It's a piece of cake
Published: Sun, May. 10, 2009 02:00AM
TACOMA, Wash. -- Today's popular confections in the colorful paper cups are not your mother's cupcakes.
Many bakeries specialize in elaborately decorated decadence that puts to shame the sweets you may have eaten as a child.
"There's something fun and nostalgic about cupcakes," says Krissie Bowman, owner of The Last Bite in Tacoma, Wash., maker of fancy desserts and wedding cakes.
Start with a basic cake recipe.
Try using a measuring scoop (sold in kitchen gadget departments) to ensure that each cup contains an equal amount of cake batter. This will ensure uniform baking times. And don't overbake.
Use your favorite buttercream frosting recipe. Unsalted butter at room temperature works best. You can also flavor icing with cocoa powder or vanilla extract, and color it using paste food coloring. The paste is more concentrated and gives a richer color than liquid food coloring.
Use two different buttercream frostings for two-toned frosting. Place both flavors in a pastry bag side by side. Squeeze until two-tones come out simultaneously, then frost cupcakes.
Pack icing into a plastic pastry bag. Twist pastry bag at the top of the frosting and squeeze at the widest part of the bag.
Use a metal-tipped nozzle for patterned icing designs. Both pastry bags and the tips are available at craft stores
Start applying icing on the edges, and work your way toward the center in a concentric circular motion. Don't squeeze too hard.
If you don't have special tips or bags, you can improvise with a zippered plastic bag. Cut a tiny hole from a corner of the bag. The results are less decorative but still fun.
For a fancy touch, add food coloring to coarse decorating sugar, which is available at specialty shops. Pour the tinted sugar into one palm, and twirl the frosted cupcake's edges through the sugar with your other hand. Wearing gloves keeps icing from sticking to your fingers.
For filled cupcakes, cut a cone shape into the top of the cupcake. Trim off excess cake from the cone. Drop a teaspoon of filling inside cupcake. Replace cake top and frost. For easy fillings, purchase lemon curd or dessert toppings.
For dipped cupcakes, apply buttercream with an offset spatula to form a dome. Hold cupcake upside down and vertically dip cupcake in melted candy coating. Hold upside down and allow the excess to drip off. Then turn right side up and apply any decorations.
To apply sprinkles, apply icing, smoothing the top flat and creating a smooth wall around the sides. Roll the icing edges on a plate with sprinkles.
Staff writer Andrea Weigl contributed to this report.
Small & Fashionable
Amy Eilert opened Cupcake Envy, a custom dessert gift service, in 2006. The specialty bakery creates fondant-covered mini cake designs.
Cupcake Envy sells mini cakes in two sizes. The smallest mini cake serves one to two people; the larger mini cake serves three to four people. Eilert has found that her fashion-themed cakes are the most popular. "Purses, shopping bags and dresses continue to be our top sellers."
The trend of sculpted cakes, says Eilert, is still being helped by the popularity of cake-focused television shows. She focuses her business on miniature sculpted cakes. Most mini cakes are cut from a sheet pan and crumb iced.
Cupcake Envy also holds classes in Wake Forest, NC. "Class topics range from Cupcakes 101 and Funny Cupcakes to Fondant 101 and Fondant for the Pros," says Eilert. "In addition, we offer many packaging ideas when using desserts as gifts or favors." Classes are two hours long and range in price from $15-150 per class.
Above, Amy Eilert likes to add dimension to her fondant designs such as the pattern, shown here.
Above, purses are a popular mini cake design, especially when named for a specific customer.
Shopping bags, like the one shown above, are another popular fashion-themed cake.
Also look for us in the August issue of Baking Buyer magazine and the Nov. Dec. issue of Brides Magazine featuring our topiary mini cakes.....
Oops! We almost forgot.....a handful of our mini cake and cupcake designs were featured in a local Baby/Child magazine......check this out-
Our Busy Bee Toy mini cake design!!
Our Fortune Cookie Cupcakes on edible plates. Look how great they look in the tablescape!
Ohhhhhhh, there are those scary alligator mini cakes!!
The buzz is qnarly.....keep it coming!