Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat
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on June 3, 2009
i *love* Martha Stewart's cupcake book! for years i've been searching her web site for cupcake ideas for baby showers and my kids' birthday parties. this book is chock full of wonderfully creative cupcakes for all seasons, holidays and special occasions! i've already made the shark and beach parasol cupcakes for my son's ocean-themed birthday party and the beautiful buttercream chrysanthemum cupcakes for a baby shower. you may think you need some special talent to pull her creations off, but all you need is a little practice and patience! there is no way you can leaf through this book without getting inspired...and drooling! After 287 pages of pics of and recipes for mouth-watering cupcakes, she includes informative pages on tools for baking, how to prepare a piping bag, working with fondant and marzipan, pastry tips and even how to display your treats. my husband agrees that this was a wonderful investment since he's seen how many of her baking ideas have come to fruition in our home...plus he's hoping i make him those yummy tiramisu or choc. salted-caramel mini cupcakes for his birthday! ;) yummo! ENJOY!
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VINE VOICEon June 8, 2009
Cupcakes. Cuppies. Mini-cakes. Cake-shrimpies. Some of the names that have been given to this delicious little confection that are perfect anytime and anywhere and which somehow make us think that they are the perfect diet dessert as well because after all, they're so small!

This book contains many ideas and recipes collected over the years of the MSL magazine and programs along with some new and exciting offerings. Another wonderful treat within this book is that the reader is not limited just to the generic "cupcake" batter itself; there are some fabulous directions that take you to cupakes, mini-cupcakes, and cheesecakes, just to name a few, that let you think outside the typical cupcake box.

And once you are comfortable with making the treats, then you are given some of the most elegant or fun or whimsical ways of decorating these confections: piping techniques, chocolate, fondant, spun sugar (this was a FABULOUS presentation idea that is not at all difficult to achieve; wait until you see the photo!). Cupcake decorating is also a really great way of spending some fun times with kids; the section for Halloween is a blast and the steps to making those cupcakes are all laid out step-by-step so even the wee ones will have fun! For the more grown up occasions, there are pretty floral cupcakes that will make your guests really "oooh and aaahhh" over your creations. The holidays are aptly given attention with decorating-appropriate themed cupcakes with cookies and sprinkles, and piping. Regardless of the occasion, there are bountiful idea's for you to use or adjust, that will match the theme of your party.

From the Domestic Diva herself comes her compilation of 175 ideas, recipes, and presentation for this all-American treat. The book offers cupcakes that range from plain and simple to decadent and elegant; it's up to you how creative you're feeling that day!

Size-wise, it's a smaller book than most but it's very heavy both in weight and photographs; the close-up, detailed photographs, which are a hallmark of Martha's, are perfect.

This is a wonderful way to make single-serving, unique, and tasty desserts that you can serve without fussing with plates, knives, forks, etc.

As per usual Martha standards, there are excellent recipes, detailed directions, and absolutely pristine photography; that's always a given with her and you have to appreciate that as it is necessary when creating some of these confections. There are 8 sections of cupcakes with assorted recipes and ideas per each area.

INTRODUCTION

SWIRLED and SPRINKLED: chocolate chip cupcakes, carrot cupcakes, yellow buttermilk cupcakes, coconut cupcakes (light and fluffy!), red velvet cupcakes, rhubarb cupcakes with whipped cream, Devil's food cupcakes, chocolate malted cupcakes, tiramisu cupcakes (forget counting calories!), banana-pecan cupcakes, blueberries and cream cupcakes, zucchini-spice cupcakes, mocha cupcakes, tres leches cupcakes, date-nut mini cupcakes, ginger and molasses cupcakes, applesauce-spice cupcakes, peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.

DIPPED and GLAZED: brown sugar cupcakes, streusel cupcakes, triple citrus cupcakes, coconut-pecan cupcakes with chocolate ganache, iced pistachio cupcakes, pumpkin-brown butter cupcakes, apricot-glazed black and white cheesecakes, Mrs. Kostyra's spice cupcakes, sticky toffee cupcakes, stout cupcakes, chai-tea mini cupcakes , chocolate-spice cupcakes, coconut rum-raisin cupcakes, and lavender-iced cupcakes.

