. After years of experimenting and customized tweaking, I've finally found what I believe are the three best cake batters, that can please the toughest critics.

     I found the three recipes below from three different sources:  Black Magic Cake from Hershey's 100th Anniversary Cookbook; Carrot Cake from Better Homes & Gardens; and Red Velvet Cake by Paula Dean from the Food Network's website.

     I'm sharing these three recipes with my own slight alterations, but I'll also provide the original recipe's measurements. I often use cake recipes to make cupcakes, which just means I shorten their bake times. I like to use an ice cream scooper for easy and even pouring into the cupcake pan. To prevent an over baked and dry cake, I use a toothpick, and start checking for doneness at the minimum time required. For a high-design look, I use decorative liners, sprinkles, nuts, fruits and candy. I also mix and match – take the frosting recipe from one cupcake and put it on another. Finally, I use YouTube for video tutorials on decorating cakes.

 

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

Recipe from Paula Dean, Food Network's Website

 

INGREDIENTS

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

• 1 1/2 cups sugar

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

• 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

• 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

• 2 large eggs, room temperature

• 2 tablespoons red food coloring

• 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

DIRECTIONS

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) cupcake pans with cupcake papers. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet (in three parts) and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins - about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven, and cool completely before frosting.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

 

INGREDIENTS

• 1 package of cream cheese, softened (Paula's recipe calls for 1 pound)

• 1 stick butter, softened (Paula's recipe calls for 2 sticks)

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (Paula's recipe calls for 4 cups)

 

DIRECTIONS

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until very light and fluffy. Sprinkle chopped pecans.

 


BLACK MAGIC CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Recipe from Hershey's 100th Anniversary Cookbook

 

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups sugar

• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

• 2 teaspoons baking soda

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 2 eggs

• 1 cup buttermilk 

• 1 cup strong black coffee 

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (12-cup) cupcake pans with cupcake papers. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting. 

 

Buttercream Chocolate Frosting:

 

INGREDIENTS

• 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

• 3 cups powdered sugar (Hershey recipe calls for 2 2/3 cups only)

• 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

• 1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso powder (Hershey recipe DOES NOT include this ingredient. I added this ingredient to enhance the chocolate in the frosting)

• 1/3 cup milk

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract        

 

DIRECTIONS

In a medium mixing bowl stir together powdered sugar, cocoa and instant espresso powder. Beat butter in another medium bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar, cocoa and coffee mix alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. 

 

CARROT CUPCAKES

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

 

INGREDIENTS

• 4 eggs, lightly beaten

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 cups sugar

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 3 cups finely shredded carrots* (lightly packed)

• 3/4 cup oil

• 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (see Paula Dean's Cream Cheese Frosting above)

• 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS

 

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line 2 (12-cup) cupcake pans with cupcake papers. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda, then set aside. In another bowl combine eggs, carrots, and oil. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans & cool thoroughly before frosting. 

 

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting (see Paula Dean's Cream Cheese Frosting above) and sprinkle chopped pecans over frosting. 

 

 

 





Houston family news links

6/8/2017 12:56:00 AM
BABY TEETH SHOW HOW EXPOSURE TO VARIOUS METALS MAY BE LINKED TO AUTISM, STUDY FINDS

6/8/2017 12:46:00 AM
PUERTO RICO DECLARES ZIKA OUTBREAK OVER, CDC MAINTAINS TRAVEL WARNING

6/8/2017 12:43:00 AM
AN EGG A DAY APPEARS TO HELP YOUNG CHILDREN GROW TALLER

sign up for calendar alerts

Type Numeric Code Below:
CAPTCHA Generator
features