Looking at the baking books that are on the scene, cupcakes have continued to grow in popularity. There is even a cupcake competition on Food Network. The creativity and artistry involved in designing these “little cakes” are just beautiful. The delicate decorations and sculpting amaze me as I view the intricate and complex workmanship…and they taste good too!
For an occasion last month, I had undertaken the task of baking 300 mini cupcakes and 16 dozen cookies. It had to be bite-sized and quickly eaten by two hundred people during a 10-15 minute break. At first, it seemed like an overwhelming task. “What was I thinking?” I told myself. However, it was accomplished in two days. A little organization goes a long way. A helpful tip would be to separate the tasks over a couple of days. I pre-measured all the dry ingredients of the recipes on one day. The following day, I combined the pre-measured dry ingredients with the wet ingredients for the mini cupcakes and proceeded to bake. Hey, this was a cinch...so I thought.
Sounds easy? Well, yes and no. Three cupcake recipes were selected from Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart. What problems can there be from these pre-tested recipes by elite chefs? Emeril Lagasse’s mini carrot cake cupcakes were excellent especially his pecan cream cheese frosting. The next two recipes were from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake Cookbook. The Mini Oreo Cheesecake cupcakes were easy, cute, and yummy. However, the Streusel Coffeecake cupcakes were so DRY. I lessened the time in the oven but it didn’t help. In hindsight, adding chopped apples could have improved the moisture level. This ensued a tiny panic attack. Yet part of being organized means you have to be prepared for such unexpected turbulence. First, I threw out all 100 mini Coffeecake cupcakes. Then pulled out the frozen Ginger cookie dough I made a couple of weeks before to keep for a rainy day. I also proceeded to make a new batch of my loyal Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal cookie dough…a delicious recipe that never fails. I began to smell success. At the end, the two hundred people appreciated the treats.
My mini cupcakes were not fancy like the ones in the cupcake baking books but they were fun to make and tasted great (with that one exception). Take a look at some of these cupcake baking books that will inspire you to bake these little dream cakes. Both kids and grown-ups will love them and love you too for making them!
The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick
Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen
Kids’ Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen
Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes by Jan Moon
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Decorating Cupcakes, Cakes, & Cookies by Annie Rigg
Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas
What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson