Today marks my first foray into serious cupcake baking. I say serious but all that really means is I want to make cupcakes that taste and look good. A nice shape that stays together, pretty icing, and a delicious-y moist taste. And I am proud to say that my first ever cupcakes looked like this:
Kidding! No, those are some amazing cupcakes from Bibi’s Bakery here in St Andrews. Sadly, my cupcakes looked much less decadent. But those cupcakes are my goal. ONE DAY, cupcakes. One day.
I will say that my cupcakes were amazingly rich and moist and super tasty. I made a variation of My Baking Addiction’s Café Mocha Cupcakes. Variation here meaning that I winged it and had to compensate for British terminology. In Britain, it’s not confectioner’s sugar, it’s icing sugar. It’s not baking soda, it’s bicarbonate of soda. I also did not have an electric mixer, which I didn’t think was such a big deal. It certainly didn’t make a difference when it came to the cupcakes. Just put a little elbow grease into mixing (though not really, because I don’t think anyone would enjoy elbow grease cupcakes) and you’re fine. It did, however, make a huge difference in making the icing, which involved creaming and fluffing butter to get that nice, light texture. I had a fork. More than just the fluffing of butter, though, is that you had to mix together three sticks of butter with TWO POUNDS of confectioner’s sugar. Two pounds of sugar. Blended with a fork. Fortunately, Gavin volunteered for this position and rallied remarkably. While he may have gotten sugar all over his pant legs and complained about getting butter on his fingers, the icing came out beautifully.
I feel like each time I bake here (that count now being up to two) I discover something else I need. Last time it was measuring cups– which worked wonderfully in this cupcake venture, by the by. I now have a range from 1/32 of a teaspoon to 2 cups. I’m set. This time it’s an electric mixer. And bigger mixing bowls. I’m hoping to find them cheaply around here, because while I have massive upper body strength, sometimes you just need electricity to fluff your frosting.
What was really new and different about this baking experience is I used silicone cupcake holders to bake the cupcakes. Essentially, there are free standing silicone molds that you put the batter in. They look like this:
They’re so fun and colorful! And portable! And jiggly! There are normal cupcake trays in Scotland, but nobody I know has one, so I thought I’d go a little wacky and try something different. They worked remarkably well, except for the fact that not all of the cases handled the amount of batter as well as the others. There might have been some spillage.
The slight wiggliness to the silicone cases means that they’re not quite as stable as a regular tin, and when the batter spills over, it has nothing to spill onto except the tray beneath it. I think next time I’ll use a bit less batter. I’ll also use paper inserts (or three) to add to the interior stability. It also helps to keep the cupcakes in the cases while frosting them so that they maintain their structural integrity. As in they don’t smush up and break apart under the weight of the icing.
In the end, the cupcakes looked like this:
All in all, not too shabby. Not anything like Bibi’s, but I’ll get there. Ooh, I also need those frosting bags with different nozzles and such. Then I’ll be a real professional.
I feel pretty good about them. I made 24 (and had leftover batter to make a tiny round cake in a bowl) and took them to a friend’s house where promptly half of them disappeared. I’m eating one right now and I won’t lie–they taste amazing. Just have to amp up my presentation so Gordon Ramsay will approve of me. Why do I feel like this will be one of my main distractions during NaNoWriMo? And that I’m going to gain SO MUCH WEIGHT in November?