Buttercream Dreams Small Cakes, Big Scoops, and Sweet Treats

Maybe a cupcake will help? That’s the slogan of one of the nation’s most popular sweet spots, Smallcakes. Here are thirty of the best, fun, and easiest recipes for iced cupcakes, ice creams, and sweet treats from this fast growing company.

More than just a super cookbook, this is the story of how Jeff Martin created the wildly popular and fast-growing Smallcakes franchise. He shares his experiences on starting his business and coming up with some of his very first signature cupcake flavors like Cookies-n-Cream. He appeared on the Food Network’s reality show called Cupcake Wars and famously became the guy who forgot the pumpkin in a pumpkin cupcake challenge. That popular recipe for a Pumpkin Cupcake with Cardamon buttercream is among the recipes in this book. He also introduces some of his creative new flavors like Peanut Butter Pretzel and French Toast with Bacon. Since they are a family owned company, he also includes his kid’s favorite flavors. His son Jax loves bubble gum so they created a Bubblegum Cupcake. His daughter Lily is a very crazy kid, so she asked her dad to come up with some crazy flavors like Orange Creamsicle and Caramel Pecan Carrot Cake. This is not just another cupcake book, it also contains recipes for ice cream and other confections offered now at Smallcakes locations such as Jeff’s recipes for their famous Nutella Wella Ice cream, Mama’s Chocolate Fudge, and Smallcakes Crazy Monster Cookies. These are thirty recipes to make and enjoy with the whole family.

Jeff Martin is founder of the wildly popular franchise Smallcakes. Inspired by his grandmother, Jeff traded his career as a chef and decided to follow his passion for baking and opened the first Smallcakes in 2008. Since opening, Smallcakes has grown into a national brand, opening locations in fifteen states and growing the brand Internationally. Smallcakes also ships its popular “Cupcake In A Jar” nationwide and offers over 100 different flavors. Jeff and his cupcakes have been featured on the Food Networks Cupcake Wars several times, and the hit daytime tv show The View. USA Today put Smallcakes in the Top 10 places to grab a cupcake in the United States. They are based in Olathe, Kansas.

Nutella-Wella Ice Cream

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

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Nutella-Wella Ice CreamNutellaWellaIceCream

Makes 1 quart

My son, Jax, loves Nutella. One morning he asked if he could help make a Nutella ice cream. So we started experimenting that day and came up with this very popular ice cream.

6 egg yolks

1 cup half-and-half

1½ cups Nutella, at room temperature, divided

Pinch of salt

2 cups heavy cream

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half-and-half, 1 cup of the Nutella, and the salt. Set aside.

2. Place a few cups of ice in a large bowl. Set a medium bowl inside the larger bowl of ice. Place a fine strainer over the medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until just before it comes to the boil (it will bubble along the edges). Turn off the heat. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, being careful not to curdle the eggs. Once incorporated, pour the entire custard mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens slightly. The custard is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. (If you want to use a candy thermometer, you’re shooting for 175°F.) Pour the custard through the strainer into the medium bowl. Add just enough water to the ice so that the cold water rises up to the level of the custard. Stir the custard occasionally until it is cool. Remove from the ice bath and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours.

4. Place a 1-quart storage container in the freezer, preferably something flat so that it’s easy to swirl in the remaining Nutella. Transfer the chilled custard to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Fill the frozen container halfway with the ice cream. Drizzle ¼ cup of the Nutella all over the surface. With a fork, swirl it through the ice cream. Break up large blobs of Nutella because once frozen, they are hard to chew and make the ice cream challenging to scoop. Cover with the remaining ice cream. Swirl the remaining ¼ cup Nutella into the ice cream. Cover and freeze for a few hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up 2 weeks.

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Orange Creamsicle Cupcakesorange CC

Makes 12 cupcakes

This summer favorite will remind you of the bell of the ice cream truck coming through the neighborhood. The one thing better about this version is you don’t have to worry about the sun melting it away so fast—you can slowly savor the creamy orange goodness.


2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1½ tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from about 1½ oranges)

2 large eggs

¾ cup heavy cream (for lighter texture use half-and-half)

¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

1½ teaspoons orange extract

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Orange buttercream

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon orange extract

¼ teaspoon orange food coloring

12 thin orange slices, for garnish

1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, blend together the butter, sugar, and orange zest on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at time, blending well after each addition.

4. Measure the cream into a liquid measuring cup, and stir in the orange juice, orange extract, and vanilla extract. With a hand mixer on low speed, work in three separate batches, blending in the flour mixture alternating with the cream mixture. Be sure to begin and end with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined after each addition.

5. Fill each cup three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, rotating the muffin tin once halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool several minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

6. To make the orange buttercream, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

7. Add the vanilla, cream, orange extract, and orange food coloring and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream for the desired consistency if needed.

8. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Garnish with a small orange slice just before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


From Buttercream Dreams: Small Cakes, Big Scoops, and Sweet Treats by Jeff Martin, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2015



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