The first thing was my son’s love for muffins. The boy is weird – he doesn’t like sweets much. Also, he is a “one component” kinda guy, by which I mean he more often than not chooses simple one-component food over complicated one (no sauses on his meat, no dips for his veggies, no whipped cream on.. well.. anything). So, muffins, being small and not too sweet, and being one-component dessert, are his drug of choice when it comes to baked goodies.
The second thing was related to the first – since I started to bake muffins for kids’ gatherings and birthdays, I got myself a little helper. Here it is
This thing is absolutely ingenious for transporting muffins and cupcakes (up to three dozens!) And, because I’m so rational, I wanted to try and use it for more than just muffins, so I decided to try cupcakes!
Let me tell you, once I started I couldn’t stop! I really got cupcake crazy and haven’t made a real cake in more than a month! How come I’ve never made them before??? They are easy to make, practical (especially when you have such a great way to transport them), easy to eat, easy to share, and above all - oh so cute! I am a cupcake convert, that’s for sure!
Since my little discovery, I bought two books on the subject. The first is by Dede Wilson – A Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes: Deliciously Decorated Crowd Pleasers for Parties and Holidays. It has some neat ideas and a lot of great recipes.
The second book is Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. It has the neatest decoration ideas, and anyone who bakes at least occasionally, should have this book!
So, here are some of my creations. The first ones were pretty classic – the Black Forest Cupcakes (chocolate cupcake with cherries inside, topped with whipped cream, chocolate cut-out and a cherry, sprinkled with sweet cocoa powder).
Next were the Boston Cream Cupcakes – yellow cupcake filled with pastry cream, glazed with a bittersweat ganache and a single silver pearl.
These ones were made for a 7-year-old boy’s birthday party. Kids went crazy over these! The cupcakes were chocolate with vanilla buttercream spaghetti, strawberry sause and chocolate truffle meatballs.
This last weekend I made some carrot cupcakes for a tea gathering with my girlfriends. Some of them were topped with a swirl of traditional cream cheese frosting and topped with a fondant carrot.
For the second half of the batch, I colored the frosting green and piped it on the cupcakes using the large leaf tip. Then, I put buttercream roses on some, and simple drop flowers with gold pearls on the others. This was by the way my first ever attempt at buttercream flowers!
That’s it for now, but be sure to check back! With the holiday season upon us, there’ll be more baking in my kitchen!