SIMPLE and SWEET: marble cupcakes, tiny cherry and almond tea cakes, cookie cupcakes (chocolate chunk, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin), raspberry marble cheesecakes, blondie cupcakes, blackberry-cornmeal cupcakes, cookie and cream cheesecakes, pistachio-raspberry tea cakes, flourless chocolate cupcakes (attention all celiacs and gluten-sensitive folks), and allergen-free chocolate cupcakes.

FILLED and LAYERED: Boston cream pie cupcakes (mercy!), strawberry jam teacakes, peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes, Martha's Meyer Lemon cupcakes, mint-filled brownie cupcakes, lemon yogurt cupcakes with raspberry jam, german chocolate cupcakes, meringue cupcakes with berry compote, amaretto-pineapple cupcakes, jumbo cream filled chocolate cupcakes, and Black Forest cupcakes.

PIPED and TOPPED: snickerdoodle cupcakes, roasted banana cupcakes, lemon meringue cupcakes, orange-vanilla bean cupcakes, strawberry cupcakes, chocolate salted-caramel mini cupcakes, s'mores cupcakes, one-bowl chocolate cupcakes with gumdrops, white cupcakes with pastel buttercream peaks, and mint chocolate cupcakes.

BIRTHDAYS: dotted letter cupcakes, gelato topped mini cupcakes, By-The-Sea Cupcakes (sand dollar, starfish, fish, shark and sand dune), ladybug cupcakes, buttercream blossom cupcakes, flower power cupcakes, cookies monogram cupcakes, mini-menagerie cupcakes (pig, mouse, monkey lion), dinosaur cupcakes, game day cupcakes (home run, match point, slam dunk), pretzel topped cupcakes, beetle and butterfly cupcakes, coconut chick cupcakes, clown cupcakes, ice cream cone cupcakes, flock of sheep cupcakes, maple-sweetened carrot cupcakes, cupcake caterpillar.

HOLIDAYS: New Years clock cupcakes, Valentines cupcakes, St. Patricks Day cupcakes, springerle Easter Buny cupcakes, Easter-egg cupcakes, chocolate walnut cupcakes for Passover, Mother's Day Hummingbird cupcakes, Father's Day tee-time cupcakes, 4th of July cupcakes, creepcakes, wicked witch cupcakes, candy ghoul cupcakes toppers, pumpkin patch cupcakes, marshmallow turkey cupcakes, maple cupcakes, candied sweet potato cupcakes, sparkly Star of David cupcakes, gingerbread cupcakes with cookie cutouts, fruitcakes with meringue mushrooms, candy Christmas cupcake toppers, wreath cupcakes.

CELEBRATIONS: monogram heart cupakes, nesting baby bluebird cupcakes (perfect for a baby shower), piped shells and pearls cupcakes, meringue bouquet cupcakes, chrysanthemum cupcakes, graduation day cupcakes, fresh flower topped pound cakes, sunflower cupcakes, honey bee cupcakes, almond hazelnut cupcakes with faux-bois toppers (very cool way with chocolate), strawberry basket cupcakes, piped buttercream rose cupcakes, candied hazelnut cupcakes, spun-sugar crowned cupcakes (this would be a spectacular presentation at any party, even a fancy one!).

THE BASICS: If there was a chapter that should be a required reading, then this wouold be it. This covers the entire spectrum within this book, of what you need to start cupcake decorating. It will also set a good foundation in which you could build upon with other cupcake decorating books and skills. You get a description of what dry and wet ingredients are needed, the tools for baking, the tools and candy embellishments used for these projects, how to use a piping bag, working with fondant and marzipan (these are such great mediums), pastry tips (what they are and photos of what they pipe), then all the frostings, fillings, creams, and glazes to help put your plan in action.

DISPLAYING AND GIVING: Once you've made your creations, how would you like to display them? Well, this is the section that makes it all worth is because we are visual people and to draw the eye to the work, you need imaginative and creative ways of presenting the cupcakes. This chapter accomplished that task, with what you probably already have in your home. Many of these ideas are so simple yet so strong that you realize how much impact is in their simplicity (for example, placing mini-photos glued to a toothpick in a cupcake to celebrate an anniversary or birthday, or making "handles" that turn a cupcake into a mini-basket for an Easter celebration. What about placing a simple paper scallop around a cake platter to make a dainty and delicate presentation?

TEMPLATES AND CLIP ART: The artwork used in each project for you to use by photocopying.

SOURCES: A multitude of sources for the items used throughout the book.

PHOTO CREDITS: All the wonderful and talented folks who helped bring you the visual impact of these great baking projects.

