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.
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.
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!