Basic Vanilla Frosting

1 cup (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a bowl, with a mixer (preferably fitted with whisk attachment) on low speed, beat butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, and the salt until blended. Add milk and vanilla; beat until blended. Add remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed and beat frosting until fluffy and smooth.

Coffee frosting: Replace milk and vanilla with 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water, then cooled.

Lemon frosting: Replace milk with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and vanilla with 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel.

Mint frosting: Replace vanilla with 4 teaspoons crème de menthe or 1 teaspoon mint extract and 2 or 3 drops green food coloring, if desired.

Orange frosting: Replace milk with 2 tablespoons orange juice, and vanilla with 2 teaspoons grated orange peel.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Cincinnati Chili Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder*
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chocolate chips
5 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar (apple cider or white)
1 cup cold water
*Be sure to check for other ingredients in spice jars labelled “chili powder”. You want to buy pure chile powder and not anything with cumin, onion, garlic, etc added.

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with papers.
-Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt and spices to a large bowl. Stir with a wire whisk until full incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir to distribute.
-Mix together the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fill the cupcake papers three quarters full.
-Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with only a few crumbs clinging.
-Cool for 5-10 minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.
-Frost and decorate.

Basic Vanilla Frosting
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

-Beat the margarine and shortening until smooth.
-Slowly sift in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
-Add the vanilla extract and beat until mixed in.
-Fill a piping bag with a #4 Wilton tip or snip a very small opening to create the “spaghetti”.

To Decorate:
Make the orange “cheese” with orange colored white chocolate. Melt the chocolate then add both Wilton Lemon Yellow and Orange icing colors to get the ideal orange shade. Chill the colored block of chocolate in the freezer. When ready to decorate, melt chocolate just enough to make it warm and pliable enough to grate.

From Dog Hill Kitchen