Wedding cupcakes, a show and tell trial.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No, no, not that wedding.

Remember the wedding I talked about a couple of weeks ago? The one where I obtained a new sister-in-law? Yes, that one.

Well, I made cupcakes for it. The bride and groom were very relaxed about the whole wedding thing, and basically left all cupcake decisions to me. After much deliberation and pre-wedding trials, I ended up making a plain chocolate flavour (who doesn’t like chocolate?), a lemon poppyseed, a raspberry and coconut, and a strawberry and champagne flavour (inspired by this post on NQN).

 Counterclockwise from left: Lemon poppyseed, Chocolate, Raspberry and coconut (decorated with coconut and dried raspberry bits, I dried fresh raspberries in the oven), Strawberry champagne.

The first three I was very pleased with, but I hadn’t really trialled the strawberry one and I wasn’t as happy with it. It was my fault, I’d tweaked a recipe found on the Martha Stewart site by messing around with the egg ratios. I also probably added more strawberry puree than called for. All this made the texture a bit dense and slightly “gluey”, even though the flavour was good.

To try and salvage it, I sliced the cupcakes into thirds and sandwiched with homemade strawberry jam to try and get a more interesting finished product. It was fine and no one else seemed to notice, but I am so glad that I only made 6 of these and actually only put out 3 of them on the cake stand. (MC Senior and I each had one, so I think only one other random person was subjected to it). It’s all well and good when I’m experimenting or baking for myself, but when I bake for other people, I feel extremely mortified if something doesn’t live up to expectations!

At least it looked good! Slivered dried strawberry to decorate, and cream cheese icing flavoured with strawberry puree.

Luckily, the other three flavours went down extremely well, and the stand-out was the raspberry and coconut flavour. It’s from the Women’s Weekly cupcake book, and I tweaked it a little by substituting yoghurt for sour cream, and adding coconut cream as well. Instead of making the cream cheese icing used in the book, I made a simple “buttercream” (icing sugar and butter), and flavoured it with a one (or was it two) tablespoons of thick coconut cream. Mmm, it’s very sweet but I could eat spoonfuls of this stuff!

I made a mini chocolate cake for the top tier, it had windsurfers on it. All the decorations made out of sugarpaste (modelling paste)

For the chocolate cupcake, I used my favourite chocolate pound cake recipe from The Cake Bible, and topped it with dark chocolate ganache. Simple but fantastic. I also turned to The Cake Bible for the lemon poppyseed cake, and made up some cream cheese icing to go on top. ( approx 1 part butter to 3 parts cream cheese, lemon rind, teeny bit lemon juice and enough sifted icing sugar to form a spreadable icing. I tend to stop and check and taste as I go until I get a result I’m happy with).

Another view

Now that the show and tell bit is over, let me tell you a little about the trialling part. Remember last year when I was trialling cupcakes for my brother’s wedding? I had issues with the cupcake wrappers peeling off. At the time, I though the trouble was with the amount of liquid in the cake batter (I still think this may play a part in it though). However, this time, I baked my tried and true cupcakes and they peeled quite badly, prompting a rethink.


This time round, I think the culprits were:

1) Cold batter - I didn’t let the eggs and milk warm up to room temperature, thus accidentally chilling the cake batter.

2) Oven not pre-heated properly - For the trial cupcakes, I was mostly rushing through the baking as it was just test cakes, and unfortunately all the rushing meant I didn’t preheat the oven properly.

3) Pulling the cupcakes out of the tins too quickly - I assumed that leaving the cupcakes in the cake tins would cause them to steam and lose the wrappers more. But I found that if I pulled them out straight away, the hot cupcake sort of lost its grip on the wrappers. Instead, if I left the cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes, until they were just warm, the wrappers seemed to stay on better. Anyone know why this is so?

4) Cheap wrappers possibly played a part too.

5) Also, if the cupcakes had not sufficiently cooled, storing them in an airtight container caused them to peel as well.

I made notes!

Actually, for the big day, I intended to remove the cupcakes from the wrapper I baked them in, and to put them into prettier wrappers anyway. So it wouldn’t have mattered too much if the paper had peeled away, but hey, it’s a matter of baking pride, y’know?

Enjoy the weekend, and if I don’t get back on here before Sunday, Happy Mother’s Day to all you lovely mum’s out there!


Jennifurla said...

Umm, wow - spectacular!

Barbara said...

I love the way you've rethought everything, Shaz. The finished products look mighty good to me. And you covered the problem with the strawberry cupcakes well. I don't mess around with recipes much when least not the basic ingredients.
Love the windsurfers!

Fiona said...

Happy mother's Day! Hope you get breakfast in bed!

Wrappers can be such a bugger... I have had the same problems and resorted in the end to using the stiff waxed variety, or to making the cupcakes in their papers inside a deep muffin tin, then cooling as you did for ten mins in the tin before removing, which seemed to help.

shaz said...

Jennifurla - thank you :)

Barbara - thanks! I don't usually mess with the main ingredients either but I didn't have enough egg whites to spare so I tried to use whole eggs instead. Bad idea :)

Fiona - I've got to order some of those pleated nut cups online, I can't seem to find them around here. I've used some of the more expensive waxed ones and they work well, but then the cupcakes sort of pull away from the sides. It can be covered up by icing though :) Thanks for the wishes, I'm not sure about breakfast in bed, I'm pretty clumsy!

chocolatesuze said...

i love lemon and poppyseed! your cupcakes look beautiful!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Even if one of the cupcakes didn't go exactly to plan, I have to say, they look really beautiful, and they are incredibly lucky to have someone as talented as you making all those little cupcakes for them.
I can't imagine how you felt. I mean, I get stressed cooking for a few people, but baking cupcakes for a whole wedding? Thats a big deal.
*kisses* HH

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Wow what a great array of cupcakes and good for you for baking all of them. Thanks for the discussion on wrappers than come off. I used to have that problem a lot and I think underbaking or overbaking will both contribute. Also filling batter closer to the top will help the batter adhere to the wrappers. That's just what I've noticed and may or may not be true though.

pierre said...

the one i prefer is lemon and poppy seeds !!Bravo Shaz !!Pierre

grace said...

i love the variations in color and flavor--nice selections! also, i'm impressed that you were able to ferret out the culprit(s) of your wrapper fiasco. :)

shaz said...

Thanks everyone.

Astrid said...

Shaz I have the same problem with the liners, and Although I'm still figuring it out I have two things clear:
- expensive liners don't help, I used Wilton ones and they peel too, I think is more about the material they are made of...the ones made with waxed paper tend to peel, so it's better to use the simple ones made of regular paper.
- Answering your question about why it helps to let the cupcakes cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, it is because when you pull them out straight away theta there is a strong temperature shock that cause them to shrink and to peel as a consecuence.

shaz said...

Thanks for letting me know Astrid. Actually I have noticed that the cakes shrink back from the waxed paper cups - I don't use them that often though.

So far, I think if the oven is preheated properly, the cakes seem to work well. I'm wondering if this is because the batter cooks faster and doesn't have time to "soak" into the cases too much?

Anyway, here's to working it out :)