Baby Shower Baking Prep

Today I went to class from 8AM-9:20AM (I am taking an abnormal psych class at SMC, local community college). I love my class but I couldn't wait to come home and get baking. I am hosting a baby shower with 5 other gals this coming Saturday and I have agreed to make the dessert. I decided on a cupcake tower with a topper cake, an idea I saw on Pink Cake Box's website. So today I was testing recipes. I made 30 vanilla cupcakes, 30 chocolate cupcakes, 1 white 8in three layer cake, a swiss meringue buttercream and a more traditional buttercream recipe that I found in a William's Sonoma cookbook. The cupcakes, both cholcoate and vanilla turned out great. My BF, Teddy tired both with the SMBC and loved it with the chocolate cupcakes but not the Vanilla but he loved the William's Sonoma buttercream with the vanilla cupcakes so that's the plan. I started baking at 10Am and didn't stop until 10:30PM when I realized I hadn't eaten since my bowl of cottage cheese at 9:30 this morning. I am topping the topper cake with a Fondant/Gumpaste figurine that looks like the mom-to-be so this evening I finished my baking day with a few final touches on her. Photos coming soon!

Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 30 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar (I use baker's superfine sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cupcakes (With Valrhona Cocoa)

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (Actual recipe calls for 3/4 but I substituted 1/8 C. Valrhona unsweetened Cocoa Powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3.CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

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