Swirled and sprinkled, dipped and glazed, or otherwise fancifully decorated, cupcakes are the treats that make everyone smile. They are the star attraction for special days, such as birthdays, showers, and holidays, as well as perfect everyday goodies. In Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, the editors of Martha Stewart Living share 175 ideas for simple to spectacular creations-with cakes, frostings, fillings, toppings, and embellishments that can be mixed and matched to produce just the right cupcake for any occasion. Alongside traditional favorites like yellow buttermilk cupcakes swirled with fluffy vanilla frosting and devil’s food cupcakes crowned with rich, dark chocolate buttercream, there are also sweet surprises such as peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, dainty delights like tiny almond-cherry tea cakes, and festive showstoppers topped with marizpan ladybugs or candy clowns.
The book features cupcakes for everyone, every season, and every event: Celebrations (monogram heart cupcakes perfect for an elegant wedding); Birthdays (starfish-on-the-beach cupcakes sure to be a hit at children’s parties); Holidays (gumdrop candy ghouls and goblins ideal for Halloween revelers); and Any Day (red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a picnic, or caramel-filled mini chocolate cakes for grown-up gatherings).
In singular Martha Stewart style, the pages are both stunning in design-with a photograph of each finished treat-and brimming with helpful how-to information, from step-by-step photographs for decorating techniques to ideas for packaging and presentingyour cupcakes. Whether for any day or special days, the treats in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes will delight one and all.
Sample RecipeOne-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Gumdrops
Piped buttercream starbursts and chewy gumdrops make playful toppings for these ever-popular chocolate cupcakes. As the name of the recipe implies, all the ingredients come together in one bowl. Using vegetable oil instead of butter makes an exceptionally moist cake; good quality cocoa powder, such as Valrhona, produces a deep, dark color and the best flavor. White icing and clear gumdrops combine in this elegant monochromatic motif; use multi-colored gumdrops for a more whimsical effect. You can customize the cake flavor by using a different extract in place of the vanilla; for example, anise would complement the clear gumdrops used here (increase amount of extract to 11/2 teaspoons). makes 18
1 1/2 cups -all--purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch--process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (page 304)
3/4 pound gumdrops, for Garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract, and the water; beat until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
3. To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium French-star tip (Ateco #863 or Wilton #363) with buttercream. Pipe 5 starbursts around perimeter of cupcake, then pipe another starburst in the center. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature, or refrigerated up to 3 days, in airtight containers. Bring to room temperature and place a gumdrop in the center of each starburst before serving.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
If there is one frosting recipe a home baker should always have on hand, this is it. This all-purpose buttercream has an ultra-silky, stable texture that spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes, and can be piped into perfect peaks and patterns. Swiss meringue buttercream is also less sweet than other types of frosting, with a wonderful buttery taste. It can be varied with different extracts, juices, zests, and other flavoring agents, and tinted any shade. Don’t worry if the mixture appears to separate, or “curdle,” after you’ve added the butter; simply continue beating on medium-high speed, and it will become smooth again.
Makes about 5 cups
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
4. (Optional) To tint buttercream (or royal icing), reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too soon, as the hue will intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.
MARTHA STEWART LIVING MAGAZINE was first published in 1990. Since then, more than three dozen books have been published by the magazine's editors.
MARTHA STEWART is the author of three dozen bestselling books on cooking, entertaining, gardening, weddings, and decorating. She is the host of The Martha Stewart Show, the popular daily syndicated television show.
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