Cupcakes have a reputation of being overly sweet, but the truth is that these little cakes can be very versatile and don’t necessarily have to be sweet-on-sweet by the time they are assembled. Cupcakes can come in a wide range of flavors and fillings, using everything from sweet, fresh fruits to mouthwatering salted caramels. In Sweet, Savory, and Sometimes Boozy Cupcakes, a Cupcake Wars winner, seeks to push the boundaries of cupcake flavors by working with ingredients like beer, vegetables and herbs to create cupcakes with new, interesting and addictive flavor profiles.
The book doesn’t spend much time on baking basics and, instead, jumps right in to the recipes. This is likely because this book, with its creative approach to cupcake flavors, is not the first book that you’re going to reach for if you’ve never baked a cupcake before. It is divided up into chapters by flavor: Tart + Citrusy + Light, Fruity + Berry, Salty + Nutty, Chocolate, Spice + Cinnamon + Maple + Coffee, and Savory. The chapters are rather broadly defined, so it is no surprise that the cupcakes grouped into each of them actually cover a wider range of flavors than you might expect. For instance, you’ll find a Fig cupcake with a Pear and Fig Filling with Honey Brie Buttercream in the Fruity Chapter and a Chcoolate Blackberry Mojito Cupcake with Rum Lime Buttercream in the Chocolate Chapter. The cupcakes all have layers of flavor that come together in surprising – and delicious – ways. For those looking for traditional cupcakes, there are a few classic recipes sprinkled in with the rest of the cupcakes – and you can always mix and match the cakes and frostings to come up with your own unique creations.
Though the flavor combinations are creative, the recipes are straight-forward and easy to follow along with, so even less-experienced bakers should not have any difficulty baking up a batch of the flavor of their choosing. In each of the recipes, ingredients that need to be used when they are in season or prepared in a certain way (such as fresh herbs) are clearly described, and there are tips on baking and assembling cupcakes that will ensure your cupcakes turn out perfectly. The cupcakes are illustrated with beautiful photos that will get your mouth watering for every single flavor combination.