Italian Meringue Buttercream

Italian Meringue Buttercream | Revamperate Italian Meringue Buttercream | Revamperate
If you’ve never tried Italian meringue buttercream, you’re in for a treat. It’s pretty much what it sounds like – meringue + buttercream. And it’s deliciously different. Based on the research I did, some people call this the “real buttercream” but I think they taste completely different. Oddly, I find Italian meringue to be more buttery than my classic buttercream recipes, and I have to say I still prefer my vanilla buttercream, but this is a great recipe for when you want to try something different. It pairs well with almost any flavor, and you can add flavors to just like you can with traditional buttercream frosting.

I was pretty intimidated by Italian meringue at first, but it’s actually not that difficult if you take it slow. It’s great for piping too because it’s really creamy. I found mine similar to a cream cheese frosting consistency and that made it perfectly spreadable.

Ingredients (frosts 24 cupcakes):

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of butter, chopped and cold
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

You will also need a candy thermometer, but you can make the buttercream without it if you don’t have one.

First, cut up cold butter into a squares and set aside.

Italian Meringue Buttercream | Revamperate
In a small saucepan on the stove, bring the water and sugar to a boil on medium heat. Use the thermometer to determine when it reaches about 240 degrees (soft-ball stage) and remove from heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll have to eyeball when the sugar water reaches a light syrup consistency.

While the water and sugar heats, combine the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix the egg whites on low speed until foamy, add in the pinch of cream of tartar and then mix on medium until peaks begin to form, but do not overbeat. Stop before the egg whites appear dry. With the mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly pour in the sugar syrup. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes until some of the steam has subsided.

Italian Meringue Buttercream | Revamperate
Keep the mixer running on medium-high speed, and add in the butter one cube at a time as it mixes. Continue to beat the buttercream on high and add in the vanilla extract. Beat until the frosting begins to peak. This will take some time and you’ll see a drastic change when the butter is fully incorporated. If it curdles, continue mixing for a few more minutes and you’ll see it smooth out.

Pipe the buttercream onto cupcakes or spread on a cake for a beautiful and delicious topping. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Frosting

Brown Sugar Frosting | Revamperate Brown Sugar Frosting | Revamperate
My new coworker Molly celebrated her birthday last week, so I brought in cupcakes to celebrate the occasion, and I’m happy to say, they were very well-received. It probably goes without saying that it gets a little confusing having Holly and Molly in the same office…across an aisle from each other. We get called each other’s name several times a day. On top of it all, there’s another Holly on our event planning committee, so I’m constantly thinking people are talking to me when they’re not. It gets awkward sometimes. Oh well…on to the cupcakes!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – brown sugar is so under-appreciated. It’s the amazing secret ingredient no one ever notices. I appreciate you, brown sugar. The smell, the taste, all of it. This brown sugar frosting recipe takes a little more preparation than your average vanilla buttercream, but it’s oh so worth it. I paired it with some standard spice cake, but it would be delicious with brown sugar cupcakes or even classic vanilla cupcakes.

Ingredients (frosts 15-18 cupcakes):

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (can substitute light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan on the stove, stirring with a whisk. Use a whisk, not a spatula to stir throughout. Once melted, stir in the brown sugar on medium heat and stir continuously until it bubbles a bit on the sides. Pour in the milk and cream (you can forgo the cream and use more milk). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after 1-2 minutes and let cool on the stove before moving to the fridge to cool further. At this point, it should be very dark and fluid. The more it cools, the thicker it will get.

Brown Sugar Frosting | Revamperate Brown Sugar Frosting | Revamperate
Once cooled, it will have a consistency more like cream. Move the brown sugar mixture to a mixing bowl, and whisk in the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Add the vanilla and continue to mix until the frosting is light and creamy. It won’t be fluffy like your average buttercream. Instead it will be very smooth. Pipe the brown sugar frosting onto cooled cupcakes (I definitely recommend spice cake). Top with a sprinkle of brown sugar and enjoy!

