What is your best advice for M.O.Ms who want to bake (cookies/cake/cupcakes) from scratch?
It’s really not as intimidating as you might think. If you find a great recipe and have the ingredients stocked, it doesn’t take that much longer to get a home-made cupcake or cookie.
Okay, it takes longer than break and bake, but it’s also more rewarding. (If I’m going to eat the extra calories, I want it to be worth it!)
What is the key to decorating?
Practice. I used to work at a bakery and when it was slow the decorators used to have us practice writing Happy Birthday, over and over again until it was legible. Once you can write Happy Birthday, and pipe a border, you can pretty much make any cake look professional.
Kitchen must-have or book ‘to cook by’
My must haves – disposable decorating bags (because the clean-up is the worst part of decorating), a large French tip (found at Bake it Pretty http://www.bakeitpretty.com/products/French-Giant-Pastry-Tip.html) it will make any cupcake look pretty, and Pure Vanilla extract – if you’re going to bake from scratch use real, not imitation, flavor!
Recipe for our M.O.Ms to Enjoy
Amy Sedaris's Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. Mix well.
Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Should produce 18- 24 cupcakes
Confetti Cakes Cupcake Frosting Recipe (my favorite):
Unsalted butter – 1 cup (2 sticks; 8 ounces)
Confectioners’ sugar – 8 cups (28 ounces)
Milk – 1/2 cup (4 ounces)
Pure vanilla extract – 2 tablespoons (I also add the seeds from one vanilla bean because I like the little specks)
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, breathe the butter on medium with speed until smooth.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Scrape the bowl thoroughly.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and the vanilla.
Add to the butter-sugar mixture. Set the mixer to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, adding as much as you need to achieve a smooth and stiff consistency.
Use immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 10 days.
Meet our M.O.M Baking Contributor, Sandy Arevalo
Firefly Confections founder and certifiable M.O.M
"From custom decorated sugar cookies to our Signature Chocolate Chip cookies and Cupcakes, we’re mixing together equal parts imagination and deliciousness to create the perfect sweet treat for you!"