Boxed cupcakes are many things, and "always incredibly delicious" isn't a phrase that comes to mind. For me, it is that they are inexpensive. There are a few brands and boxes out there that are truly just terrible products from start to finish, but through long and tedious cupcake eating, I have found the box mix to rival all other box mixes.
Betty Crocker knows what she is doing. I took many different details into consideration as well while going through many different boxes of pre-made and pre-sifted flour mixtures.
Ease of preparation
Number of additional ingredients required
Betty Crocker came out on top for those above reasons. Now, I am not saying that there weren't other box mixes out there that had a better tasting product in the end, but they were either exorbitantly expensive, required way to many additional ingredients or only gave me 4-6 human sized cupcakes at the end of the day.
I opted for the "funfetti" version, just because I am a fun loving kind of gal (<- sarcasm). I really did get the funfetti though. Now, the important part is to make sure you are picking out a flavor that says it is super moist or made with pudding. I tried this and I tried a normal Betty Crocker cupcake, and these came out, as expected, much more flavorful due to the pudding powder likely included in the mix. Aside from adding in a dash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt into the batter as it was mixing, I really didn't do much else. The fancy part of this comes in the presentation. Now a days, everything is about eating with your eyes, more so than your mouth.
If it doesn't look good on Instagram or VSCO, it likely won't get any recognition. There is a French brand that is sold in Target (where I purchased all my ingredients) that sells different baking products. One being these parchment muffin wrappers (there is a long French name for it too), and all you have to do is pour your batter into those, instead of a normal cupcake liner and as long as you have the oven temperature and timer correct, they come out perfect every time. That paired with a super simple vanilla icing recipe, and you are set to impress.
Next, while the cupcakes are cooling once they have come out of the oven, we are going to make our home made vanilla icing. You will only need 4 ingredients for this.
**again, I bought all this at Target, along with $250 worth of other items I don't necessarily need including and not limited to, a toaster**
All you need to do is combine your first three ingredients in your KitchenAid (if your bougie) or a normal mixing bowl and begin to mix with a rubber spatula or whisk attachment until fully combined. At this point, you may or may not need to add a little whole milk to adjust the consistency of the icing. Less is more, with this. It is one hundred times easier to add in more milk than to readjust the rest of the ingredients to compensate for your heavy hand.
Once you have the consistency and taste to your liking, you are ready to create a piping bag. All you need is a decent size ziplock bag (I used a gallon size), a star piping head (or whatever shape floats your boat) and some scissors. Open up your plastic bag and place the pastry head into one corner of the bag, whatever corner you choose, will be the corner where all of the icing is exiting.
Next, you want to cut a very small diagonal slice across the corner of the bag where your piping head is, start small and gradually work bigger if you have to. If you accidentally cut too large, you can try again on the other corner. You want to be able to push the piping head far enough through the hole to have the tip exposed but it be around the body of the head as tight as possible to delete any chances of icing spilling out.
Fill up the bag with icing (don't overfill though, you want to be able to handle the bag freely as you pipe) and begin to massage the icing towards the piping head, eventually creating a conical shape with the bag and being able to create a place to grip the bag easily. Twist off the top end of the bag to create pressure inside and make it as least difficult as possible to get the icing out, because when your piping, the last thing you want is a shaky arm dolloping icing in all the wrong spots because this has turned into a workout rather than a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
The most important thing to consider before you start icing is the temperature of your cupcake. It needs to be completely cool, and patience is a virtue here. If it is still warm at all, the icing will begin to melt and your Instagram cupcake will need a lot of FaceTuning.
Start from the outside of the cupcake and go in, that way you end up with that cute little mountain peak in the middle. You can always experiment different approaches to see what works best for you, but I found this to be the most visually appealing.
Top with some of your favorite colored sprinkles and there ya go! Bakery style cupcakes, in the comfort of your home, and a happy wallet.
When storing, wrap completely with Saran Wrap and store in a cool dry area.
Let me know and let me see what you did, I am always looking for new innovative ways to enhance something this easy to make.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
Combine powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract into bowl and mix until fully combined.
Slowly add milk until desired consistency is achieved
Betty Crocker Funfetti Cupcakes:
*follow recipe as is on box, apart from adding below ingredients*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt