A Splendid Snack: Five Great Cupcakes
The cupcake trend has swept the country, with charming little bakeries opening up from coast to coast serving the bite-sized cakes with decadent frosting. If you want to make cupcakes at home, here are five great ideas for recipes that will go beyond the traditional chocolate and vanilla:
– Salted caramel is a popular flavor among more mature eaters – the tang of the salt mixes perfectly with the sweetness of the caramel. For the body of the cupcake, use a dark chocolate flavor to add complexity, then add icing made with salt and caramel. Top with a few large grains of sea salt.
– Red velvet cupcakes are popular because of their dramatic coloration and rich, satisfying flavor. A true red velvet cake uses vinegar and buttermilk to release the red coloration in cocoa, but it’s fine to use food coloring as well. Top with a white buttercream icing.
– Lemon cake is a great choice for cupcakes, as the intensity of the tart flavor works well in a small serving. Use fresh lemon zest in your batter and top with a lemony icing, then crush lemon drop candies or other sour confections in a food processor and sprinkle lightly on top.
– Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes are a great way to make a dense, satisfying dessert. The peanut butter in the batter makes the cupcakes a little heavier than normal, and topping them with a whipped peanut butter icing adds a different texture.
– Another popular way to combine salty and sweet flavors is by making maple bacon cupcakes. Using maple sugar in the batter and icing adds an earthy sweetness, and topping the iced cupcake with candied bacon adds crunch, salt and fat.