Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patty's Day Cupcakes and Fluffy Old-Fashioned Frosting

Yesterday I was totally in the St. Patrick's day mood. I wore green, drank green Powerade, brought my coffee in a Green travel mug and baked these yummy mini cupcakes. I was lucky and found a bag of just green colored M&M's so I didn't have to pick through the multi-colored pack like I usually do. The mini-cupcakes are just plain yellow cake from the classic Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today cookbook. It's my go-to cookbook. Easy recipes, fast to throw together and It's never failed me yet.

If you are looking for a fluffy, not too sweet, very smooth frosting, try this one that I adapted from It uses flour to thicken it (so you don't have to use as much sugar). I had to make an adaptation because it was too thin the way the original recipe was written, but I LOVED it after I added a bit of icing sugar to give it some body.

Fluffy Old-Fashioned Frosting
Generously frosts 12 cupcakes | adapted from

3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup real butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups icing sugar *(my addition, not in original recipe)

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. I think this is the critical point for any of you who have had problems with this recipe. I have a feeling people are under-cooking this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.

*The orignal recipe didn't call for icing sugar but I needed to add about 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar at the end to get the consistency I wanted.

1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.
2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!
3. Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.


Holly said...

These are adorable! I like the sprinkles;)
The Peppered Pantry~

Jennifer said...

These cupcakes are most festive and fun!

Jencrafted said...

Very nice, Tia! I normally shy away from green foods (except vegetables) but your decadently green St Patty's cupcakes look like something that I'd love to bite into!
And I agree with you - always, always use good quality butter!!

Follow Me Foodie said...

Wow you are a dedicated baker!! Special St. Patty's post! Love it! Don't let your talent go to should have a giant store!

Yen said...

Thank you for stopping by to comment Tia! Your blog looks wonderful, and I'm going to -have- to try one of your recipes some time.