Cupcake Trials

Friday, May 14, 2010

Or should I say trial by cupcake?

Let’s start at the beginning shall we? In about a week’s time, I’ll be involved in a special little personal project. I’d rather not say anything else about the project until after it’s completed, but I can tell you it involves cupcakes.

So I thought I’d do some preliminary cupcake baking to test out the look and flavour of the cakes I’d planned to make.

First up, I made some simple vanilla cupcakes using the Perfect Pound Cake recipe from The Cake Bible. I added a filling of raspberry jam, some lime buttercream, then fondant icing to decorate - so far, so good, and very tasty too. The lime buttercream on its own is a bit sour but worked really well to complement the sweet fondant.
(I just use a very simple buttercream made from 1 part butter and up to 2 parts icing sugar depending on the consistency I’m after).





Then I made some chocolate cupcakes based on the All American Chocolate Buttercake recipe in The Cake Bible. What’s this? All the cake papers had started to peel off the cake. Not good! The flavour of the cakes were divine though, but I really needed them to look pretty as well.

 Keep your shirt on!

So I tried another chocolate cake recipe I found here. Hmm, I actually forgot to put baking powder in the first batch. Oops, try again.

At first, they looked fine and I thought I’d found my recipe. But after I decorated the cakes with some chocolate ganache and fondant, and stored them in an airtight container, they started nuding up again!

(It's not very obvious yet here, but see how the paper at the left side of the first cake is starting to peel? It got a lot worse after this) 

What was going on? The cupcake papers were professional quality, and I had no issues at all with the vanilla cakes, even storing them in the fridge. They acted like genteel cupcakes and stayed dressed.

Finally, I figured out that both the recipes contain a lot of moisture in them (boiling water for the first recipe, and a fair bit of milk in the second recipe). It would make sense then, that this moisture would turn to steam during baking and cause the papers to loosen from the sides.

Luckily, I remembered another recipe in The Cake Bible that I’d missed because it’s called Chocolate Bread. But in reality, it is actually a chocolate version of the pound cake, and involves very minimal water content.

Because it's a pound cake, it will peak and split - that's what icing is for.

Success at last! I decorated them, stored them in airtight containers and subjected them to vigorous testing – driving them around in the car and taking them on a picnic, and they stayed clothed, hurrah!



So glad I decided to do a trial run, with time to spare!

Have a good weekend everyone ☺

19 comments:

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow these look so sweet. How about we have a tea party daaaaahling :),
Good luck in finding your ultimate cupcake recipe.
Wishing you wonderful weekend ahead.
*kisses* HH

grace said...

how inappropriate, unclothing in public like that! the nerve of those little cakes! and yes, frosting can cover a world of cracks and bubbles. awesome experimentation, shaz! :)

foodwink said...

They are gorgeous, Shaz. I like your dedication to baking. Persistence makes perfect!

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

I like the pink frosting on vanilla. That one looks really professionally done and pretty.

3 hungry tummies said...

Shaz,
They are wonderful...On one hand I wish you are in Melbourne so I can drop by all the time but on the other hand I am not because I'll turn into a fatty very soon! :) Enjoy your weekend dear!

Hungry Dog said...

You are Cupcake Queen! I love your scientist's take on things, always trying to figure out the "why" of baking. I'm so lazy. I just look at my failures and think, "hmm. Hope it tastes good." :)

Trissa said...

Shaz, you are dedicated to finding the perfect cupcakes - I admire you and envy everyone else who tried them!

shaz said...

Thanks everyone :) I think my guinea pigs might be a bit weary of chocolate cake by now!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

They're adorable Shaz! I do have a thing for pink cupcakes too! :P Can't wait to hear about your news and I hope it all goes well! :)

Lisa Michelle said...

YAY, Iwon a copy of The Cake Bible, so I can make these, although they'd never turn out as beautiful as yours. Those cuppies should be on display! Well,and then eaten lol Love the mini fondant coverings..so dainty and lovely.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

i can't wait to hear about your new project. Happy that you have found the right recipe!!

shaz said...

Thanks folks, Ellie and lorraine - it's a small but personal project, actually, not sure if it would be interesting to anyone else really :)

Esi said...

If you ever feel like sending some of your test cupcakes to California...I'm available ;)

shaz said...

Esi- only if you'll trade some of those sticky meyer lemon rolls :)

adriene said...

They look beautiful and delicious :)

dessert girl said...

The chocolate bread looks like a giant peanut butter cup! You should totally put some peanut butter in those! Yum!

shaz said...

Thanks adrienne :)

Dessert Girl - that is a brilliant idea, I'm going to keep to the chocolate theme and use nutella instead. Thanks for the genius suggestion!

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Looks like it was well worth the effort - not sure I would had the patience and inclination to bake batch after bach for the perfect cupcake - but I'm glad you did! The result looks delicious and professional!

shaz said...

Thanks Plum Leaf, it was for my brother's wedding and in the end the effort was definitely worth it :)