My honey had his 30th birthday yesterday. I am married to a man now in his 30's. Ha! I don't know why but that makes me chuckle. Anyway, I LOVE to bake, so his birthday was the perfect excuse to not clean the bathrooms and bake cupcakes all morning. What? From scratch, of course, including the frosting. I have only ever resorted to using a box cake once in my life, and that was because I wanted to turn a perfectly white cake layer into a perfectly red cake layer for use in a "fireworks" cake last year for July 4th.
The cake recipe is the easiest and yummiest in my book. I think it's originally Betty Crocker, but it's been a family favorite since I was a kid. Black Midnight cake. The recipe makes a 2 layer cake or 24 cupcakes. My frosting is a chocolate fudge kind that I have had in my recipe box -- yes, in my own handwriting -- for years now, and I have absolutely no idea where it's from. Sorry.
Ladies, it is ridiculously easy to pipe frosting. I don't know why more of us don't know how. Or don't bother. I knocked up these designs all with the same frosting tip (barring the two on the left of the plate that are clearly hand frosted with a butter knife) and it took almost no time at all. I was rather sad when, 15 minutes later, all 24 of my cupcakes had been frosted and I had no more left. About 8 were kept at home for my man, and the rest went in to his workplace this morning for a quick birthday deal. Huge hit. So here is my challenge. Run out right now to your local Walmart (or otherwise known as 'the-place-that-shall-not-be-named' by my in-law family), buy yourself a small box of frosting bags and a 4-pack of tips, and start using them. Cupcakes are the easiest thing to begin with because if you goof up it is so easy to scrape off and redo. Or, you simply eat the cake. ;)