Easy Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Last week my childhood friend was in town with her new baby and her sweet step-daughter, Carmen. Unfortunately, they weren’t in Baton Rouge to visit and instead were here for a liver biopsy procedure for my friend’s 5 month old little girl. I knew Carmen would get pretty bored having to hang out at the hospital overnight, so I whisked her away for some crafting and cupcake baking. Little did I know that she would persuade me to help her set up an impromptu cupcake stand….in my front yard. We offered yellow cake cupcakes with choice of homemade vanilla or an easy chocolate buttercream icing. We even topped a few with some cookies and cream sprinkles- those sold the fastest!
I taught her how to make a bunting garland and we matched her cupcake stand to her new apron.
Her step mom purchased her a new apron in anticipation of coming to visit, however, as they were in the hospital gift shop purchasing some balloons for the baby, Carmen spotted the Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake apron. Sensing Carmen’s apprehension about the upcoming procedure, a lady in the gift shop began talking to Carmen inquiring about her little sister and reassuring her that she would be ok. The lady’s husband was having his jaw removed as a result of his late stage cancer. They chatted about how cute the apron was, and much to her surprise, the anonymous lady in the gift shop, purchased the apron and slid the bag over to Carmen as she made her way back up to her husband’s room.
Cue the tears.
Moral of the story? No matter how bad you think you have it, someone else always has it worse. The kindness the gift shop lady was able to express in the middle of her personal battles is refreshing. And a reminder to me to be more kind to strangers as well.
It just so happened that the new apron also matched Carmen’s funky glasses and we quickly set out a chalkboard sign to alert the neighbors that we were selling cupcakes. I must say “Carmen’s Cupcakes” has quite a catchy ring to it.
We wanted everyone to know the cupcakes were fresh out the oven so we made some signage for that, too.
Carmen learned to make homemade buttercream, use the stand mixer and how piping bags work. She had no idea the assortment of icing tips I have on hand! She intentionally left her cupcake apron at my house for when she comes back next.
I foresee a cupcake truck in this girl’s future in just a few years!
I jazzed up a cupcake carrier (photos & DIY soon) and sent her home with the leftover cupcakes. Between her cupcake stand and a trip to her dad’s workplace, she made $36 off a dozen cupcakes! Obviously, if we were selling them for $1, you can do the math and see that she got quite a few tips.
I know I personally couldn’t pass up this cute of a cupcake stand. Or homemade cupcakes.
Or a monogrammed apron!
Carmen is quite the entrepreneur. I know of very few 10 year olds that would suggest a free beverage with purchase of a cupcake. We didn’t end up doing her marketing tactic (I was out of lemons for lemonade) but I bet if she were to try it the next time, it would be a hit. I mean, after all, you DO need something to wash down the cupcake.
Here’s the Easy Chocolate Buttercream Icing we used:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- 3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- Cream butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer; slowly add in the sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until well blended and smooth. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes or until stiff peaks begin to form. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
Because we weren’t making a ton of cupcakes, and rather than making 2 separate batches of icing (and really because I didn’t have 5 zillion sticks of butter), I made the above buttercream recipe without the cocoa powder to begin with. I scooped out half of it, then added in the cocoa powder to have both the basic vanilla and the chocolate. If you want to cheat like me, just be careful not to overbeat the cocoa powder. You have a small window to get it in there and get it blended, but not turn your buttercream into a sloppy mess.
PS: All you mamas out there who blog, bake and let your kids participate- bravo! I was so exhausted by the end of the day and got not one thing done that I needed to get done, however, if you asked me to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. In fact, Carmen is already plotting for her return trip and we’ve chatted about having a pie party. 🙂