M&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes

M&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | RevamperateM&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | Revamperate
A big thing these days is finding creative ways to announce the sex of your baby to be, and I’ve seen some pretty impressive and creative ideas floating around Pinterest over the past year. A common way people share their big news is surprise inside cupcakes, which house colorful candy in the middle that reveal the baby’s gender (a.ka. blue or pink candy). Well, they’re not just for baby announcements, of course. Sometimes they’re fun to make just because or for birthdays or other celebrations.

As I still had a million M&Ms left in my cabinet, I thought I’d create a celebration. Who needs an occasion, right? The bonus to surprise inside cupcakes is that they’re actually incredibly easy to make.

All you need are:

After you bake a batch of cupcakes, let them cool completely. Push down into the middle of a cupcake with the corer, press the lever and pull out. It should leave a fairly large hole in your cupcake and pull out the piece of cake that once filled out. Set that piece aside.

M&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | Revamperate M&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | Revamperate
Fill the hole with M&Ms! All the way to the top. Then stuff that extra piece of cake on top to hide it – it’s totally okay if it doesn’t look pretty. It’s not supposed to at this point. Transfer your frosting to a piping bag with tip, and swirl frosting onto the top of the cupcakes, hiding the lumpy hallowed cavity. No one will ever know! Garish with some extra M&Ms just because and serve.

As soon as your friends and family bite into these babies, they’ll be surprised with colorful candy. Have fun!

M&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | Revamperate M&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | Revamperate

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting | Revamperate Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting | Revamperate

One of the sad (but also great) things about Southern California is that it doesn’t get what most people call “cold” here. To me it gets very cold. As soon as it hits 60 degrees, I’m bundled up with the heater on, but I realize that’s not normal for everyone else. This past week the temperatures have finally dropped here, and I can’t walk around my apartment without slippers and a sweatshirt on, but I have to admit it’s nice to feel like it’s actually winter. When I was visiting my family for Christmas, the temperatures actually dropped into the 30s, which is pretty darn cold for SoCal. Needless to say, we slept under 4 blankets with socks and sweatshirts on. It definitely kept us cozy, but I have no idea how you East Coasters do it.

To make up for the cold weather, it’s nice to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and whipped cream. It really doesn’t get better than a hot beverage on a cold, dreary day…until you add a cupcake!

These hot chocolate cupcakes topped with fluffy marshmallow frosting are the perfect treat for those cold days and are extra delicious paired with a mug of hot chocolate. Bonus: they’re made with real brewed hot chocolate! I have to say, I’m very proud of how these cupcakes came out because it seemed to be a toss up when I saw the finished cupcake batter still looking very thin, but that turned out to be a very good thing. You’ll notice though, as I will also mention later, these cupcakes do not rise as much as traditional cupcakes because of the liquid proportions. They taste smooth and moist like you want in a cupcake, but you need to fill the liners a bit more than usual because they won’t rise as much as you’d expect.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting | Revamperate Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting | Revamperate
Cupcake ingredients (makes 18-20 cupcakes):

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup prepared hot chocolate (2 packets)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

First, combine the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in one bowl and mix. In a separate bowl, mix together the vegetable oil and eggs. Then beat in the sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth – it will still be very thin. Boil a pot of water, and mix 1 cup of water with 2 packets (or about 2-3 spoonfuls) of powdered hot chocolate mix until it is completely dissolved. Then mix the hot chocolate into the batter, followed by the dry ingredients, little by little and mixing as you go. The batter will still be thin, but as long as it’s been well-mixed, it will bake just fine.

Bake on 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool on a cooling rack while you make the delicious and fluffy frosting.

Marshmallow frosting ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, soft
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 7 oz. jar of marshmallow fluff
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting | Revamperate Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting | Revamperate
First, beat the butter and sugar until creamy, and the butter should no longer be lumpy. You can add sugar to taste, but remember that the marshmallow fluff will add sweetness as well. Beat in the vanilla and the marshmallow fluff, adding little by little until the ingredients are well mixed. It should be fluffy like marshmallows ought to be, but still creamy like your classic vanilla buttercream. It’s addictive.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the frosting onto the hot chocolate cupcakes and sprinkle with a bit of cocoa powder for a perfect wintertime cupcake that will make you reminiscent of real hot chocolate. Trust me, you and everyone else will love these hot chocolate cupcakes, and any marshmallow lover will swoon over the frosting. Sprinkled with a little cocoa powder, they look like something you picked up at a professional bakery, so feel free to impress all of your friends. Enjoy!

