Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cupcake Attack

Personally, I'm not a fan of cupcakes. I've been vocal in the past about thinking they're stupid and inferior to real cake. Too often they taste of nothing. I had an emotional crisis a couple of weeks ago that necessitated chocolate and I was near the Primrose Bakery so I treated myself to one of their chocolate cupcakes. Bad plan. It just succeeded in making me more cross and upset. It was far from the worst cupcake I've ever had but it was insufficiently chocolate-y and tasted slightly stale (an almost unavoidable problem with cupcakes in my experience) and the stupid plastic-y sprinkles got stuck in my teeth. Also, I don't like icing (cream cheese icing and real chocolate ganache excepted) and so many cupcakes are 40% cake, 60% icing. They're a waste of space, all things considered.

That said, *HYPOCRITE ALERT* there is no arguing with their aesthetic impact. They can look great, particularly en masse. When my sister asked me to make cupcakes for her birthday I didn't argue - a cupcake for every year looks pretty special. I adapted the recipe of what I think of as my Bruce Bogtrotter cake (which is actually Baked's Sweet & Salty Chocolate Cake) and it worked pretty well. These are chocolate cupcakes infused with salted caramel and topped with a chocolate caramel ganache and a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt. The original cake has three layers, each of which is spread with the salted caramel and ganache, so the whole cake is sodden and delicious. That was too fiddly to replicate with the cupcakes so I just stabbed them generously before pouring over the salted caramel which kind of worked (although it wasn't as effective as I would have liked). They looked great though.

Live action shot before singing.

Many jokes about how they looked like 'dog poo in a good way'. Who knew that was possible?

Utilising the patented anti-dog, balance on top of the toaster technique described here.

I don't understand why, even within three or four hours, cupcakes start to taste stale. Does anyone know? Is it something to do with the paper cases? Am I just being neurotic? I don't know. Thumbs up overall in a holy-crap-these-are-overwhelmingly-powerful kind of way. La soeur managed to eat two. We were very impressed. I had eaten so much of the cake mix, salted caramel and ganache during the making of that I couldn't actually face a cupcake come presentation time! That will teach me.

Ah, it felt good to bake again. You might have noticed a drop in baking content on here and that is because there has been a general drop in baking in my life. Sad times. When I'm simultaneously time and money poor it just seems frivolous. I find it so soothing and enjoyable though that I really should make the time/budget for butter.

Has anyone baked anything exciting recently?

Chuck x


  1. Lovely post about cupcakes.
    I recently saw on some baking show to use those foil cupcake cases, as they help keep moisture in and don't get those greasy stains like the others do. (Even though the others are labeled grease proof or whatever).

    I recently made some special cupcakes for Paddys day- you can see them on my blog. They were outstanding!

  2. well least you went with tones of creamy looking topping. good job! they do look like curly poos but that's fine

  3. haha the slightly sardonic tone in your writing is very amusing and pleasant to read : ) those sound so good, though.your'e right.. they are always stale-tasting no matter where you get them, unless theyve just been made!

  4. Gah, those looks so chocolatey - quite Bruce appropriate! I haven't baked anything lately and you're making me look bad Chuck

  5. omg the cupcakes look good <3

  6. These cakes look delicious! If they're tasting stale after a few hours my guess is you didn't eat them quick enough ;)

  7. If only you could come back cupcakes at my house, but thank goodness you can't! I would eat all of them. I used to love baking, but my oven is on the fritz so it's only things I can steam at the moment, haha.

    xo Mary Jo

  8. The key is to eat em fast! But a very convincing argument.

  9. I'm guilty of being a cupcake lover -- especially now that sprinkles has a cupcake ATM -- What will they think of next!!!?!

  10. OHMYGOD I need to make cupcakes immediately!

  11. Gah! What's the deal with your horrible cupcake experiences? There are two cupcake shops in London that I really like... grr... what are the called? Hummingbird (my favorite there is the red velvet) and Ellas! Oh my gosh, Ella's is so good. There's one in Covent Garden and all the cupcakes are covered in glitter! Hahahha. It's horribly girly but they are really good. Oooo, there's an Oreo one! That's my favorite.

    p.s. I baked chocolate brownies recently but that was out of a pack... I'm not sure that counts? xx

  12. I feel ya...real cake all the way. It's probably better because it has icing inside AND out and all around, trapping in the moisture. Mm.

    I too have been on a baking hiatus but I'm trying to get back in. Looking forward to your creations. I like your blog lots!

  13. Totally agree on the cupcake front, they just can't count as real cake.
    I have similar feelings towards macaroons which are just so pretty but even the best of them just taste like chewy sugar.
    Have you tried Rachel Khoo's recipe for raspberry & lemon curd madeleines? They're lovely!