Sunday, February 24, 2013

Throwing Cupcakes

 
“Who throws a cupcake? …honestly!”
- young Dr. Evil, Austin Powers

I took a day off to create in the kitchen. Something thrown together to share with friends and coworkers who could use a little cheer in the coming week.  We'll start with cake.

Cake for celebrations or for cheer is a tradition that dates back as far as the Romans, with the idea for the candle on top being attributed to both early Greeks and later, Germans. The origins notwithstanding, the cakes vary from region to region and even among families. Everyone has their own favorite cake for celebrations.

The first one I remember, was not a birthday cake, but an Easter one.  I can still recall that ranch house, the apple trees I was almost big enough to climb, Mom's rose garden that  she painstakingly kept up, that after her death, still bloomed without help or hindrance from any of us.  I can picture that moment as she brought out the cake like it was yesterday.  For at Easter every year, Mom would make a two layer cake, then cut it in half, adding a nose, ears and tail to make a bunny cake. Then she'd make a small cake into a baby bunny.  We'd eat it at the very end of the day, after church, after thanks, after dinner.  There is an extremely faded photo close by from the sixties of one of them.

There were other cakes over the years, some plain, some fancy. Another family member  made me a cake one year that, well, was completely burned on the outside and raw in the middle (using that bachelor cooking time conversion  method of doubling the temperature and cutting the cook time in half).  We still laugh about that.

Birthday cakes come in all sizes and flavors.  Everyone had a favorite, though mine has been, since the very first cake that I can remember, yellow with chocolate buttercream.

Birthday cakes range from  memories of "Oh, that's so sweet!" (and yes, that's a plumbers candle and as Partner is passing the big three-oh very soon, there will be payback, as we say).


to "Get a rope. "


Then there are wedding cakes. Cakes at weddings are intense elaborate affairs that can cost hundreds of dollars. (Seriously?  Register at Midway and make your own cake, think of all the money you'd save). 

What were once tradition white cakes and frosting with the bride and groom toppers are now  as individual as the couples involved.

But todays post is about my favorite- cupcakes.

The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of "a cake to be baked in small cups" was written in American Cooker by Amelia Simmons. They're more than a dressed up muffin. They're fun, they're easy to prepare and share, and if they turn out too dry and overdone they make dandy replacements for sporting clays (pull!).  For lunch OR launching in a trebuchet, they're dandy little things.

What kind?  Honestly, the simplest things are often the best.  My favorite is a vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing but today I added a twist.  The cake is infused with the delicate flavor of almond and brandy topped with a whipped butter cream frosting that is both buttery and sweet, but leaves just a touch of salt on the tongue as the faintest of aftertaste. This is a cupcake for grown ups.  But throw on some sprinkles, because there will always be a little kid in each of us.
 
 

You can just eat one and share the rest.  Right?


click on photos to enlarge

12 comments:

Murphy's Law said...

LOL @ plumbers candle! And Happy Birthday?

Brigid said...

Murphy's Law - no, last summer was the birthday cake. These cupcakes will be well receieved I think and I also made some homemade donuts with caramael icing with chopped salted peanuts for the morning crew. Cookies went into the freezer for when I have guests next. We did take a break for the dog park though and Barkley is now all tuckered out on the sofa.

armedlaughing said...

Any attempt at scratch is usually well received.
Made cheesecakes for friend Bob when he was my boss (and mentor)!
Thanks for the head's up!

I'm still hungry...

gfa

Old NFO said...

yeah, I 'remember' my birthday cake...LOL And they DO look good!

Pink said...

I'm gonna need insulin after looking at those cupcake photos.

Brigid said...

Old NFO - Frozen chicken pot pie with a candle. Served up not so fresh at Terminal B. What's not to like.

Next time, when I didn't just get off shift, a real cake.

gfa - cheesecake is always good. That was nice of you to do that, and I'm sure he appreciated.

Pink - dinner was a greek yoghurt. It was so worth it.

Keads said...

See, all this time I was taught that the quickest way to a man's heart was through the rib cage.

Maybe there is something to the through the stomach thing after all!

drjim said...

I'm with Pink....I'll have to double my Metformin after just reading this post!

The Dalek wedding cake toppers are hilarious.

Beth W said...

I'm positively drooling!
Love the Dalek cake toppers, too.
In retribution for the plumber's candle gag, may I humbly suggest a trick candle (the kind that doesn't go out). Or maybe 30?

Lois Evensen said...

Love that candle! We'll have six of the grand kids here this weekend while the parents get a break. We will be baking a birthday cake for one of the kids so will get creative and let them all help. Love that candle idea! ;)

Deer Passion said...

My grandma always used to make a rabbit cake, as well... Ahhh, the memories.

greg said...

I dig those Dalik cake toppers. I'll have to keep those in mind should my wife and I ever decide to renew our vows....