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Favorite cupcake and frosting flavors/recipes?

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I love baking cupcakes and my favorite part is to pipe those gorgeous swirls of frosting on those cupcakes! But so far, I haven't really done that yet because all the frosting (buttercream) I've made is just not really edible. I just eat a cupcake without frosting because it's not really edible. It's always too sweet (even when I cut down the sugar amount called for in the recipe over than 50%!) or too grainy or just not good at all. All the frostings I've made were all wasted..butter is expensive! But I don't really want to go with whipped cream every time I bake some cupcakes as frosting. Maybe it's because I haven't had bakery buttercream before? I don't really know what buttercream tastes like, and my tries are kind of useless cause I can't compare and so I don't know where to improve! (I live in Taiwan, it's in Asia and there isn't really any buttercream here) So I'm looking for a maybe fool-proof recipe for frosting and cupcakes because I'm fresh out of ideas, thanks so much! xo

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  1. I find a lot of buttercreams too sweet, too. Have you tried cooked frosting? It might be perfect for Taiwan weather, too:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760095

    I also like whipped frosting that's been stabilized w/ mascarpone. This is my favorite:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1. 7 minute frosting is a popular frosting for my husband, and it is nice and easy to make.

      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Seven-Mi...

      You can easily flavour and colour it too.

      1. Cream cheese frosting is good. A lot of flavor and does not have to be ridiculously sweet. You can even mix Nutella in it. Peanut butter works too.

        1. American buttercream is generally a very sweet frosting. Cooked buttercreams like Swiss meringue, otoh, use less sugar and rely on whipped egg whites for volume. I find they are easier to pipe, so they are my preferred frosting for cake decorating.

          Cream cheese frosting and flour frosting are also popular alternatives you should consider.

          1. I love cream cheese as a frosting too - it lets you really adjust the sweetness. Also - I've found that adding sour cream to homemade buttercream can cut the sweetness considerably.

            More good frostings for cupcakes that I've tried are ganache ( made with semi sweet or milk chocolate) and that delcious ginger cookie/toffee flavored spread called graham speculoos (also called Biscoff spread, I think).