I don't mean it's about half-baked cupcakes, but it's a half-baked blog post!
Cupcakes vs patty cakes. They’ll always be “patty cakes” in my mind or perhaps “fairy cakes” like they were when I was a little kid. However the term “cupcakes” seems to have invaded from the bad old US of A, just as “cookies” has almost replaced “biscuits” in good old Oz.
In our household we’ve always made muffins- by our definition these have been un-iced small cakes made in multiples of 6 or 12, depending on the compartments in the tray. Here's a tasty banana choc-chip muffin from the last batch I made- it's actually a giant one that had to go in a souffle ramekin! Noms, it was good!
Muffins (as opposed to patty cakes), also seem to have something included in the mix besides the usual flour, eggs and sugar- fruit, herbs, leaves, frozen stuff, flowers, seeds etc. I’ve made muffins with some lavender in them, pumpkin seeds (plus a bit of pumpkin pulp and raisins), various combos of nuts and fruit (like apple and walnuts; macadamia and pineapple); savoury ones with bacon and garden herbs, frozen raspberries, blueberries or blackberries; fresh raspberries, stewed dried apricots; I’ve put chunks of fresh coconut in them or lots of desiccated coconut; almonds and chunks of marzipan. Why would I want to hold back from eating any of these by waiting to put icing on top? They don’t need it.
OK- so I’m going to make little patty cakes/cupcakes just for a giggle. Should I make a madeira cake mix (the usual basis for muffins as its quite robust), or should they be based on sponge? I think sponge ones might get too tough as the outsides are big compared to the insides… So maybe I’ll stick with the madeira cake/butter cake style. Then I have to decide on a flavour- plain vanilla (yummy) or an “artifical” flavour from some of those essences in the pantry- we have lemon, coconut, aniseed, almond, raspberry as well as fake vanilla. If its plain vanilla, I usually have some vanilla pods stored under the caster sugar in its 2-litre container- legacy of several trips to Tahiti where we bought great wodges of them at a vanilla orchid farm or roadside stalls. I also try to buy the lovely Bourbon Vanilla Essence (either from Madagascar or Jamaica, I think) although that’s a bit bl**dy expensive these days, so I settle for the Queens Real Vanilla Essence. Do people make their cupcakes with self-raising flour or plain? I'm a fan of plain myself, with some bicarb and plain yoghurt to get the rise. I always forget with muffins that have wet ingredients in them (like frozen raspberries etc) that you need more solidity in the mix, plus more rising power! at least cupcakes shouldn't give this problem.
Now I'm madly searching for different recipes to see if I can inspire myself to make something yummy! Perhaps someone might like to pass their most successful recipe on to me? All offers gratefully received!
Hmm: http://chockylit.blogspot.com/2005/12/browse-cupcakes.html had been closed, but had this gorgeous recipe: Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache , which really appeals to me! This blog became cupcakeblog, but had then been superseded by http://idreamofdessert.com/
However, the IDreamofDessert site is not live yet, so we'll have to wait!! Frustrating little journey on the interwebs there…
Loomlady (http://loomlady.blogspot.com/) has a knitted cupcake!
For the T-shirt types, I even discovered a cupcake one. A certain blogger/Plurker who knows who they are (well, I hope she does), may appreciate this link! T-shirt at: www.mrcloud.com
I'll keep adding to this, but I needed to get something up here to motivate myself! Duuuhhhhhhhh!!