First off, I'd like to introduce myself. Hi. I'm
Melody. I will be guest-blogging on Fresh Juniper from time to time at the invite of your
hostess with the most-ess, Reecea. Most of what I post about will be simple, low-budget craft/kitchen fun projects. For example,today's nifty update is on how to make your own shaped cupcakes!
Now I don't know about everyone else on the planet for sure, but I'd bet my left toe that when you hear the word "cupcake," you get a little excited, just like me. However, I hate cleaning muffin pans. And worse, I don't even own one at the moment, having just moved to a new apartment. For years now, I've been using foil cupcake cups with paper liners to bake with, so that I might just set them on a baking pan without the support of a muffin cup.
The downside? The bottom few of each stack tend to get a little, well, wonky. they're either too wide or bent out of shape, and the cupcakes don't look as cute as they should.
Cupcakes NEED to be cute. Not long ago, in preparation for Valentine's Day, I attempted to shape just such a wonky cupcake cup into a heart, and fortunately it worked out! Strawberry, heart-shaped cupcakes with chocolate frosting and a strawberry garnish?
My Valentine was very impressed. I spent maybe an hour on them, but he doesn't need to
Step one: Have a cupcake batter ready.
My personal favorite, Strawberry Cream Soda Cupcakes, are just the boxed Strawberry cake mix, substituting 1/4 Cup of the water required for 1/2 cup strawberry cream soda, Big Red is fantastic with
this recipe. Also note, the foil/paper cups by BakeFresh pictured, they're about $0.89 at the grocery store for a package of 50.
Baking Tip for Apartment Dwellers/Shared Fridges:
Stirring in a large pitcher instead of a mixing bowl makes storing over 1-3 nights ridiculously easier. It takes up less space than a large mixing bowl in the fridge, plus the spout makes it easier to control where you pour the batter, so that more of it actually gets into the cup instead of all over the pan.
Step Two: Shaping those bad boys.
Start with a single foil cup (I honestly haven't tried shaping more than one at a time, for fear they'd just get stuck together upon separation and end up wonky again).
This particular version will make a flower. Take a small portion of the border of the cups (both paper and foil still together) and pinch them between your fingers, just a small pinch ought to do it, 3-4 pre-made curves should be altered altogether upon this first pinch. Now do the same thing over again. I like to have about the width of my fingertip in between each pinched portion so that it's detailed but manageable.
Continue this all the way around until you come to the first pinch you made. Your cupcake cup should look something like this:
Do this to as many liners as you like, or get creative and try some other designs, fill, and bake!
Now a word to the wise, the more inside-pointed pinches a cup has, the less it will hold, so the faster it will bake. The predicted baking times are a good guideline, but make sure to check on the cupcakes 5-7 minutes before the recipe says they will be done, and at intervals between until they are finished.
Remove the foil from the cupcake once baked so that it will cool faster.
I like to cool mine on the windowsill. I know, the old-fashioned way to do that is with a pie, but these are just too cute and delicious, I couldn't help but want my neighbors to have some, so when they got home from work and commented on their cuteness and delectable aroma, I got to share. Below I'll post a few of the other shapes I made, the mushrooms are inspired by my gentleman friend, Matt, a fellow geek who likes old video games such as Super Mario Brothers, just like me.
Decorate with swirls of icing, I suggest either chocolate or strawberry. The extra strawberry gives it that extra fruity burst, but the chocolate is my favorite, because the cupcakes taste like chocolate covered strawberries.