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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).

            1. These Barefoot Contessa coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are moist and delicious. You can start with less sugar in the icing if you think it will be too sweet, adjusting for your taste.

              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

              1. lemon merengue and smores are favorites. as is chocolate cupcakes with pb frosting. my bc recipes are very good, but i end up using a least a cup less sugar than called for. and i have a wonderful cream cheese frosting that couldn't be simpler or more delicious. great on pumpkin cupcakes (or red velvet, i suppose.)