I love baking cupcakes and serving them for dessert when there are more than a few guests, especially when children are involved. Cupcakes are quick to make, easy to transport (my favorite carrier is this collapsible one from Amazon.com), and guests can help themselves instead of me having to dish out each portion and clean up while everyone else starts enjoying their dessert.
When I came across Jenn McKinlay’s book, BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF (Cupcake Bakery Mystery), I immediately wanted to read it…and I wasn’t disappointed! Melanie Cooper and Angie Delaura are long-time best friends and co-owners of Fairy Tale Cupcakes. Their friend, and Angie’s secret crush, Tate, is their financial backer. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Mel’s mom, Joyce, announces she has a date and needs her daughter’s assistance to find the perfect “drop-dead” gorgeous dress. Unfortunately that is what happens to Joyce’s date, he is found dead, murdered, floating in his hot tub. The detective immediately suspects Joyce, especially when secrets the murdered man was hiding, come to light. It’s up to Mel, Angie and Tate to find the real killer and save Joyce and hope that none of them becomes the next victim.
BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF was a fun read. The characters interact well together and at times, their dialog is very humorous…something I greatly enjoy when reading a mystery. Plus all the cupcake and frosting recipes at the back of the book made me want to immediately run to the kitchen and start baking! I especially liked the Orange Dreamsicle cupcake recipe – light vanilla buttercream and refreshing citrus cupcake – perfect for a hot summer day, especially with 4th of July festivities right around the corner or any time you want a change from plain vanilla!
Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes
An orange cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten until stiff
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon orange extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk (or whipping cream)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, zest and orange extract in a large mixing bowl and cream these ingredients together thoroughly.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a separate mixing bowl.
Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients a third at a time, alternately with the orange juice.
Fold in the beaten egg whites.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners until half full.
Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and vanilla extract together.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
Scrape sides of bowl often.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
For best results, keep icing in refrigerator when not in use.
This icing can be stored up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
Makes 3 cups of icing.
To make the Dreamsicle frosting swirls, tint 1/4 of the frosting light orange.
Fit a disposable pastry bag with a large star tip.
Place the 1/3 of the orange frosting down one side of the pastry bag then fill with 1/3 of the remaining vanilla buttercream. Refill pastry bag as needed, until all cupcakes are frosted.
Using even pressure, pipe large swirls onto the top of the cupcakes.
- Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold but whip up better when they are room temperature. Separate the egg whites as soon as you remove from the refrigerator but then allow them to come to room temperature while you collect the rest of the ingredients. Then beat the egg whites until stiff right before you need them.