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How to Frost a Cupcake Like a Champion
If cupcake icing were an Olympic sport, this is the woman who would win the gold medal. Her name is Leona, and she's the star icer at Magnolia Bakery's Upper West Side shop in New York City. Leona may have been born with the talent, but you can learn to imitate her technique by watching her in action:
A couple of guidelines from Leona:
1. Monitor the icing's texture constantly. You want it just firm enough to shape into swirls, but not too hard. You'll know the icing is too soft when you're making it if it immediately slaps to the side of the bowl (remedy: put the entire bowl in the fridge for five or 10 minutes and try again). If, while you're working, the icing begins to look shiny, the butter is starting to separate and melt. Put it back in the fridge.
2. Store icing in plastic buckets, which are easier to work from than glass bowls are, thanks to their straight sides. You need a clean icing wand to frost the perfect cupcake; a good way to get it icing-free is to wipe it dry along the edge of the bucket after every swipe.
3. To get the air bubbles out, smooth the frosting by sticking your icing wand straight down into the bucket and stirring like mad.
Here's even more advice on frosting cupcakes, plus secrets to making other foods--like cookies, bacon and cappuccino--look as good as chefs' versions.
Cupcakes for every personality
20 favorite childhood desserts (with an adult twist)
A sophisticated take on milk and cookies
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