Cupcake Rampage: Frosting 101

o minis
Mini vegan orange vanilla cupcakes with orange buttercream, adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

Even though I’m only a recent arrival to the home baking scene, I’m an even more recent convert to the merits of frosting. Like any newbie fumbling and grasping about for a culinary bra clasp, I started out with a battery of failures, but once I got the basics and the wheels came off, an iconoclastic cockiness set in. Paper liners? We don’t need no stupid cupcake diapers! We’ll bake these bad boys commando! Sprinkles? Say “sprinkles” again! I dare you! I double dare you! Frosting? Pah! Frosting is the opiate of the baking world! People’s tongues have become numb with sugar and can no longer appreciate the subtlety of pure, unadulterated, naked cupcake meat!

Of course, I learned my lesson. Paper liners don’t just ease cleanup, they can provide a color accent and give people that Christmas morning feeling of unwrapping a gift just for them. Sprinkles and other garnishes may be little more than pieces of flair on the uniform of a baked good, but remember, half of your score comes from presentation. And frosting? Well, if cupcakes make the world go around, then frosting is the axis upon which it spins.

Making your own frosting is one of the easiest things in the world to do. While it isn’t necessarily cheaper than store-bought frosting, it does allow you to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients that go into it. My basic guide, after the jump…

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