review: big book of cupcakes
I just love all the wonderful ideas out there for cupcakes and Betty Crocker’s Big Book of Cupcakes, published by Wiley, is a great resource for making cupcakes in cute, clever and classic ways. It’s a thick book filled with more than 175 recipes with photos for each one. And, if you don’t bake much from scratch, you’ll be pleased to know that every recipe also explains how to create it from a boxed cake mix.
The Big Book of Cupcakes gives the background on cupcakes whose popularity started with children’s parties, progressing to the current ones which are clearly designed for adult palates, with flavors like Mango Jalapeno. Four basic cake recipes and five frosting recipes are included as a jumping-off point for the cupcakes in the book and they even teach you how to frost cupcakes to get different effects. I loved the idea of mixing yogurt with whipped topping for frosting or topping frosted cupcakes with tiny, cute cookies or candies. Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes also includes recipes by six baking bloggers who each contributed excellent cupcake suggestions.
The Simply Delicious chapter offers a range of scrumptious cupcakes — from classics like Red Velvet (with marshmallow buttercream) to the more current flavors like Orange Soda, or Ginger and Peach. Bake Sale Favorites include Root Beer Float cupcakes, baked in ice cream cones and topped with straws, and Watermelon Slice cupcakes, plus many more best-sellers for your next bake sale. There are lots of fun ideas in the Kid’s Party area, like Mini Cupcake Banana Splits or the adorable Campfire S’mores cupcakes, which have toasted mini-marshmallows on pretzel sticks cooking over a red and yellow hard candy “fire”.
The Soft Pink Bunny cupcake and 4th of July Fireworks Towers are a couple of the treats in the Holiday area. There are so many gorgeous ideas, including the Hanukkah dreidels made from caramels and kisses, and the wreath made of poinsettia topped cupcakes. My favorite holiday idea was the Gingerbread Train made out of regular and mini cupcakes. There are also cupcakes for Special Occasions, with delights like Tres Leches cupcakes or a cupcake that look like a delicious cup of hot chocolate with a pretzel handle and marshmallows on top.
The recipes in the Big Book of Cupcakes are all beautiful, yet are actually very do-able, using easily accessed ingredients and simple techniques.
Here is a yummy (and pretty healthy!) recipe from the Big Book of Cupcakes:
Double Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 egg white
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, if desired
1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking cups.
2. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, peanut butter, sour cream, egg and egg white with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in remaining ingredients except powdered sugar on low speed just until mixed. Divide among muffin cups.
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle tops with powdered sugar.