As a child I remember licking the sweet frosting off cupcakes. As an adult, I've taken advantage of the ease cupcakes offer and have even served them at dinner parties where the pretty little individual servings reduce the burden of cutting appropriately sized pieces of cake or pie.
Yet, I'm not the most patient when it comes to decorating and have hesitated to serve cupcakes more often since, in the past, mine aren't' necessarily that pretty. And while bakeries exist today that are devoted entirely to cupcakes, at a couple of bucks a cupcake I'm certainly not going to buy a couple dozen from a bakery to serve at a party.
That's why when I saw the Cupcake Kit by Elinar Klivans I was instantly intrigued. The kit contains pretty cupcake liners, a reusable pastry bag and a small booklet with a variety of cupcake and frosting recipes. The booklet packs a lot of information into its small size ranging from tips on the best flour to storage (yes freezing is a great option for cupcakes!) to frosting and decorating your creations.
While the four initial basic recipes in the booklet are a great introduction I was most intrigued by the Hummingbird Swirls cupcakes (see recipe below). The Hummingbird swirls are one of the ten 'advanced' cupcake recipes, although, as with most cupcakes, they really aren't very difficult to make. They combine fruit and nuts to make a moist and flavorful cupcake that compliments the slightly sweet frosting, making a pretty irresistible little treat or dinner party dessert. And I found the pastry bag helped to make the cupcakes pretty in addition to tasty.
With bunches of the provided decorative liners remaining, I can see myself making many more cupcakes and decorating with the pastry kit, despite my impatience, to make them oh so pretty!
From Cupcake Kit by Elinor Klivans (Chronicle Books, 2009)
Hummingbird cake is a banana, pecan, and pineapple cake that is generously filled and topped with cream cheese frosting. This cupcake version adds the fruit and nuts to a yellow cupcake batter and covers the top of the cupcakes with thick swirls of cream cheese frosting. Piping the frosting through a star-shaped pastry tube is a fast way to add a fancy party finish.
Makes 12 medium cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup canola or corn oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (1 banana)
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) pecans, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Make the cupcakes. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg, egg yolk, and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth. Add the cinnamon, mashed banana, pineapple, and pecans and blend into the batter. Fill each paper liner with about a 1/3 cup batter, to about 1/4 inch from the top of the liner.
Bake just until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the cupcakes from the pan onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
Make the frosting. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten it further.
Spoon the cream cheese frosting into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star pastry tip. Beginning at the edge of each cupcake, pipe swirls of frosting to cover the top of each. Pipe the frosting in a circular motion or back and forth in swirled lines over the top. Any pattern of swirls looks nice. Serve, or cover and refrigerate.
The cupcakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
About Cupcake Kit
This kit has everything needed for making and decorating dozens of festive cup-sized confections: 14 scrumptious recipes 250 decorative cup liners in two sizes a pastry bag and an assortment of piping tips for creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
Available at amazon.com
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.