cupcake sprinkles

The big new Capitol Hill branch of Cupcake Royale opened July 22 with free babycakes for everyone who stopped by to say the magic words: “Legalize Frostitution!” After visiting for the pre-opening party, tasting more of the revamped recipes I wrote about a while back, and seeing the jumbo mixers and the 15-rack oven in the back kitchen, I think they’ll be prepared for the crowds descending on the pretty place. (Early bird note: The store will open for business at 6 a.m., and it’s at 1111 E. Pike St.)

Cupcake Royale

I liked viewing the five-foot-high stained glass cupcake in the entryway, the candy-colored chairs and the chocolate-bar brown tables designed by Roy McMakin. I got to chat with the folks from Shepherd’s Grain, who are providing the Washington state flour that’s helping the cupcakes go locavore. But, mostly I enjoyed the chance to see how the experts frost a cupcake in CR’s trademark swirl, using a spreading knife and some basic wrist action.

Cupcake Royale How To Frost A Cupcake


Here’s a video to show you their techniques — we saw a few examples, using slightly different methods, but all with the same polished results. (Even on the last example on the video, where the froster — what a great job title! — is repairing my own clumsy first attempt.) For those of you who aren’t in the area, or who prefer baking at home, we also have a recipe for the shop’s new vanilla cupcake, scaled down for the home baker, which CR owner Jody Hall kindly shared. (The Medosweet dairy products would be tough for the home cook to find, and if you’re not in Washington you probably want to substitute your own local brands to follow the money-where-your-mouth-is ethos, but here’s how it’s done in these parts.)


Vanilla Buttercake Recipe

makes 1 dozen

2 3/4 c. Shepherd’s Grain cake flour
2 3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. local egg whites
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. Medosweet sour cream
5 ounces Medosweet butter
3 tbs expeller-pressed canola oil
1 tsp Gahara vanilla bean paste

Line a cupcake tin with your favorite cupcake wrappers, and set your oven to bake at 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a mixer and mix on low speed. In a separate bowl, combine water and sour cream. Add vanilla paste and egg whites to this mixture and stir until combined. Add the butter, oil, and 1/4 of liquid mixture to your dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the remainder of the liquid mixture in three doses, beating for 20 seconds after each dose. (Editorial note: Do you see now why it took 57 tries to develop the new recipes?) Scoop batter into wrappers. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Set cupcakes aside until they are cool to the touch, then frost ‘em up with real buttercream.

Cupcake Royale

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