Thursday, January 24, 2013

Icing on the Cupcake

Cupcake shops are all the rage right now and who doesn't love a cupcake.  Many of you probably watch the show Cupcake Wars on the Food Network and have seen Candace Nelson the owner of Sprinkles cupcakery which is located in California and is credited to be the world's first cupcakery.  Cupcakes are probably one of my favorite things to make so I thought naturally I should write a blog post about them.  They can be quick and fairly easy, but absolutely delicious!!!

Based on what I have heard over the years it appears that no one is really sure where the name came from for the little individual cakes.  Some have said it is because they were originally baked in cups and some say it is because in earlier recipes the amount of ingredients were measured by a cup of this and a cup of that, etc.  I don't really care how the name came about.......I'm just glad cupcakes themselves came about.  :)

I love being about to play around with different flavors and different flavor combinations you can create with the cake, the icing, and a filling (if you choose to add one).  I have a few combinations written in my handy, dandy notebook for when Sweet Inspirations hits the ground running.  Some of you taste testers may need to be on alert in the next few months.  (hint hint)  Now, while I am a cake girl there are many icing people out there whose favorite part of the cupcake is the icing.  In my opinion the icing is just as important as the cake in that if you have a great cake, but a mediocre icing then it is not going to be an enjoyable experience.  In the next few pictures you will see a few different types of icings.  Each are delicious but just a little different.

In this first picture you will see the usual American buttercream icing.  Buttercream icing holds its shape very well and is recognized by many.  It usually has a delicate balance of butter and powdered sugar to make it both sweet and creamy.  If you need even more stability in your "buttercream" you can substitute some or all of the butter with shortening which melts at a higher temperature and allows you to create a whiter icing.

Another type of buttercream is a Swiss Meringue buttercream.  This buttercream is not made with powdered sugar but with a light, fluffy meringue and is a little more delicate than the American buttercream.  In the picture below the icing is a fresh strawberry swiss meringue and it was so delicious!  The texture of a swiss meringue buttercream is so smooth and I can't wait to share it with all of you at Sweet Inspirations.  :)  (I have to start getting in my plugs where I can right???)

Of course who doesn't love a delicious cream cheese icing.  In the picture below are dark chocolate cupcakes with a peppermint cream cheese icing.  The one thing you have to remember with cream cheese icing is that it cannot sit out for an extended period of time due to the cream cheese.  You wouldn't want to make anyone sick.

Chocolate!  Probably the second most requested icing I make.  Well, unless it is for my friend Jennifer in which it is the most requested flavor......specifically my fudge icing.  Hmmm, I owe her a batch of fudge icing don't I?  Anyway, this fudge icing starts with actual actual melted chocolate instead of just cocoa powder to get a rich chocolate flavor that is so decadent and rich!  The cupcakes below are from my brothers birthday.  Even though I was making cupcakes I wanted them to be just a little manly so I thought chocolate and sissy flowers or delicate flavors here.  lol   Mmmm, I think I want some fudge icing. 

If you are looking for something a little lighter you can always opt for a whipped cream icing.  Again, like the cream cheese icing this cannot sit out for extended periods of time due to the cream.  I really love this icing and because I am more of a cake girl the mixture of whipped fresh cream and just a little sugar really pairs nicely since it is so light and really lets the cake shine.

There are many more icings, but these are the ones I have worked with the most.  I planned to go into some of the different ways you can decorate a cupcake, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that is for yet another post.  So, stay tuned to read all about the art of the cupcake in a future posting. 

February 3rd is the Super Bowl here in New Orleans, not to mention that we are in the midst of Carnival/ Mardi Gras season.  Soooooo, we are going to be so busy over the next couple of weeks.  Don't worry though.......I'll be sure to take notes and lots of pics to share with all of you.  Who knows, maybe with all of these celebs in town I'll have a pic or two of them to share.  Fingers crossed!

And so I bid you good day and remind you that Life is Sweet, so enjoy all of those delicious calories of life that good times and good friends have to offer. 

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

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