Monday, August 17, 2009

Crazy for Cupcakes

While I have a whole lot of love for classic layer cakes and old-fashioned bundts, there's something about the sweet little cupcake that sends my excitement through the roof. As a creator rather than consumer, I'm guessing it's because the petite cupcake gives me the opportunity to experiment with wilder flavor combinations that I may not be able to get away with in a larger cake. Well, being imaginary, I like to think I can get away with anything ;) But...out of love and respect for my very real assistant and her role in a real world with real consequences, have no fear: you won't see any white chocolate Tabasco and sardine cupcakes coming from my kitchen anytime soon.

I was very excited when Anne ordered four dozen cupcakes for Robin's going away celebration, giving me the freedom to experiment with frosting and cake combinations as long as I kept them fun, tasty, and included Robin's favorite.

Let's start with Robin's favorite. I already know she's a fan of sweet moscato wine, so I whipped up a batch of what I like to call Muscat Musings:
Lightly nutmegged muscat wine cupcakes topped with tangy cream cheese frosting, a fresh strawberry half, and three tiny champagne grapes. The Muscat Musing is definitely fruit-forward.
Next, I went with a crowd-pleaser I like to call the Chocolate Obsession:
A dark chocolate cupcake rich with cocoa and topped with a decadent bittersweet ganache swirl (imagine biting into a dense, chocolatey truffle) and a chocolate cream pirouette cookie.
Chocolate addicts, have no fear. Your delicious and antioxidant-packed hero is here.

Last, but certainly not least, the adventurous one. Inspired by an ice cream flavor from the Mission District's Humphry Slocombe called the "Secret Breakfast," I whipped up a batch of what I like to call the Breakfast of Champions:
A bourbon buttercake with Maker's Mark poured generously in the batter and another sweet surprise: a vanilla pudding filling packed in the cake itself. The filled cupcake is then topped with bourbon buttercream, crushed cornflakes, and a fresh banana slice. Think of it as spiked milk and cereal with sliced bananas on top. Now that's a breakfast of champions!
Thank you, Anne, for the opportunity to go cupcake crazy. And Robin, you will be missed! Best of luck to you on your next big adventure!

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