People predicted that cupcakes had run their course and might go out of style. And then practical moms and hostesses all over stopped that silliness.
There are carriers designed for transporting cupcakes without damage, special cupcake papers and picks and even box mixes designed to help busy moms bake a dozen on the fly.
While cakes will always be popular, cupcakes make any party easier. You don’t have to worry about cutting a cake, you can decorate them all or keep them all simple and just plain pretty with a dollop of frosting on top.
The best kinds of cupcakes are those made with a special touch—you know, the ones that are a special flavor and may be stuffed with extra frosting or filling.
Adding filling can be as simple as using a cake decorating tube or cookie press and pumping a bit of frosting down into the cupcake while you are frosting it.
Or, you might try adding a bit of jam stuffed into the cupcake before you frost the tops. My particular favorite is a chocolate cupcake with a raspberry jam filling!
Cupcakes also allow us to invent our own ideas or even customize flavors so that everybody gets a flavor they like.
Let’s say your darling loves toasted coconut, but you aren’t sure about all the folks coming to the party.
Why not bake a batch of chocolate cupcakes and a batch of coconut? You can make one big batch of cream cheese frosting and split it between the two batches of cupcakes. Then top the coconut cakes with toasted coconut and the chocolate ones with a bit of cocoa or chocolate shavings.
Everybody is happy and you look like a hero.
If you want to make a special cupcake for adults and one for kids, you can start with the same basic butter cupcake and add two different fillings—say, one with bananas for kids and one with caramel and rum for the adults.
Just make sure you change the frosting color or mark the adult cupcakes in some way!
For those of you who subscribe to the Easy Way Gourmet philosophy, here are three of my favorite from-the-box recipes.
They all start with a box mix, but they turn out so well no one will know or care that you took a shortcut.
Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
1 box of chocolate cake mix, prepared into cupcakes as directed on the package
1 jar raspberry jam or preserves
1/ 2 cup of soft butter
1 /4 cup half and half
3 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
½ cup dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
shaved chocolate and fresh raspberries for garnish
Make the cupcakes from the mix according to the instructions on the box. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool. Put the jam into a pastry bag or a sturdy zip lock bag with one corner cut off. Pipe the jam into the cupcakes by just pressing firmly into the top of the cupcake, depositing about a teaspoon of jam into each cupcake. Beat the butter, half and half, vanilla, cocoa and half the confectioner’s sugar together. Gradually add the rest of the sugar until your frosting has a fluffy consistency (you may not need all the sugar to get a soft, fluffy consistency.) Put the frosting into a large zip lock bag and cut one corner of the bag to make a piping bag. Pipe a mound of frosting on top of each cupcake, then dust with chocolate, if desired. Top each cupcake with a fresh raspberry.
Dark Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes
1 box dark chocolate cake mix, prepared according to package instructions
1 jar blackberry preserves
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh blackberry for garnish
Once the cupcakes are completely cool, stuff them with the blackberry jam by using a pastry bag or sturdy plastic bag with a corner cut out to make a piping bag. Press the bag into the top of the cupcake and deposit about a teaspoon of jam in the cupcake. Then, mix all the other ingredients together and beat them until your frosting is smooth. Put it into a large piping bag or another sturdy plastic bag with a corner cut out to make a piping bag. Pipe a very generous swirl on the top of each cupcake. Top with a fresh blackberry.
1 Box Cake Mix, Chocolate or Vanilla, prepared according to package instructions
8 Ounces Ricotta Cheese
1 /4 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Semisweet Chocolate, chopped or in mini-chips
Prepare your favorite cake mix into cupcakes according to the package instructions. Allow to cool completely. Mix together ricotta, sugar, vanilla extract, and chopped chocolate. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, top with ricotta mixture. Sprinkle the top of the cupcakes with cocoa powder. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
More Easy Way Gourmet recipes