Cupcakes!: From the Cake Mix Doctorby Anne Byrn
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The cupcake is America’s darling. It’s celebrated in upscale bakeries, on Sex in the City, on the cover of Gourmet, and in thou-sands of classrooms—where every day, it seems, a parent has sent in a batch for the kids to share. The very word conjures up whimsy, coziness, pleasure, nostalgia. Not to mention the fact that their diminutive size means you can eat a lot of them.
Once upon a time, a family had only two recipes for cupcakes—chocolate and vanilla. Not anymore. Now Anne Byrn brings them to the next level. And who better? Recognized as the master of cake-mix baking, Anne is the author of The Cake Mix Doctor and Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor, which have a total of over 1.8 million copies in print. In Cupcakes she offers 135 tempting recipes for children and grown-ups, for special days and everyday, lunch bags, holiday festivities, and an unexpected dinner party dessert.
You’ll never believe these artful little cakes started with a mix. Coconut Snowballs, Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes, Kiss Me Cakes, Warm Chocolate Cupcakes with Molten Centers, Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting. There are surprising additions (tuck a chocolate kiss orpiece of cookie dough into the batter). Creative toppings and easy from-scratch frostings (whipped cream spiked with Kahlua; miniature M&Ms; a creamy malted frosting with crushed malted milk balls).Terrific decorating ideas, from glittering golden dragees or elegant chocolate curls to yellow peeps for an Easter cupcake or—for Groundhog’s Day—a groundhog’s face made out of chocolate frosting and jimmies. Includes a 16-page full-color opening essay.
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Read an Excerpt
It was chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten of New York City who put little chocolate cakes with warm, melting centers on the map. The method he uses is to bake a rich chocolate batter with very little flour at a high heat until the sides of the cake set but the centers are still runny. This method works in a restaurant kitchen, but there is a more practical method for the home cook. This one uses a chocolate cupcake batter with a center of chocolate ganache-that luxurious mixture of semisweet chocolate and hot cream, stirred until smooth, and allowed to cool. The ganache sinks into the batter as the cupcake bakes, creating a creamy molten center. Serve these tout de suite, as the French would say, and have ready to go the dessert plates, forks, sauce, and sugar for sifting.
Basic Chocolate Ganache (see below), chilled at least 1 hour (see "the Cupcake Doctor says" below)
Cinnamon Crème Anglaise (see below)
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pans
All-purpose flour for dusting the pans
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Prepare the Basic Chocolate Ganache, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator to chill. Prepare the Cinnamon Crème Anglaise, cover it with plastic wrap placed right on the surface, and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly mist 24 cupcake cups with vegetable oil spray and dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.
3. Place the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and blend 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes.) Drop a heaping teaspoonful of ganache onto the top of the batter in each cup. Place the pans in the oven.
4. Bake the cupcakes until the cake bakes up around the ganache, the tops are domed, and the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks for 1 minute. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake cups, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on dessert plates, sift confectioners' sugar over the top, spoon the crème anglaise in a pool around each cupcake, and serve warm.
Store these cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 1 day. To reheat so the centers are molten once again, place the cupcakes on a microwave-safe plate and cover with paper towels. Heat on high power for 10 seconds, carefully remove, and serve.
Basic Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
8 ounces (1 1/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon liqueur of your choice or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
1. Place the cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring. Meanwhile, place the chocolate chips in a large stainless steel mixing bowl. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the liqueur, if desired. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or chill for 20 to 30 minutes so it thickens to a spreadable consistency.
The Cupcake Doctor Says
You will most likely prepare these special cupcakes for company, and I would recommend them heartily! Make the ganache the day or night before, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. For a bigger, bolder flavor, prepare it with Ghirardelli double chocolate baking chips, a bit less sweet than the typical semisweet chips. You can add 1 tablespoon crème de cacao to the ganache to make it special, but this is easily omitted. Flavor these as you desire, by adding almond extract instead of vanilla, for example.
Cinnamon Crème Anglaise
2 cups whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Place the milk, sugar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat with a fork until lemon colored. Remove the saucepan from the heat and ladle a large spoonful of the hot milk mixture over the egg yolks, stirring the yolks gently. Transfer the yolks to the milk mixture and stir to combine. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
2. Spoon a generous tablespoon of the warm sauce onto plates and place Warm Chocolate Cupcakes with Molten Centers on it.
Meet the Author
Anne Byrn is the author of the bestselling Cake Mix Doctor series and The Dinner Doctor, with over 3.5 million copies in print. She makes frequent appearances on Good Morning America and QVC. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family. Her website is www.cakemixdoctor.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I LOVE Anne Byrn's books. They have saved my bacon and impressed guests for a number of years now. Unfortunately, this book takes after Dinner Doctor more than the previous Cake Doctor books. That is to say, if you are looking for a recipe in that 'I'll know it when I see it' fashion that so frequently accompanies a sweet tooth attack, you'd better be prepared to spend some time going page by page. There are very few photographs, and the patently misnamed 'Contents' page merely gives a description of the catagory, not a list of recipes within the category. I bought the book because I found myself in a 'cupcake emergency' that required something very specific. Once home, I couldn't take the time to hunt and peck through 'Cupcakes!' and try to imagine, from the ingredients list and instructions, a finished product for each, so I found what I needed in another cook book. Maybe when I have nothing better to do (ha!), I'll thumb through the book page by page and write down all the recipes and corresponding page numbers and stick the list in the front cover. I may even give it a fancy name like, 'table of contents.' Ms. Byrn is wonderful and if her book were even slightly user-friendly, I would give 5 stars whole-heartedly.
Love the book. Having so much fun with all the different receipes
My daughter-in-law got this last summer, shared it with me, and I couldn't wait to get my own copy. We've both gone cupcake-crazy since then. Lots of great ideas, and mix-and-match options here. I made the cupcake bouquet for my daughter's bridal shower. So easy, and it looked magnificent! I like that the recipes can be used for regular cakes, too. I also love her Chocolate Cakes book--I mix and match the recipes between the two books.
This book is great. All the cupcakes my family has tried have turned out wonderfully and we have only bought one ingredient we didn't already have on hand, and she explained where to look and what brand would be good to buy. Not hard to make at all, nothing weird in them, and DELICIOUS cupcakes that my friends rave about.
The recipes are so great.I Love Them!
Love this cupcake book! Cant wait to try some recipes!
Downloaded this, but there are problems. I'm not sure what "? Cups" means. I think it's a failure to translate 3/4 cups, but can't be sure without looking at a printed version. And since baking requires exact measurements to achieve optimum results, well, this just won't do. Color me disappointed.