Cupcakes are great. They are tiny cakes. They take the pressure off baking a whole cake. They don't have to be cut, they mostly never fail and you can cover a multitude of sins with a good thick slathering of frosting. I love baking them and sharing them at work or just to have in my cake tin to gobble away at will.
Two of my friends at work approached me about making cupcakes for the RSPCA cupcake day, to raise money for 'all creatures great and small'. I jumped at the chance, being one who isn't shy about showing off her baking or cooking prowess. The whole conundrum for me was - what kind of cupcakes to make?
I instantly wanted to go with my favourite flavour - chocolate, though I wanted to make this a special kind of cupcake, something interesting and something that would sell. I decided to try to make a chocolate mud cupcake - just because everyone loves the decadence of a mudcake, I think it is the caloric/heart attack appeal that makes them so desirable. I wanted to make cupcakes that were such a guilty pleasure you feel the need to go to a Confessional after eating.
I wasn't sure how to make cupcakes with universal appeal to both men and women - I can't imagine that men feel all that masculine chomping on a fru-fru decorated cupcake... Or is this not a problem? I also want to create a 'signature' for my cupcakes - similar to how Sprinkles Cupcakes in LA have the dot, I want to make something that makes my cupcakes stand out. I know this is for charity, but I can't help but feel a little competitive! After careful consideration, and pondering what I have done in the past to make my cupcakes memorable, I decided to anoint each cake with a generous flourish of icing - for visual appeal as well as lick-a-bility!
So a week out, close to the big day - I decided to have a practice run using a mud cake recipe I found. I bought some good quality dark chocolate, and I found some brown cupcake wrappers and sprinkles to coordinate with my 'muddy brown' theme.
The list of ingredients are pretty stock standard for a chocolate cake recipe, the only thing that brought me to my knees was the amount of sugar it called for - 480 grams! That and the fact that once I got into the various stages of the recipe my kitchen resembled a demolition site with all the mess I was making!
This recipe yields a generous batter - enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or a tall, dense cake if you chose to bake it as a cake. The batter was rather thin and I was a little concerned that it would be too thin. I put the cupcake trays into the oven, did a little kitchen prayer and hoped that all was well in my baking world.
After a nervous wait and many little 'peeps' through the oven door, I tested them with my skewer and it came out clean (Hooray!) I left my cupcakes to cool. (I am always so impatient when it comes to this stage). I was pleased with how they looked coming out of the oven, so this was a great start. I started on my chocolate butter cream which I then generously piped onto the cupcakes and then decorated them my assorted little decorating accoutrement.
As this was a trial bake, I took some to work to share with my baking colleagues and also amongst friends. The best compliment I think I could have asked for was that it was the best cupcake 'ever'. I also got kudos on my butter cream. I can't help but feel a little proud. *Cheesy grin*
The big day arrived on Monday, I went to work with Chocolate Mud Cupcakes, Lemon Cupcakes and Red Velvet Cupcakes. Lou and Kel who baked with me brought along Vanilla, Hummingbird and Banana. I think we had over 6 dozen cupcakes in total! It was a successful morning, yeilding over $200 in sales and donations to give to the RSPCA. It was fun to share our baked treats with everyone. My Chocolate Mud Cupcakes were a sure fire hit - I could have made 4 dozen and there still wouldn't have been enough to meet the demand!
I really want to share the recipe with you but at the moment I just want to be selfish and keep it to myself for a little while. It is just that good. (Plus I know people who want it already for their own cafe). If you ask me nicely maybe I will share it with you when I am ready.
Until next time...