Peppermint Frosting

Peppermint Frosting | Revamperate Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love peppermint and chocolate. It reminds me of Christmas, so of course, I couldn’t resist making a few peppermint chocolate sweets this month. In fact, I’m sure I will make several more this month to celebrate while I can.

Anyway, I’ll get down to the point. I kept it pretty easy with this peppermint frosting recipe by adding it atop chocolate cupcakes made from box mix. It really is so much easier and a big time saver. Plus, the frosting is the real focal point here. The cake just complements it!Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateTo frost about 14 cupcakes, you need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed peppermint candy
  • 1 drop of pink or red food coloring (optional)

First, mix together the softened butter and powdered sugar. Then add the extracts, beating well before adding one drop of food coloring. The color just brightens it up a bit, so one drop will do.

Frosting tip: always add liquid ingredients after the butter and sugar have been well combined, otherwise your frosting may not achieve the right texture. I’ve made this mistake before and it really does make a difference.

Place a handful of peppermint candies into a plastic bag and use a hard object (I use a rolling pin) to break them into pieces. Then use the rolling pin to crush them as fine as you possibly can. You can also use a food processor if you have a good enough one – mine would break if I tried to crush hard candy.Peppermint Frosting | Revamperate Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateMix in the crushed peppermint, setting aside the larger pieces for topping. Then top chocolate cupcakes with this colored peppermint frosting and garnish with crushed candy for a perfect yet simple holiday cupcake. Enjoy!

Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake to Celebrate 100 Posts

Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateI’m happy to be celebrating a big milestone today! This marks my 100th post on Revamperate, so it’s only appropriate that I celebrate with a cake. A very special one.

In a way, Revamperate is my baby, so I’m very proud to have made it so far with this blog. This milestone comes at a very good time for me because I’m currently stuck working from home due to a pretty bad fall that has left me with consistent lower back pain. My clumsiness really got the best of me this time, and it’s tough to not be able to do what I love – bake and craft (and move in general).

While I maintain a full-time job as a marketing coordinator, I treat Revamperate like my second job. When I come home at night, I spend hours working on projects or planning what to do next. My weekends are occupied with work for the blog, but I love every minute of it. So, here’s to 100 more posts! Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope to continue to share my projects with you.

Without further ado, here’s the cake, as promised. I’m not going to lie to you; this sprinkle cake is WORK. As you probably could have guessed, sprinkles are kind of tough to work with. I used special cake pans to make a thinner but slightly taller cake, which means I only needed one box of cake mix. For a larger cake, you will definitely need more mix.Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateTo make the ombre part of the cake, all you’ll need is a box of vanilla cake mix (or more) and its mixing ingredients, gel food coloring, rainbow nonpareils sprinkles, and these Wilton cake pans,* which will allow you to easily make five small layers.

First, mix the cake and separate the batter in five small bowls. Drop in a very small amount of gel coloring into one bowl. When I say small, I mean a freckle of color. It goes a long way! Continue to add a little more color for each bowl, mixing well with a spoon. You should be able to see a clear difference in color between each bowl, but you should also note that the color will change slightly after it’s been baked.

If you do use the smaller pans, bake for about 20-24 minutes, checking often and removing when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool on a cooling rack and begin making the frosting.

You can see my recipe for vanilla buttercream here. I wanted to add a little frosting so there was more for the sprinkles to stick to, so I added another half of this recipe to create the appropriate amount.

