Yesterday was Kª’s birthday (otherwise known as The Lady Downstairs). She’s now 19, or somewhere close to that . She’s also the mother of two very energetic young boys, and if you include her husband, she’s outnumbered in the house by males 3 to 1. So I thought that for her birthday I’d give her something incredibly girly — a flowered cupcake. The recipe is Martha Stewart and I got the idea for the flower from here. The decoration part is really time consuming (at least, with my amateur skills) but so totally worth it.
This recipe makes 24 large cupcakes.
First, preheat your oven to 350°F and line two muffin tins with paper liners.
In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon baking soda and give that a stir.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, plop in 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) cocoa powder and 6 tablespoons hot water and mix them into a paste. Apparently this helps to intensify the chocolate flavour. I found I had to add an additional 4 tablespoons of water in order to get a paste, so keep that in mind.
Add in 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) buttermilk (or soured milk), 6 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites and whisk until combined.
Gradually add your bowl of flour and sugar and whisk until smooth.
Scoop the batter into your liners and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the middle cupcake comes out clean. Place the muffin tins on racks and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
While they’re cooling, plop a 250g package of plain cream cheese in a mixer together wtih about 2 cups icing sugar. Whip that up until it’s smooth and creamy. This is your icing.
Frost your cooled cupcakes generously.
Here’s where the ridiculous part comes in. You’re going to need several packages of Fruit by the Foot, or some kind of store-brand equivalent. I haven’t had this stuff since I was a kid. The Pie was thrilled and went off in the throes of nostalgia, an extra candy sticking out of his mouth.
You will need 12 strawberry flavoured ones (red) and at least 1 apple-flavoured one (green). I could only get these variety packs, so I had to cut the green bits from the multi-coloured ones, and I ended up with some purple roses.
Unroll one of your red strips and use a knife to cut a sine wave down the middle of it lengthwise. Don’t worry about being perfect — it will look fine no matter what.
Take one of the halves and, starting from the end, tightly roll it up for about five inches. This is your “bud.”
Take the bud and plop it in the centre of one of your frosted cupcakes. Carefully drape the rest of the candy around the bud, tapping it into the frosting to anchor it. I find it helps if I sort of let it feed through my fingers on one hand and use the other hand to rotate the cupcake.
Then cut out two small leaves from the green stuff and tuck them into the frosting under the flower you have created.
And so you are done.
Now you just have 23 more to go. And actually the purple ones are kind of nice, I think …