Cupcake Craziness!

Hello world! Sorry for the lack of updates as things have been rather busy around here. I have however been baking rather a lot and am finally getting the time to share again. As you may have guessed, this post is once again devoted to that wonderful dessert — cupcakes!

So where did the term ‘cupcake’ first originate? Have you ever wondered this? Here’s some interesting info from foodtimeline.org (there’s a whole page dedicated to cake history! Do visit and check out):

Individually portioned confections have a long and venerable history. Dimunitive iterations of popular traditional baked goods are particularly enjoyed when portability and ease of service is appreciated. Cookies, tea cakes, petits fours and cupcakes all spring from the basic same idea.

There seem to be two theories about the origin of recipes titled “cupcake:”

1. The name comes from the amount of ingredients used to make the cake (a cupful of flour, a cupful of butter, cupful of sugar etc.).
—This is very similar to how pound cake was named. In fact, the recipes for cup cakes and pound cakes include pretty much the same ingredients and would have produced similar results.

2. These cakes were originally baked in cups.
—Old cookbooks also sometimes mention baking cakes in small cups. These cups may very well have been earthenware tea cups or other small clay baking pans. These would easily accomodated baking level oven heat and produce individual-sized cakes. This is not the same thing as contemporary metal cupcake pans, enabling cooks to bake a dozen small cakes in one fell culinary swoop.

Mmm, interesting info there, but whatever it is, let me just say I simply adore cupcakes and mini-cakes and -pies! As you may have realized 😉 In fact, most of my recipe books are cupcake books (will post a pic soon), and whenever possible I’ll make a big pie/cake into cupcakes! Because things just taste SO much better in small portions I think.

Unfortunately, when it comes down to decorating, I’ve always been a bit handicapped as my frosting NEVER comes out in any form that is good for decorating (always too soft, or too stiff). Until recently — perhaps 2011 will be a good year in baking for me! Will post some cupcakes recipes soon, but meanwhile let me share some decorating adventures.

To learn more about decorating, I joined this one-day cupcake workshop with my sister! See some of our efforts following.

Our teacher demonstrated how to make these chocolate cupcakes! Except she didn’t bake them but steamed them instead. They came out divinely soft and absolutely perfect looking. Must try at home soon.

Next she demonstrated some decorating techniques, using fondant and butter cream! I love the little fondant bee on the buttercream sunflower above.

Next it was time for us to demonstrate what we had learnt from the lesson. Each of us was given a box of six cupcakes (three vanilla/three chocolate) to decorate. Here’s my box, an untouched canvas of foodie art-to-be!

Ta-da! My sister’s gorgeous completed box.

And here’s mine!

I’ve finally learnt how to create a proper buttercream swirl. Now hopefully I can re-create this at home some day soon.

This was one of my favorites from my box — the boy and girl are shaped from fondant and resting on blue fondant which is covering the cupcake. The red rosettes are buttercream.

This was my other favorite from the box! This one was completely unplanned but in the end I think it may be my most favorite. The green ‘grass’ is piped on buttercream, the yellow rosettes are also buttercream. The larger yellow flowers are fondant with buttercream piped in the centers and the butterflies are also fondant.

This was a really fun day class! Next must try to recreate at home if possible!

Do also check out some of my favorite cupcake resources around the web:-

❤ Sue

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