If needed, cut the tops off of the cakes and layer them with frosting in between, starting with the darkest layer on the bottom (or vie versa if you prefer). Leave a crumb layer on the cake and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Set aside about 1/2 cup of frosting to use as decoration on the top of the cake, and use the rest to frost the rest of the cake. Let sit in the fridge for just a few minutes. Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateNow, there are a couple different ways you can sprinkle a cake. One way is to pour the sprinkles into a deep baking sheet, only frost the sides of the cake, place cardboard circles on the top and bottom of the cake, and carefully roll the chilled cake in the sprinkles until it is entirely covered. Then you frost the top and continue covering with sprinkles.

I’m clumsy, as you know, so I didn’t want to do it that way. Instead, I put the cake inside of a deep pan and used my hands to press handfuls of sprinkles onto the sides of the cake. Is this the harder way? Probably. But it defeats the risk of ruining the sides of the cake with the rolling technique. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what works best for you. This way just happened to work best for me, but it does take some time. One way to make it a little easier is to make the palm of your hands sticky with a little frosting so that the sprinkles stick to hands before transferring to the cake. It sounds weird, but it totally works. Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateOnce done with the sprinkles, add color to the frosting you set aside and move it to a piping bag or tool. Pipe small tufts of frosting around the rim of the top of the cake, and your cake is ready to be cut!

It can be quite a bit of work, but sprinkle cakes are really fun for parties and birthdays, and the ombre cake makes for a fun surprise when cut. Go ahead, cut it. It’s pretty awesome! Now, excuse me while I do my little happy dance for making it this far in my blogging journey. Thanks again for reading. Enjoy!

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Almond Butter Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Almond Butter Cupcakes | Revamperate Almond Butter Cupcakes | RevamperateI had the worst week last week, and I’m happy to finally be getting back to normal. I started off the week with a really horrible sinus infection and ended it with an ambulance ride to the ER because I fell down the stairs at work. It’s been rough, but I’m back to baking and crafting and glad to finally be feeling better.

These almond butter cupcakes remind me a little of fall (I always feel that way about nutty things) and with a dash of cinnamon, they’re even better. Overall, I’d say this recipe is a fairly easy to make and pairs well with light and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting, but I bet they’d also be fantastic with chocolate or even almond butter frosting (yeah, you’ll see that soon too).Almond Butter Cupcakes | RevamperateNow, to get down to it, this recipe will make you 24 cupcakes and can be easily halved. You need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the vanilla buttercream frosting, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sliced almonds (for garnish, optional)

Cream together the butter, sugar and almond butter. Then add in the vanilla and eggs, beating well after each egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and add 1/3 of it to the wet mixture. Mix well and alternate between adding milk and dry ingredients until the batter is completely mixed. The batter will be kind of thick, but you can add a little more milk if you need to thin it out a little.

Separate the batter into cupcake liners and baking for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center cleanly. In the meantime, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla to mix the frosting. Add more or less sugar to taste.DSC_1149 Almond Butter Cupcakes | RevamperateOnce the cupcakes have cooled, top them with buttercream and some sliced almonds. Just remember the almonds – it’ll make you feel less guilty about eating a cupcake! If you like almonds or almond butter or even peanut butter, you’ll probably really enjoy these cupcakes. They’ll keep a few days, but they’re better kept on the counter unfrosted in order to stay moist. Enjoy!

Espresso Frosting on Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

Espresso Frosting | Revamperate Espresso Frosting | Revamperate Despite never really liking coffee, it has become part of my daily routine. When I get up in the morning, I turn on the coffee maker, and Andrew and I sit together at our breakfast bar every morning drinking our coffee with different flavored creamers and preparing for the day. But let me tell you – I would so much rather start my day off with cupcake. An espresso cupcake to be exact.

Using my recent recipe for chocolate coffee cake, which I last paired with a caramel glaze, I made these espresso topped cupcakes that are made with real ground espresso powder, which is actually quite tough to find, so your best bet is to order it online ahead of time. With just a little added powder, this topping becomes delicious espresso frosting that pairs well with just about any cake, but my first choice is chocolate with some added coffee.

