Baking Tales

Having A Cupcake Party

Cupcakes – what’s there about it that doesn’t appeal, especially to a girl? The petite size that doesn’t make the sweet tooth guilty, the pretty icing, as well as the variety of colours that appeals to the eyes.

But on the other hand, there are some things that doesn’t make cupcakes that favourable. The overly sweet icing, the meagre size that doesn’t quite satisfy, and the overall artificial look of it; sometimes it just looks too nice to be eaten!

Cupcakes - yay or nay?
Cupcakes – yay or nay?

I once belonged to that former school of thought and couldn’t quite understood the rave about cupcakes. I found the store-bought ones too sweet and too small, and just not my thing…

…Until I started baking my own cupcakes 😛

So you all know my baking interest started with me baking mini cheesecakes. After exploring my high school friend’s blog, I got inspired by her recipes and decided to have a go at her other cupcake recipes!

At the same time, Aldi was having a sale on cupcake accessories and Ann, being the thoughtful housie she was, got me a little gift to support my new hobby…

Aww how sweet is my housie?
Aww how sweet is my housie?

I also got 1 or 2 other things from that sale at Aldi and got going at some cupcake baking!

Earl Grey Cupcakes, Lemon & Maple Cupcakes
Earl Grey Cupcakes, Lemon & Maple Cupcakes

And unwittingly, I tackled not 1 but 2 recipes at 1 go!! The story was that I had wanted to bake 24 cupcakes for a sister’s birthday (24 because it was going to be at a dinner gathering). So I thought I would do the Earl Grey Cupcakes with a Chocolate Ganache but I ran out of earl grey teabags 😦

Since I didn’t have enough earl grey tea to make 24, to make up for the rest, I decided to whip up the Lemon & Maple cupcakes since I already had the ingredients at hand.

That cost me 3h in total at the kitchen but I think I was on an adrenaline high after making that 1st batch. I found it quite fun actually, with Ann being my ever ready support to be my taste-tester and lick the leftover batter clean. Haha. But yea, the baking episode did leave me pretty exhausted!

Yes, notice my new cupcake carrier from Aldi, complete with a baking tray as the bottom tier!
Yes, notice my new cupcake carrier from Aldi, complete with a baking tray as the bottom tier!

So with that, my 1st batch of 24 cupcakes was ready to be presented!

Yup that's my other purchase from Aldi - a cupcake tier!
Yup that’s my other purchase from Aldi – a cupcake tier!

So what was the crowd’s verdict? For the Earl Grey cupcakes, the intensity of the earl grey flavour was there which didn’t make it a very sweet cake, and that was what I had hoped for so yay! But while the rest found the chocolate ganache okay, I personally thought the ganache overpowered the overall taste. I think I should just stick to the recipe and make the chocolate earl grey frosting next time, and make sure I’ve enough earl grey teabags!

As for the Lemon & Maple cupcakes, it was well-received as well as everyone found the cream cheese topping quite unique – it was creamy, cheesy, lemony and mapley (if there’s such a word) all at the same time so it was quite a complex yet good combination of flavours. And more importantly, the balance was there so it wasn’t too sweet 🙂 Ann had a ball licking the leftover cream cheese batter and I’m pretty sure I would be quite happy having it by itself too! My only regret was that I was too tired that night to make the lemon curd that my friend had incorporated into her recipe so if I were to have another go, I would definitely try it out!

So my 2nd attempt at cupcake-baking came when Ann’s birthday came up!

Since this girl loves her banana bread, I was inspired to find some banana-related recipe. And I came across this recipe for Banana Choc-Chip cupcakes with Choc-Peanut Frosting – how decadent does that sound??

Decided to pop in some raspberries to cut through the richness and add abit of colour
Decided to pop in some raspberries to cut through the richness and add abit of colour

I had a lot of fun baking and the smell of the cupcakes baking in the house was amazing. However, the fun sort of stopped when I got to the frosting. The recipe required a swirl frosting and even though I had ZERO experience of piping, ambitious little me decided to give it a go. The results, of course, were disastrous…

The results of my failed piping...
The results of my failed piping…

Sigh. I felt that my failed swirling made the cupcakes look quite unappetising (even though they smelled great) so I decided to put raspberries on top, in hope of making them look more appealing!

The 2nd cupcake party
The 2nd cupcake party

So what were the crowd’s thoughts this time round? The cake itself was well-approved – it was moist with the banana and the choc chips stayed melted and gooey, yay! Most of them also loved the peanut butter frosting and when they told me that, I realised that I should have just taken things a little easier and just stick to 1 frosting! I did a boo boo however, by using white sugar instead of confectioners’ sugar for the frosting as I didn’t have time to go out to get it. That caused the frosting to be quite grainy 😦 Ah the technicalities of baking that can’t be ignored!

Blessed Birthday Ann!
Blessed Birthday Ann!

So that has been my cupcake-baking adventures thus far! It’s been fun exploring recipes with ingredients that get me excited and coming up with combinations that give more depths of flavours than just pure sweetness. It’s also fun sharing these cupcakes with people and having a mini cupcake party, just to add some colour, liveliness to the table and sweetness to the day!

Do you like baking cupcakes? If so, feel free to share some of your favourite recipes! 😉

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