Tuesday, December 15, 2009

National Cupcake Day and How To Use A Coupler

It's National Cupcake Day! Who knew? I just happened to read that bit of knowledge last week while scrolling through blogs and I needed an excuse to post these cupcakes. So here ya go! I made these for a baby shower a couple months ago. The theme was pink and green and I thought flowers would fit right in.

I've never piped flowers before so this was trial and error. I made a double batch of cupcakes and practiced on half and saved the others for the shower. There were some doozies, let me tell you! But before I show you more cupcakes, I'm going to show you how to load a piping bag and use a coupler.

What is a coupler? Why do you need one? A coupler connects the piping bag to the tip. Using a coupler allows you to change your tips but still use the same color. In other words you don't have to have multiple bags of the same color frosting with different tips, when you can just change the tip. You change the tip out by removing the coupler ring and putting on a new piping tip then securing it in place again with the coupler ring.

Ready? Here we go...

1). Gather your supplies: Scissors, Piping Bags, Couplers and Piping Tips.

2). This is a coupler. It consists of two parts-- the larger part that goes IN the bag and the ring that secures it on the outside.

3). Place the larger part of the coupler in the piping bag. Push it down snugly into the tip but don't press it down to far that you stretch the bag out.

4). You want to score the bag with the scissors. This is important because you don't want to cut your bag too high or your icing will squeeze out of the bag above your tip. It's better to cut the hole too small than to cut it too large. You want to score the bag halfway between the smooth part (the part closest to the tip).

5). Now push the coupler away from the corner of the piping bag and cut through the piping bag where you previously scored it.

6). Now that the corner has been snipped off push the coupler back into the bag. It should be snug. See where the edge of the bag is?

7). Place whatever tip you're going to be piping with and place it on the coupler. I used #67 for the leaves, #14 for the flower petals and #12 for the white spikes

8). Secure it with the couple ring and repeat as necessary. But don't tighten it too much because you'll need to remove it later and it becomes tricky when the bag is full of icing :-)

9). Fill your bag with your icing of choice.

10). Twist the top of your bag shut or...

11). Use rubber ties to secure them.

Now onto the cupcakes!

I used Martha's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes and my favorite Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting. I can't tell you how versatile and good this frosting is.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes from MS Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Makes 20-24 cupcakes.

Vanilla Bean Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Then add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy.

NOTE: If you're going to pipe with it, you need all 5 cups of powdered sugar so it's stiff enough to work with.

I did most of them decorated with flowers and the rest were decorated using a round #12 tip to make spikes on top of the cupcakes. It's so simple but it's fun!

The combination of the vanilla cream cheese frosting along with the dark chocolate cake tasted like a a giant double stuffed Oreo. They were delicious!


Selba said...

So pretty!!!

I've never used a coupler before... interesting!

Donna-FFW said...

Excellent tutorial Monica. Great photos to learn by. Such gorgeous cupcakes too!!

Made your Baileys frosting yummy, posted bout it.

Debbie said...

Monica those are absolutely gorgeous cupcakes, almost too pretty to eat. Thanks for the step by step pics....I know I need them!

elle said...

Couplers are amazing! As are disposable bags! ;)

cookies and cups said...

Very pretty! Couplers are indispensable at my house! Don't know what I would do without them!
Also, love Martha's one bowl! It's my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, so good!

food with style said...

just gorgeous! thanks for the lesson, i struggle squeezing, how can i have such weak hands with such a big appetite!

♥peachkins♥ said...

pretty cupcakes!

Smitten Sugar said...

Soo pretty! I love your flowers...I will need some serious practice before mine can be shown on the blog. But I have wanted to try those chocolate cupcakes for a while so good to know that they are as yummy as they look!

vanillasugarblog said...

and here I just use a ziplock bag. bad I know. I have pastry bag on my 'santa-get-me list'. LOL
gorgeous frosting work my dear.

Foodiewife said...

I have watched your talents soar since we both took our Wilton classes. You are the star, my dear. Isn't it nice to learn how to use a coupler?!! I need to keep using my practice boards-- you are miles ahead in expertise. Yummy!

Mar Varela said...

Good lesson, thanks for the recipes, Now I don´t now how make the flowers
Happy Christmas and happy New Year
A kiss from Spain

Confections Of A Bake-A-Holic said...

Great job! They turned out beautiful!!!

oneordinaryday said...

Beautiful piping, Monica!
I had no idea it was National Cupcake Day. Now I feel like I need to go bake some. : )

JK said...

So pretty!! I love the flower cupcakes!

Rachel (rachescakes) said...

Very cute, I have to try those recipes.

Lissaloo said...

How cute! Great how-to :)

Julie Harward said...


Maria said...

Your cupcakes are perfect to celebrate this special day:)

Anonymous said...

They look adorable!

Janet said...

Those cupcakes are beautiful! Happy National Cupcake Day to you, my friend!

Linda said...

Thanks for the lesson! Ah yes, we have all been there when the icing erupts from the bag! These are beautiful!

Flowers said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe of Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes. It looks wonderful in the shape of flower. Keep up the good work.

Memória said...

I just bought 25 vanilla beans for 4 dollars on ebay (7 dollars after tax), so I'm looking forward to using my beans in this frosting. Wow!

tamilyn said...

Seriously, can you just come up to Minnesota and do this in my kitchen? I'm a hands-on kind of learner :=)

Katie said...

Wow the flower cupcakes look stunning. Please please please show how you made each one and the tips you used. They are just gorgeous!

Mara Campbell said...

Beautiful flowers!!! And great tutorial on using a coupler, I know I was confused by it when I first started using one!

I love your blog, been stalking for a while. Thought i'd leave a comment and say thanks for all the great recipes and posts!! Happy Holidays!

Kerstin said...

So pretty! I would love more tutorials like this one :)

Anonymous said...

I can testify to how deliciously yummy that frosty is!

Hey, Monica, if your scissors are sharp enough instead of scoring the bag you can pinch them close and give a little turn. Then just pull of the tip. (Sorry, I know I didn't do as nice a job explaining as you did.)

Btw, I really liked this batch of photos!

b said...

I love your blog!!! Keep up the yummyness AND awesome photos to go along with it! I still love making your Cinderella cake. It's a hit every time!! Thanks for sharing your talent.

Rainy Day Farm said...

Those are adorable! They would be so fun for a tea party!

Sofia's Patisserie said...

Wow those cupcakes look delicious.


Sophie said...

I don't think there's a cupcake pictured here that isn't pretty! I bet these would fly as a wedding cupcake cake too! You should look into that, you're so good at decorating cakes!

Lori said...

Very pretty flowers for someone who has not done a lot of piping. I just took the Wilton course and these are what I need to make so I can practice my roses.

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