For this frosting, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder

First, beat together the softened butter and powdered sugar, adding a little at a time until it is completely mixed. In a very small bowl, combine the vanilla and espresso powder and stir until the powder has blended into the vanilla (it won’t completely dissolve). Then add this mixture to the whipped butter and sugar, and continue to mix until it has evenly dispersed throughout the frosting. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of water.  Espresso Frosting | Revamperate Espresso Frosting | RevamperateThen pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes and serve. They are wonderful with a cup of coffee (hot or iced) or milk. Enjoy!

Cookie Butter Frosting

DSC_1007 DSC_1008I’m so excited to share this recipe for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I’m excited because I finally got a KitchenAid standing mixer! It’s absolutely gorgeous and this frosting is the first recipe I’ve used my new toy to make. My old hand mixer completely fried making cookies a couple days ago, so I knew it was time to make the big investment and buy myself an early Christmas present. I’m looking forward to sharing tons of new recipes on the blog with it. Now, to the cupcakes!

I hope you are all aware of the phenomenon of cookie butter. If you’re not, you might want to get down to Trader Joe’s and pick up a jar because it really is the best thing since sliced bread. Cookie butter is exactly what it sounds like – ground up cookies in butter form, like peanut butter but with cookies. Yeah, that’s about it.

But it’s amazing, and while it goes really good with just a spoon and a good TV show, it also goes really well with cupcakes. This cookie butter frosting recipe is as good as it sounds and would pair well with most cupcakes, but my favorite combination is a simple chocolate devils food cake. This recipe makes enough for about 18 cupcakes, depending on how generously you pipe your frosting.

Your ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of cookie butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon milk (optional)

Beat together the softened butter and cookie butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and then slowly add the powdered sugar. Once completely mixed, add in the milk for an extra creamy texture and you’re ready to begin piping.DSC_1024 DSC_1105Pipe the frosting on your cupcakes and prepare to amaze everyone with the phenomenon of cookie butter. So easy, right? Enjoy!

Orange Buttercream Frosting Pumpkins on Chocolate Cupcakes

DSC_0941It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time to get down to business and start throwing out themed treats. Designing with candy melts can be tough sometimes, but here’s one super simple way to show off Halloween themed cupcakes without needing superb candy melt decorating skills (because I don’t have those yet either).

What comes to mind when you think of Halloween? Or October? Or fall? Pumpkins, of course. So here’s one simple way to incorporate pumpkins into your autumn treats with orange flavored buttercream frosting pumpkins made with rich chocolate cupcakes and a little bit of green candy melts. First, gather your ingredients:

For the cake:

  • Boxed mix (I used Duncan Heins Devils Food Cake)
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil

For the frosting pumpkins:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange flavoring
  • Orange gel food coloring
  • Green candy melts

Start by mixing your cake according to the box’s instructions and bake inside of cupcake liners.

While they bake, mix your frosting by mixing the softened butter and vanilla until smooth and slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing as you go until it is creamy and still pretty stiff. Add about 2 tsp of orange flavoring (try one at first, taste and decide from there) and about 6 drops of orange gel coloring, and continue to mix until the color is evenly distributed. It’s important to use gel coloring so that it does not change the frosting’s texture.

When your cupcakes are done baking, leave on a cooling rack to cool completely. In the meantime, melt your green candy by microwaving  a couple pieces (you don’t need very much) in a bowl on the defrost setting for about 30 seconds. Stir and continue to heat in 10-15 second intervals until it is completely melted. Then, move the candy into a squeeze bottle or a piping bag with a very small tip.

*Pro tip: You can totally use a regular plastic ziplock bag with the tip cut off to do this if you don’t have a bottle or piping bag.

DSC_0948DSC_0952Carefully pipe the melted candy into multiple curved pumpkin stems on a piece of waxed paper until they are about 1/4 inch wide and 1 inch tall. If you have the hang out it, try making the stems thicker on the bottom like a real pumpkin stem might be. Let them cool and harden.

Once your cupcakes are cool, pipe or  spread the orange frosting onto the tops with a large circular tip or a spatula.

Carefully peel the pumpkin stems off of the waxed paper, and stick them into the tops of each of your cupcakes for a delicious, orange and chocolate flavored frosting pumpkins! Stay tuned for a couple more Halloween inspired DIYs and treats. Enjoy!