My friend, Brooke Vandever, is a photographer and she was needing some food photos to round out her portfolio. Where does one go for food???? The Gravy Company! So, we did a planning session and then a couple days later, we got busy. It was a full day of work. Let me tell you, a photographer works hard. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was surprised to see how much equipment and props were used. It requires the patience of Job, the eye of an artist, and the stamina of an athelete. I admired her work and she admired mine. All of the photos in today’s blog are Brooke’s. Except for the cake mix box, that was mine.
I used cake mixes when we did the photo shoot. We have been having extremely hot and humid weather and I didn’t want to be in the kitchen baking any longer than I had to. The Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe cake mixes were on sale at my favorite grocery store. So, that’s what I bought. Thinking I was only making cupcakes for looks, a box mix would be just fine. I doctored up the mix and the end result, they tasted as good as they looked! I will be doing this again. I loved the cake mixes I used.
For the chocolate cupcakes, I used the Dark Chocolate Fudge flavor mix. All I did to the cake mix was to replace the water the directions called for, with an equal amount of brewed coffee that was cooled. I happened to be using the Starbuck’s House Blend coffee that day. I followed the rest of the directions for the other ingredients.
To make the very mini cupcakes, I just used a teaspoon measuring spoon to dip one spoonful of the batter into the cups of the paper lined pan. I baked them for 10 minutes. Can you believe how cute they were? They were a hit. I frosted some with butter cream and some with chocolate butter cream.
The chocolate butter cream frosting was delicious. However, I didn’t measure the Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder (sorry). I just added it to the frosting, by the teaspoon and mixed and added more cocoa powder until it tasted just like chocolate milk I drank as a kid. The kind made with Nestle’s chocolate milk powder. In fact, I just dumped about half of the butter cream frosting I had already made back into the mixing bowl and then added the teaspoons of cocoa powder until it tasted like milk chocolate. A perfect topping to the chocolate fudge cupcake.
I sure have tossed around a lot of brand names today. Have no fear. None of those companies even know I exist. I just like their products. I will post a couple more blogs with more of Brooke’s pictures and how I did the lemon cupcakes and the cherry cupcakes.
Here is the recipe I use for the basic butter cream frosting. What I like about it is how versatile it is. I can add lemon zest and some lemon juice and have a delightful lemon frosting. I can add unsweetened cocoa powder to the finished frosting and come up with a chocolate frosting. I have colored the frosting and added a bit more powdered sugar to stiffen up the frosting. Then, used it to decorate many a birthday cake. It is also good on sugar cookies, graham crackers, cinnamon rolls, and an occasional Oreo cookie.
Good For Anything Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 pound bag of powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
7 Tablespoons water
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons of the water. Beat on high. Alternately, add some powdered sugar and the water a Tablespoon at a time, beating on medium until all is incorporated. Beat on high for 2 minutes. The frosting should be very light and fluffy. I used a stand mixer. I am guessing that the beating times will be a bit longer for a hand mixer. It may not be as fluffy using a hand mixer, but it will taste just as yummy. Store unused frosting in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.