Cupcake craze

From kids’ treats to weddings, these tiny cakes are the next big thing

Cupcakes are making a big comeback for everything from birthday parties and lunch boxes to holidays and weddings.

These days, there are many cupcake accessories available to party-planning parents. Holiday and birthday wrappers or decorations are a great way to give simple iced cupcakes new life.

Cynthia Portera, owner of Portera’s Bakery, said that cupcakes are also the easiest and most fun way to eat on kids’ birthdays. Not only can cupcakes be personalized with names and decorations, but they can also be pushed together and iced as a single cake, then easily pulled apart for single servings.

“It’s a lot less messy and you won’t need a knife – they’re really neat,” she said.

She said that cupcakes are a big trend for baby’s first birthday too because the baby can eat – or spit on – their cake without ruining the food for everyone else.

Cupcakes are also a big trend for weddings, Portera said. The individual cakes can still be flavored traditionally – almond with pineapple filling – but give the guests a mess-free dessert.

When you are not going to a party, there are still plenty of new and innovative ways to enjoy your own personalized mini cakes.

Cupcake parfaits are an easy healthier option for a decadent dessert night. The cupcake is split like a bun and put in a cup of fruit and ice cream.

Parents can also surprise their kids with cupcake of hidden treasure by baking cookie dough balls or peanut butter cups into the center of the cakes.

Rebecca Bundick teaches a cake decorating class with community education that focuses solely on cupcakes. She said that cupcakes are the latest rage and are not just for kids’ birthdays anymore.

“I think they’re popular because of the pre-packaged idea – no knives or forks are needed,” Bundick said.

She also said that cupcakes allow for creative control over a project better than a cake.

“You can be very creative on cakes, but you have to stay with one theme – with cupcakes you can make 100 different-looking cupcakes for the same event,” she said.

She said that television personalities have also helped fuel the cupcake trend, like Martha Stewart with her cupcake cookbook.

There is no doubting that cupcakes have become more popular over the past few years. Cupcakes have infiltrated pop culture with shows like Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, which pits four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges. And while an American holds the world record for eating cupcakes – 42 cupcakes in eight minutes – the British hold the world’s biggest live cupcake cooking contest and it’s happening this week. Some crazy cupcake combinations have come out of the British Baker’s National Cupcake Week competition, like the “Vegan Lime and coconut cupcake,” the “Dark chocolate and avocado cupcake” and the “Bacon and maple syrup cupcake. See more crazy cupcake combinations at www.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk.

 

Lime and coconut cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces Self Raising Flour
  • 6 ounces Caster sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 5 ounces desiccated coconut the juice zest of one lime
  • 4 ounces vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • (Frosting & topping)
  • 12 ounces icing sugar
  • 2 ounces vegan margarine
  • juice of half a lime
  • splash of soy milk
  • 4 ounces of flaked coconut

Directions

Turn the oven to 356 F.

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl until thoroughly mixed.

Combine all the wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk briskly.

Pour wet mix over dry mix and whisk by hand until blended (less than 30 seconds).

Divide the mix between the cupcake cases.

Place in oven for 12-15 minutes until cakes are cooked all the way through – test with a cocktail stick to ensure middle cooked.

Leave to cool while preparing the frosting.

Frosting

Whisk together sugar and vegan margarine until creamy, add in lime juice and soya milk. Pipe onto cake bases and cover frosting with coconut flakes.

Recipe by Jennifer Buls, National Cupcake Champion 2011 – All recipes courtesy of British Baker, www.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk.

 

Double shot cappuccino cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tbs boiling water
  • 4 ounces self-raising flour
  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 4 ounces caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • (For the frosting)
  • 3 ounces confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 2-3 tsp hot water
  • unsweetened cocoa powder and/or chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 F and place 12 paper cake cups on a baking tray, evenly spaced apart.

Mix the coffee with just enough boiling water to dissolve then place in a large mixing bowl together with the remaining cupcake ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until well blended. Using an electric hand whisk makes mixing easier and quicker.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases, no more than 2/3 full, smooth the tops, then bake towards the top of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until well-risen, golden and firm to the touch. Cool on wire racks.

Once the cupcakes are cold, mix the instant coffee with the hot water in a small bowl to dissolve then add the icing sugar and beat together until well blended and smooth.

Place a teaspoon of glacé icing over the top of each cupcake, smoothing with the back of the spoon, immediately sprinkle with chocolate hundreds and thousands or cocoa powder using a sieve, and allow to set before serving.

Courtesy of www.Recipes4us.co.uk.

 

Very Berry Cupcake

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 5 1/2 ounces super fine sugar
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • (For the berry filling)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 ounces caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • (For the topping)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • Super fine sugar to sprinkle
  • (For the whipped cream)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 2 ounces melting chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 F and prepare 12 paper cupcake cases in muffin tins.

Place softened butter and sugar into a bowl and cream with an electric mixer until the butter changes colour. (generally 2 minutes)

Add in lightly beaten eggs to the mix a little at a time, beating on slow for 15 seconds between eachaddition. Add Vanilla then sift in flour and baking powder and mix for a further minute.

Spoon batter into cases until they are approx 2/3 full and then place in the middle rack in your preheatedoven. Bake for approximately 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then remove and let sit for afew minutes before removing the cupcakes from the tins and placing them on a wire rack to cool.

To make the filling, in a small bowl crush half of the raspberries, blueberries and sugar. Then dissolve thegelatin in hot water, and stir in with the berry mixture. Put the mixture in the fridge until it has started to set, then stir it again to break up the gelatin.

Cut a small hole in the center of each cupcake and dig out with a spoon. Discard the center and fill hole with the berry filling.

To make stabilized whipped cream, dissolve the gelatin with the hot water and allow to cool, then beat the cream with an electric mixer just until traces of the beaters can be seen in the cream, then slowly pour the cool gelatin mixture into the cream while still beating, then add the vanilla, and beat just until soft peaks start to form

Cover the cupcakes with whipped cream and top with a few of the left over berries then sprinkle with sugar

Courtesy of www.cupcake-recipes.com.

 

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 5 1/2 ounces super fine sugar
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons dutched cocoa powder
  • (For the rocky road filling)
  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 1 ounce glazed red cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups pink and white marshmallows
  • (For the topping)
  • 2 ounces melting chocolate

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 F and prepare 12 paper cupcake cases in muffin tins. Place softened butter and sugar into a bowl and cream with an electric mixer until the butter changes colour. (generally 2 minutes)Add in lightly beaten eggs to the mix a little at a time, beating on slow for 15 seconds between each addition.

Add Vanilla then sift in flour and baking powder and cocoa and mix for a further minute.Spoon batter into cases until they are approx 2/3 full and then place in the middle rack in your preheated oven.

Bake for approximately 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then remove and let sit for a few minutes before removing the cupcakes from the tins and placing them on a wire rack to cool.

To make the filling in a small bowl melt chocolate over a double boiler, then add chopped cherries, chopped cuts & chopped marshmallows and mix to combine.

Cut a small hole in the center of each cupcake and dig out with a spoon. Discard the center and fill hole with rocky road filling piled high.Melt remaining chocolate over a double boiler, and then drizzle chocolate across the filling to hold in place.

Courtesy of www.cupcake-recipes.com.

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