How to make Frosting for one

It can be difficult to halve a cake recipe and get ideal results–especially when it calls for an odd number of eggs. This year, when I made Aron’s banana cake for his birthday, I made half of the recipe in a round cake pan and used the other half of the batter to fill cupcake molds. Cupcakes are much easier to save. You can freeze them for a cold day and re-heat them one at a time, or keep them in a ziplock bag for some slightly spongier cakes throughout the week. But then you’ll need to know how to make frosting for one.

Place a softened Tbsp of butter in a cup (leave the cup out for a while or you can cheat and warm it for 10 seconds in the microwave) and smash it up with a fork. Whisk it to break it up and get some air into it. (The first time I did this I used my hand-mixer whisk attachment. That was ideal, but an old-fashioned whisk is fine, too–even if most of the butter at first ends up stuck in the wires.) Add a 1/2-cup of powdered sugar and a dash of whole milk or cream. Whisk until smooth. Add more powdered sugar to get to ideal consistency, 1/4 to 1/2-cup is probably right. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth (or switch back to the fork if it’s easier at this point). Et Voila! A single serving of classic vanilla buttercream (the fairly sweet, Magnolia Bakery style stuff).

You can add food coloring and make lettering for a store bought cake or fix a flaw in your layer cake this way. Or you can turn it into flavored frosting: add lemon zest and some lemon juice instead of milk. Or maple extract instead of vanilla. To make chocolate frosting, melt about a 1/2-ounce of baker’s chocolate and add it after the first 1/2-cup of powdered sugar (you can use a dark chocolate bar in a pinch, but it could make the frosting too sweet). Or, if you plan ahead, put a little of your morning espresso shot or a bit of coffee (like a teaspoon) in with the chocolate and make it mocha!

Frost recipe for one

How to make chocolate frosting

You may or may not want to thank me for this.

P.S. Another reason for single servings: look what happens when you have to–the horror!–split a dessert.
And if you’re in New York, check out this bake sale Joanna organized to raise money for the hurricane relief efforts.

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