INDEX

You will not be dissapointed in this latest gift from Martha and company. The only hard part will be deciding which to make! Peace!

ADDENDUM: I just wanted to add a little variation I tried on the "Coconut Pecan Frosting" because I was running out of time and needed to move things along. I omitted the evaporated milk and brown sugar and substituted 1 can of sweetened condensed milk instead. Then I brought the mixture to a moderate boil for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly (!), until the mixture thickened to the consistency written. Ah............be still, my sweet tooth!
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on June 9, 2009
I tried the banana cupcakes with caramel buttercream frosting and absolutely loved it. My friends and kids loved it too. One friend even told me that she loved the frosting so much that she was still thinking about it the next day! I have been searching for a buttercream frosting that is not too sweet, and I really like the swiss meringue buttercream. It came out perfect, not too sweet and even my seven year old loved it!
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on March 4, 2010
I bought this book as i love the cupcake stores that are now opening. I have been disappointed with martha because I have now realized she does not test her recipes. I have made 8 of the cupcake recipes, and there is something "off" on every one, and all of these things are recipe flaws;
1- the tiramisu cupcakes call for coarse salt - the salt does not dissolve in the recipe and while eating the cupcake you will crunch into a large piece of salt
2- the rich chocolate frosting is very expensive to make, and the recipe advises you to refrigerate the frosting - this is not true; if you refrigerate the frosting, it becomes a large bowl of fudge; i had to melt the entire bowl of frosting in a double-boiler and then stir for about an hour to gain any consistency back
3- the chocolate chunk cupcakes taste good - but all the chocolate sinks to the botton of the cupcake; thus you have a chocolate bottom that sticks to the paper, and the top 3/4 of the cupcake is just a plain cupcake
4- the buttermilk cupcakes were very heavy - almost like a pound cake, the recipe made 36 cupcakes - the frosting to go with it makes enough for frost 24 cupcakes; i had to go out and buy more ingredients to make another batch of frosting
5- the peanut butter cupcakes turned out good, but the recipe says you can dip your fork into powdered sugar to make the fork marks in the frosting - it should be sugar, not powdered sugar
6- red velvet cupcakes turned out fine
7- cookies & cream cheesecakes turned out find
**all of the cupcakes taste good - however each recipe makes me anxious and there will always be one or two things that is not correct in the recipe; i've have to look up on the internet or call a cake store to fix the problems
**because of these things, won't use any Martha cookbooks in the future as she doesn't test the recipes.
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on September 20, 2009
I'm not a huge fan of Martha Stewart to begin with, but when my sister bought me this book I was so excited. The recipes looked fantastic, the color photos were awesome, and the decorating ideas were fun. So I decided to start with the most basic recipes, the buttermilk cupcakes with the dark chocolate frosting. I'm not a novice baker, and the instructions were simple and clear, so when the cupcakes turned out horribly I was really surprised. The buttermilk cupcake recipe was just "off" - the cupcakes were much too dense. The dark chocolate frosting was the real disappointment, though - it was so bitter and the consistency was far too thin. I used high-quality chocolate and cocoa, as well as high-quality butter, so it's not a case of using inferior ingredients and getting an inferior end result - this is a recipe flaw. I thickened the frosting a bit and was able to pipe it onto the cupcakes, but the finished product was just not what I was looking for. There are far better cupcake cookbooks and recipes out there. I'm giving this book 2 stars, however, because of the great decorating ideas and instructions included in the book. But if you're looking for stellar tasting cupcakes, I'd look elsewhere for recipes.
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on June 9, 2009
If you are familiar with Martha's Cookie book, this one will pair up right beside it. The cupcakes are for an adult pallet, and they are great for entertaining. She never skimps on a recipe. Some recipes call for fresh lemon zest, pureed strawberries, instant espresso powder.... This is not one of those 'lets search in the cabinets to see what we have and make cupcakes with the kids' kinda book. This is a field trip to the store to make the best tasting treats you can for a dinner party.
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on February 7, 2010
Purchased this book because I'm a huge cupcake fan and a foodie. I use only the finest ingredients, and always love finding great recipes.

This book is not a book for stellar recipes. Something consistent among all the ones i created from this book is that they end up turning out very dense and thick-cakey. None are light. None are fluffy, and the flavour profile is very amateur.

