I was a picky child when it came to eating and after years of trying to get me to try various foods, my mother, God bless her, simply gave up. Don’t get me wrong- she made me eat things that were good for me (which most of the time I now ironically prefer eating). But I think she figured it would be silly to teach me cooking or baking since I didn’t like to eat anything anyway.
But then, after moving out on my own (one of the many times) I started experimenting with cooking simple things like chicken and making box cake (Funfetti!).
I discovered eBay at age 18 which led me to the discovery of cute little homemade aprons- which truly made any form of cooking or baking automatically a masterpiece because at least I looked the part.
Enter Charleston, South Carolina a few years later.
Charleston was like a city of dreams to me. There were so many things to try and discover. I had already begun liking different types of food before coming to Charleston, but Charleston is known for its food. And for good reason.
But one of the things I remember most about Charleston was this amazing little shop simply called Cupcake.
Cupcake has a variety of flavors of cupcakes, and they bake 9 flavors daily. The cupcakes themselves are just beautiful, with huge mounds of pretty-colored frosting smothering the tops, enough to make a poor lactose intolerant person like me suck it up and pop lactase pills like a maniac just to gobble down. Cupcake also had cute merchandise- aprons (of course), mugs (I bought one! Love it!), and adorable little tees.
One of the things I loved about Cupcake is that they had a few little tables inside so you could meet up with a girlfriend and have a cupcake. I think they even rent the shop out for Cupcake parties.
They even had little wooden Cupcake voucher coins you could purchase and give to a friend- their version of a giftcard but for exactly the cost of one cupcake each.
I loved the whole concept behind Cupcake. That darling store still appears in my dreams and makes me think about owning my own little cupcake store one day. A cute little shop where girlfriends would meet and have cupcakes and some light drinks. I just love the idea.
(If you live near or visit Charleston, SC you MUST check out one of the Cupcake shoppes! Their website is www.freshcupcakes.com. If you can't make it there- check out the Cupcake blog at http://charlestoncupcakes.blogspot.com/.)
But until we live somewhere long enough so that I can settle down and realize my latest dream of owning my own cupcake bakery, I will continue my obsession with cupcake baking and apron purchasing in my own home.
I would bake batches of 12-24 cupcakes then give away most of them to our neighbors. I thought, at least it will hopefully change their minds from calling me “the crazy neighbor who talks to her dog” to “the nice neighbor who bakes things and gives them to us.” (Ah, the joys of being a military wife when your husband is on deployment.)
Instead I stuck with the non-traditional “Holidays in Hawaii” theme and made pineapple cupcakes with citrus buttercream frosting. Yum!
Anyway, now that I have my nifty cupcake holders, next time I bake I plan to freeze a few cupcakes and stick them in the freezer for emergencies.
Sometimes, you have a cupcake emergency. It happens.
Basically this blog was a tiny rant on how much I love cupcakes and why you should too. (And puppies!)
Also, I wanted to tell you about this awesome new cupcake book I ordered, which isn’t so much about cupcake recipes as are my other two cupcake books, but more about fun, creative ways to decorate cupcakes. And it has fun pictures. And it’s cheap on Amazon. Check it out and look at the pretty pictures! It’s called What’s New, Cupcake?
And because I’ve possibly made you hungry and craving small round cakes inside pretty paper wrappers, here’s my Hawaii for the Holidays cupcake recipe from my first cupcake cookbook, Easy Cupcakes.
Tropical Pineapple Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Frosting
(Sarah’s note: Unless I used the wrong kind of flour, I found this barely filled 9 cups and didn’t rise much. Came out delicious but you may want to double the recipe!
2 slices of canned pineapple in natural juice
6 tbsp butter, softened
Generous 3/8 cup superfine sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Scant 5/8 cup self rising flour
1 tbsp juice from the canned pineapple
For the frosting
2 tbsp butter, softened
Generous 3/8 cup soft cream cheese
Grated rind of 1 lemon or lime (I loved the lime!)
Scant 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put 12 paper cases in a muffin pan or put 12 double-layer paper cases on a baking sheet.
Finely chop the pineapple slices. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg. Add the flour and, using a large metal spoon, fold into the mixture. Fold in the chopped pineapple and the pineapple juice. Spoon the batter into the paper cases.
Bake the cupcakes in the preheated over for 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
To make frosting, put the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and, using an electric handheld mixer, beat together until smooth. Add the rind from the lemon or lime. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the mixture, then beat together until well mixed. Gradually beat in the juice from the lemon or lime, adding enough to form a spreading consistency. (Sarah’s note: I actually found I needed to add a little more confectioners’ sugar to thicken the mix.)
When the cupcakes are cold, spread the frosting on top of each cake, or fill a pastry bag fitted with a little star tip and pipe the frosting on top. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve.