Utah mother of five Janell Brown is at it again.
"One Sweet Year of Cupcakes: Delicious Flavors For Every Season" acts as a second edition to Brown's first cookbook, "One Sweet Cupcake: Professional Decorating and Recipe Secrets Made Easy." As in her first cookbook, Brown turns baking cupcakes from scratch into a simple step-by-step process.
Brown's latest cookbook is organized by seasons, with cupcake flavors for spring, summer, fall and winter. Just as in Brown's first cookbook, each cupcake is based off of her simple vanilla cupcake recipe. This common format then changes slightly for each cupcake.
Helpful tips are provided at the beginning of the book, including suggestions for decorating, types of tools to use and the best time of year for different ingredients. Brown also includes a list of tips on how to best use basic kitchen ingredients, such as the best type of butter for cooking.
This cookbook also contains a range of flavors, from simple to extreme. For example, in the spring portion of the book, Brown includes recipes for a chocolate strawberry cupcake and a coconut cream cupcake. In the same section, she also includes recipes for a tangerine or orange cream cupcake.
In the summer portion of the book, recipes range from root beer float, banana split and cookie dough cupcakes, to Neapolitan or Chocolate Mud. Recipes in the fall section range from peach cobbler to White Chocolate Orange Cranberry, and the winter section includes recipes such as Red Hot Velvet and Chocolate-Dipped Macaroon.
At the end of the book is a list of a variety of frosting flavors, which bakers can mix and match with different cupcakes, although one type of frosting is recommended with each cupcake recipe.
Several improvements from Brown's first cookbook were made in this second book. Each recipe has an estimated cook time, rather than instructing to cook until golden brown. Also, the frosting recipe amounts were cut in half because the first book contained frosting recipes that made too much.
Overall, Brown's cookbook is another success as she makes baking from scratch simple and easy. The flavors are unique, and if bakers follow Brown's tips, their cupcakes will look professional.
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
This is a fan favorite. Moist root beer cake topped with a scoop of vanilla bean buttercream brings back summer memories in every bite.
Makes: 24 cupcakes
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup root beer
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons pure vanilla
2 tablespoons root beer extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1¼ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add sour cream, root beer, applesauce, oil, eggs, vanilla and root beer extract. Mix until ingredients are well blended and smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Turn the stand mixer on to low and add dry ingredients until just incorporated. The batter should be smooth.
5. Line two standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Fill each cup 2⁄3 full with batter. I like to use an ice cream scoop for perfect measuring every time. Bake until tops spring back to the touch of your finger and edges are just golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes.
6. Remove from tins and cool completely before filling or icing.
Finishing touches: Ice with Vanilla Bean Buttercream.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1 pound butter, softened
2 pounds plus 1½ cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1½ tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
1. In a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light, completely smooth and fluffy.
2. Turn the mixer speed to low and add half of the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Alternately add remaining powdered sugar and milk until smooth and creamy.
3. Add vanilla, vanilla bean paste and salt. Beat until smooth.
— "One Sweet Year of Cupcakes: Delicious Flavors For Every Season," by Janell Brown
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