Two specific ones I'd like to point out are the peanut butter cupcakes - they turned out just gross and thick and bland
The basic coconut cupcakes didn't even taste like coconut.. i even made a 2nd batch and added more coconut milk and flakes..

Anyhow, .. all this to say, and i am convinced of it.. that this book just has Martha Stewart's name on it, but really isn't up to the MS quality you come to expect.
Save your money and get another book. The recipes and photos themselves are presented beautifully.. but regretfully this is not a book you that you'd want to buy expecting to make cupcakes that will dazzle your friends.

quite the opposite infact.
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on June 22, 2009
...and that's a good thing! Martha Stewart's recent publications (Martha Stewart's Cookies, Martha Stewart's Cooking School, Everday Food) have been outstanding.

"Martha Stewart's Cupcakes" is a great and expansive resource for everything cupcakes.

I especially like this book because it offers such a wide range of recipes. I love to bake, but I am not interested in molding marzipan or creating chocolate-encrusted leaf impressions. The great thing about this book is that it has recipes for those interested in the minute details of cupcake decorations and those, like myself, who just want a tasty chocolate ganache cupcake.

The recipes are organized in fun categories, such as "swirled and sprinked" and "filled and layered." Some recipes are quite demanding (spun-sugar crowned cupcakes) and others are quite easy (red velvet cupcakes). The book is filled with fun holiday ideas for every season and, of course, the beautiful photography that always accompanies the Martha Stewart Living publications.

This book is great for anyone who loves cupcakes. The recipes offer a great range of difficulty, ingredient lists, and flavors. New bakers and pastry chefs alike will find something here to like.

I am very pleased with the quality of Martha's latest release and look forward to whatever she releases next.
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on March 23, 2011
I have ordered four cupcake books from Amazon this past month and had I chosen this one first, my search would have been over. This book is truly the only cupcake book you should need. I know that there are many who collect cookbooks and that is well and good. For those of you who want delicious recipes, ideas on decorations, how to's, many color photos and a section of sources to obtain items, this book gives them all. I am not what you would consider a fan of Martha Stewart but after going through this cupcake book, I must admit that I am now. The book is very well made, the contents is short of spectacular and the recipes are not difficult. There are a few that will take some time but we all want to go a little further and do something that is not just 1,2,3 and it is done. As a cake decorator myself, I appreciate the many decorative cupcakes for their simplicity, creativeity and those that go beyond the routine of decorating. There are new ideas to be gained from this book and from them, you automaticlly begin thinking of other ideas that you can impliment into your own decorating. I would reccomend this book to anyone who has the desire to make beautiful, delicious cupcakes.
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on February 21, 2013
I guess when it comes to anything edible, the bottom line is that personal preference plays a huge role. I have been baking for almost 30 years, so I tend to be a bit picky when it comes to those unique recipes that make it to my go to favorites. Unfortunately, nothing in this book is a keeper for me.

I really wanted to love the recipes in this book. I mean, lets face it, who wants to invest time and money only to be disappointed with the end result? Unfortunately, that's the exact experience I had. The problem with the recipes I tried, is that they were overdone in all aspects.

First I tried the chocolate chip cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting. In my opinion, 1 cup of chocolate chips would have been more than enough compared to the 1&1/2 cups called for. I could barely taste the cake itself. When taking a bite I bit into a mouth full of chips. Another problem with this recipe is that it called for 5 egg whites which made the cake dry out just hours after baking, and speaking of baking, the amount of egg whites made this cake extremely delicate. Way too delicate for the 20 minute bake time that was called for. 15 minutes tops if your oven runs true to temp.

Now, for the dreaded frosting. I could write a page on that alone, but for the sake of moving on I will just say yuk! Too heavy, too rich, and too bitter. The 1/4 cup of butter was completely lost in the massive amount of semi sweet chips and cocoa powder called for. The entire cupcake was an overdone chocolate mess.

The next recipe I tried was the vanilla buttermilk cupcake. I am always in search of a basic vanilla. Again, way overdone. 5 eggs plus 2 yolks??? Is she kidding me? I knew it was a disaster as I was making it, but it was to late to turn back. How can you add 7 egg yolks to delicate cake flour and expect to taste vanilla. The result was exactly what I expected. Instead of tasting a vanilla cupcake, I bit into an egg yolk cupcake.

I did try more recipes, and I could go on and on about what I found wrong with them but I feel like I got my point across.

I gave the book three stars because even the worst books have bits and pieces of useful information.
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