Learning to bake fearlessly <3

Posts tagged ‘candy’

Konpeito cupcakes

This week was rough on the baking front. I started out full of enthusiasm, ready to tackle a cupcake idea I’d had for weeks, and excited. I put on Stargate (mmmmmm Jaye Davidson, the perfect baking companion) and set out to make cupcakes.

It did not go as planned. We all make mistakes, and I saw this exact one on Cupcake Champions not long after–putting in baking soda when baking powder was called for. And of course I didn’t realize it til after the cupcakes were baked. So when I bit into them to find a confection that tasted more like my vanilla hand soap (protip: too much baking soda makes cupcakes that taste like bitter soap), I was discouraged. I may have pouted at the boytoy for a bit.

But, gotta get back on the horse! I tried again this morning and was met with sweet vanilla success! This cupcake is a bit dense and thick, but tasty nonetheless, and if you’re after a more dense, moist crumb, this recipe will serve admirably. I only changed the frosting a bit, to make it less sugary sweet.

As for the pretty little candies on top? They’re these!

Little Japanese candies called konpeito. They’re essentially rock candy balls, sometimes flavored, but I like them best plain. I was introduced to them through Sailor Moon when I was a kid! But the more famous anime association with them comes from Spirited Away, where the soot spirits loved the little candies.

I order them online and I love them. And they look great as cupcake decorations!

Vanilla Cupcakes
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup milk
From Annie’s Eats

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan with cute liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the mixer bowl after each one, and then the vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, add together the flour, baking powder (NOT soda!) and salt, and whisk together. Add half of it to the butter mixture, mix it up on low, and then the milk and the other half of the flour. The batter should be thick. Scoop it into the cupcake liners–bear in mind it rises only a little–and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp heavy cream
Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Makes more than enough for a dozen cupcakes

Once your butter is nice and soft, cut it into cubes and whip it on medium in the bowl of a stand mixer til smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and whip til the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape down the bowl and keep going until the ingredients are all combined. Then add the vanilla and cream, keep whipping on medium until it’s incorporated, then add coloring if desired, increase speed to medium-high, and keep whipping until the buttercream is light and fluffy.

I used a large closed-star tip to pipe the frosting on, and this was my first time using an actual frosting bag instead of my mechanical one! I felt very accomplished. Enjoy!


DIY sugar heart candies

I’ve always been the sort of strange child who eats sugar plain and loves it. When I was tiny, my grandmother had to keep me out of the sugar dish because I would attack it with a spoon. So, now that I’m an adult, I buy sugar candies all the time because now I can eat them anytime I want. So when I found this recipe to make my own, I was super excited. Cause you know, blue hearts are kind of my thing. I intended to make them rainbow too, but…that’s a LOT of sugar. So next time I’ll halve my batches and make all six colors! You can make these as party favors or cake decorations, or just eat them plain like I am.

These are super easy to make, I finished in probably half an hour. And they’re yummy too! Be sure and save a few for a recipe I’ll be posting in a few days.

DIY Sugar Candies

Adapted from Wedding Chicks

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp egg white
1/4 tsp room temp water
Paste or powder food coloring in whatever shade you like

Preheat your oven to 200 F. Combine your ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is evenly distributed and looks like wet sand. If it’s too dry, add a tiny bit more water or egg white, but don’t overwet or it’ll dissolve and be impossible to cut. Spread the sugar mixture out on a piece of parchment paper to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with a tiny cookie or fondant cutter; if it’s the right consistency, it’ll cling to the cutter. Hold it over a silpat or parchment paper-lined pan and tap gently to release it.

Bake for 10 minutes (long enough to cook them slightly, not long enough that the sugar melts) and let cool before eating or packaging.

If you’re making more than one color, save the cutout leftovers and mix them on another parchment paper for a tie-dyed marbled look!