Archive for: Cakes – Cupcakes
After a busy day, nothing will perk you up like a freshly baked cupcake. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to make it to a bakery before they close to pick up that cupcake – especially if that bakery is across town and you have to fight traffic to get there. Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills is making it easy for cupcake-lovers to get their fix 24 hours a day by introducing a cupcake ATM. The ATM works just like the machines that dispense electronics and other non-cash goods, where you can input a credit card and select your cupcake of choice. Each one comes out individually wrapped in a cupcake box, looking just as good as it would if you had walked up to the counter. The machine is also going to dispense Sprinkles merchandise, including their cupcake mixes, and cupcake-shaped dog treats.
The ATM is scheduled to officially open for business in just a couple of weeks. It will restocked every couple of hours (and before closing) with fresh cupcakes and will start by offering eight of their most popular cupcake flavors, including red velvet. The plan is to slowly increase the options that the machine offers, and even to make the yet-to-be-launched Sprinkles Ice Cream available from the machine! If it’s a success, you can bet that the cupcake ATMs will make their way to other Sprinkles stores outside of Los Angeles, too.
Now, I have to say that the other way to get a 24 hour cupcake fix is by baking your own cupcakes (even if you use a cupcake mix!), but I do love the novelty of a cupcake ATM and would definitely swing by to see it in action and pick up a single cupcake if I were in the mood for one.
One of the things that make cupcakes so popular is that they are portable, easy to transport from your kitchen to parties and other events. You can even take cupcakes on a plane to share with friends all over the country and across the globe as long as you’ve made relatively traditional cupcakes. You cannot, however, take cupcakes in a jar with you on a plane.
Over the Christmas holidays, a woman had a cupcake confiscated by the TSA at the Las Vegans McCarran Airport. The story spread quickly and people wondered how a cupcake could possible be enough of a “gel-like substance” (similar consistency to toothpaste or other items that are limited to a 3-oz maximum for carry-on air travel) to be confiscated at an airport. The answer is that it wasn’t a cupcake, but a cupcake-in-a-jar. These creations are popular gifts, consisting of layers of cake and frosting stacked inside of a jar and meant to be eaten with a spoon. Typically, these confections are large and – as you might expect – have a whole lot of frosting inside of them. It was all that frosting that got this particular cupcake into trouble because it was an 8-oz cupcake-in-a-jar (pictured above, right) and good portion of that jar was frosting.
For many people, the best part of Chinese takeout or visiting a neighborhood Chinese restaurant is getting a fortune cookie at the end of the meal. Fortune cookies aren’t the tastiest cookies out there (when compared to, say, chocolate chip), but those little paper fortunes are fun to read and are definitely something to look forward to as you eat. Not too many other foods give our fortunes, either, but if you get a set of Fortune Cupcake Wrappers, your homemade cupcakes might draw fans the same way that fortune cookies do.
This set is packaged in a cute Chinese takeout-style box and comes with two types of cupcake wrappers. The regular liners are meant to be placed in your baking pan and put into the oven. The second set of wrappers have fortunes printed on the inside and are meant to be wrapped around the lined-cupcakes after baking. This allows anyone eating a cupcake to easily access their fortune by peeling off the outer cupcake wrapper without pulling the cupcake apart. The kit comes with recipes, decorating ideas and other tips to help you make your cupcakes showy, but for me the fun is in the fortunes. When you run out, you can buy other paper liners at craft and cake stores, then put your own fortunes on the inside before wrapping your cupcakes and serving them.
Biscoff is a delicious brown sugar and spice, peanut butter-like cookie spread that is gaining fans rapidly. The spread is become more widely available, and while similarities to Nutella and peanut butter make the idea of spreading it on toast or crackers easy, more and more people are wondering what else they can do with this stuff. The answer is that you can do a lot of things, but you have to get a little creative because there aren’t all that many recipes out there yet that call for Biscoff. These Self Frosting Biscoff Cupcakes are a delicious and easy place to start.
One of my favorite Nutella recipes is for Self-Frosting Nutella Cupcakes, a recipe that I’ve been making on a regular basis for years now. The pound-cake like cupcakes are not too sweet and have a topping of Nutella swirled right on top of the batter before they bake. Biscoff is used in the same way here, swirled onto the top of the cupcake batter before baking. The result is tender, vanilla-laced cupcakes that have a sweet-spicy swirl of “frosting” baked right into the top.
The cupcakes get their tight, pound cake-like crumb from the amount of butter in the batter. Reducing it, in this particular recipe, will yield a more muffin-like result. The cake isn’t too sweet, and that really allows the sweet spread to stand out in every bite. The cupcakes keep well and are easy to store, since you don’t need to worry about frosting sliding around when you transport them. They’re a good everyday snack and they’re also pretty enough to serve at brunch or for dessert with coffee
Several months ago, I spotted a new pan that was being introduced for summer baking: a stuffed cornbread pan. This particular pan had a large spike in each of its muffin-sized square cavities onto which you could place anything that you wanted to stuff inside of your cornbread, from a piece of cheese to a jalapeno. The idea was good for cornbread because that is a type of baked good where you don’t really see too many mix-ins. Chicago Metallic has now expanded this idea into a Cupcake Surprise Pan. This nonstick cupcake pan has standard-sized cavities, each with a metal spike for holding mix-ins in place. The spike is also nonstick, and even sticky things should slide off easily when the pan is still warm from the oven.
As with the cornbread, this is an interesting idea because some fillings are quite heavy and usually sink to the bottom of cupcake batter during baking. You could skewer a caramel or a peanut butter cup and be sure it will still be at the center of your cake. You could also use a piece of fruit or a chocolate truffle (for a molten chocolate cupcake effect). Soft fillings, such as peanut butter and cream cheese can be chilled so they hold their shape before putting them in the pan. The pan does have its drawbacks, however, because the fluffy cream fillings that are usually associated with cupcakes still need to be piped into the cake after baking. That said, the pan does give you the freedom to be quite creative with whatever you put into your cupcakes – and you can always leave those spikes unskwered and bake a regular batch of muffins in the pan, too.