Sometimes I am ridiculous. I present to you Exhibit A:
Really though, my obsession with baking hits a high whenever I am invited to any get together that is even vaguely themed. This week’s party? A classy-themed shindig planned by a fellow fourth-year journalism student, Joel (for those who follow my comments, he was the one who identified the correct way to pluralize stegosaurus).
Cupcakes are my go-to “bring to a party and have everyone fawn over you and be impressed” food, but things have gotten challenging lately. The challenge: I have made a countless number of cupcake recipes already (see my cupcake category in the drop down menu on the right), meaning that creativity has been ever the more difficult to uncover. Google, which is normally a constant source of inspiration, failed me this time around. If you enter the term “classy cupcake” you stumble on more tragically named bakeries than anything else.
What I’m saying is that extensive brainstorming went into finding the perfect cupcake for this party. At first, I thought of doing something infused with champagne, before realizing that I was far too lazy to go buy a bottle and that the resulting purchase would likely just throw me into a tizzy of early morning alcoholism. I thought of dipping strawberries in chocolate, stuffing raspberries with a ganache, mixing finely chopped mint leaves into a decadent filling… None of the combinations were quite right. Nor did I have time for them.
My guardian angel of the week, Martha Stewart, saved the day. One of my searches landed me on her slideshow of fancy cupcakes. I was clicking through photo after photo, bleary eyed and getting increasingly disgusted by the hypothetical pool of drool that was being induced by the pictured cupcakes. Then, just like that, it happened. I found the perfect solution to my problem. It was slide number 18 out of 30. Candy-Bow-Tie Cupcakes. Be still my beating heart.
Everything was a breeze from here. I quickly whipped up a plain chocolate cupcake batter, and baked 20 cupcakes with perfectly rounded tops. Then the real fun began: it was bow tie making time.
Aside: Why does bow tie have a space between words, while necktie is all one word? It seems unfair to me.
These candy bow ties were made with fruit by the foot candy, purchased at my handy dandy local corner store. I
LOVED completely hated that I bought too many rolls, and my attentive bow tie, er, tying, was accompanied by the inhaling of nearly 15 feet of candy fun. We will not discuss the sugar crash that followed.
The bow tie making process is a little complicated to explain in words, and the instructions Martha (bless her soul) gives are not the easiest to follow. And so, I present my first video tutorial, made mid-sugar crash with a hairstyle that has been ruined by a morning of incessant head-in-the-oven cupcake checking. Please don’t judge. Update: Yep, there is most definitely an issue with lip-word co-ordination in this video. I blame my four-year-old laptop and the fact that it was running on reserve battery power at the time. Bear with me. Update 2: Oh god that’s a terrible screen capture.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/35851729 w=500&h=400]
I woke up at 7 a.m. on Friday morning to make the mint buttercream icing for the cupcakes (once again, I am so grateful for the silence of my new Kitchenaid hand mixer). Freya and I have a new roommate, who has already noticed that we bake way more than the average people. She came downstairs on Friday to the sight of me making Oreo cookie crumb suits for my cupcakes. I am not helping my cause, am I?
Anyways, the result was adorable, I thought. These are definitely one of the top five favourite things that I’ve made. Suit up!
Recipe: Tuxedo cupcakes with candy bow ties
Cupcake recipe from Annie’s Eats, bow ties inspired by Martha Stewart
– ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
– ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
– 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
– ¾ tsp. baking soda
– ¾ tsp. baking powder
– ½ tsp. salt
– 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1 2/3 cups sugar
– 3 large eggs, at room temperature
– 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
– ¾ cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth. In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.
Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 19 cupcakes.
– 7 individual packages of fruit by the foot candy, in whatever colour you choose (there are six individual packages per box – I suggest you buy two boxes and treat yourself to a 10 p.m. treat with the rest)
Follow the instructions outlined at this link or watch my video tutorial and laugh at my awkwardness!
Mint buttercream icing and decoration
Icing recipe adapted from Canadian Living
– 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
– 5 cups icing sugar
– 1/2 cup whipping cream
– 1/2 tsp pure mint extract
– About 1 cup of Oreo cookie crumbs
In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in mint extract.
Use a icing spatula to carefully spread a generous portion of the icing around the rounded cupcake peak, leaving no chocolate parts exposed.
Using a butter knife, rest the blunt edge of the blade along the cupcake at a diagonal angle to create one side of the tuxedo jacket. Grab a fingerful of cookie crumbs with the other hand and carefully sprinkle them in this triangle area, using the knife to prevent them from scattering onto the “dress shirt” portion of the cupcake. Repeat with the other side of the tuxedo jacket.
Place one of the candy bow ties in the middle of the dress shirt. Admire the handsomeness of the cupcake.
Makes enough to ice 19 cupcakes.