Birthday Cupcakes

2012-05-26

Birthday Cupcakes
For my wife and son's birthdays, we decided to host a big party in a nearby park. Dr. S requested mini cupcakes and I decided on three kinds, and devised a plan to make them during the week. Being home alone with Gabe meant I could only work on this project after he went to sleep. So one night, I made a batch of cupcakes and froze them; another night, I made two frostings and refrigerated them. On the day of the party, I frosted all of them, and kept them in the fridge, before transporting them in a cupcake carrier. Mini-cupcakes are really small, so you can fit a lot in one container. Here are the individual treats:

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe from Martha Stewart
Notes: These were what you would expect, a plain carrot cupcake (I omitted raisins). To ensure tenderness, I think I substituted cake flour for some of the AP. As for the icing, one tablespoon of maple syrup isn't really enough to flavour this frosting. Grade: C


Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
Recipe from Martha Stewart
Notes: These one-bowl cupcakes use cocoa powder exclusively for their chocolate flavour, so make sure to use a good one (I think I used Cocoa Camino). For the ganache, I made it using heavy cream to chocolate in about a 5:4 ratio, as I wanted to make sure it was soft enough to be pipable. Still, with a closed star tip, it took some effort to pipe it out. Ganache is a funny thing: there is a very small temperature window in which it is just soft enough to pipe without being runny, but without requiring a lot of squeezing effort. Grade: B.


Banana Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Banana Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Cupcake recipe probably from C&C Cakery, Buttercream recipe from Martha Stewart
Notes: It's been too long between making these cupcakes and blogging about it (almost two months), so I don't remember the details anymore, like which recipe I used for the cupcakes, it could have been this one. Anyway, it doesn't matter, it's hard to mess it up. What was important for me was that they be tender, so I think I substituted cake flour for AP. The buttercream was probably the best part though. I've made this kind of frosting a few times before, so I know it's temperamental and requires patience. I didn't have any of the problems mentioned by the reviewers, and it came together quite nicely. Even adding the puree, with all its liquid, didn't cause it to split. After making this on Friday, I refrigerated, then let it come up to spreading temperature on Saturday. It weeped a bit, but was okay. It's a very delicious spread, bursting with strawberry flavour and the melt-in-your-mouth tastiness of buttercream. Grade: A