What's New Cupcake?

June 23, 2010 10:17:25 AM PDT
Those zany cupcakers are at it again, back just in time for spring celebrations and summer parties.

Karen Tack and Alan Richardson's new cookbook WHAT'S NEW, CUPCAKE? gives fans of HELLO, CUPCAKE! everything they've asked for--and more--while providing scores of inventive ideas to captivate newcomers.

Surprise the family with Chinese takeout dinner cupcakes or pizza cupcakes. For dessert, bring out a goofy chocolate moose. Create race car cupcakes, robot cupcakes, or ravishing jewelry cupcakes for a birthday party. All you need are candies from the corner store and cake mix and canned frosting.

These playful projects are simpler than ever, with easily found candies and loads of suggestions for how to swap one for another. Karen and Alan provide simplified methods for tinting sugar, piping, beading, constructing shapes from icebox cookie dough, and a host of other decorating techniques. Let the party begin!

What's new in 'What's New, Cupcake?'

  • Dozens of "EZ Cupcakes" that use just a few ingredients--perfect for kids and parties.
  • More faux-food creations--so real you won't believe they're cupcakes!
  • More comical critters and the cutest pets ever!
  • More irresistible party centerpieces to celebrate hobbies, from golf to knitting.
  • More spectacular holiday cupcakes: Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

    You'll end up with cupcakes so striking that you won't want to eat them--but so delicious you'll have no choice!

    Chapters include:

  • April Fool's Play
  • You Say It's Your Birthday?
  • I Thought You Ordered Chocolate Moose
  • Let's Party, Cupcake!
  • The House That Boo Built
  • Hooray for Holly Days

    For more cupcake tips, visit www.hellocupcakebook.com and join the Hello, Cupcake! fan club on Facebook.

    ABOUT THE AUTHORS

    Karen Tack is a cooking teacher and sought-after food stylist. Dubbed "the cake whisperer" by Gourmet magazine, Karen has styled food for a wide variety of publications, including Woman's Day, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Parents, Gourmet, Real Simple, Bon App?tit, and Nick, Jr. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

    Alan Richardson is a critically acclaimed food photographer and has photographed dozens of best-selling cookbooks. He is the coauthor of The Breath of a Wok, which won two coveted awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. His work appears in leading food and women's magazines. He lives in Irvington, New York.

    They're sharing some of their favorite new recipes:

    CHINESE TAKEOUT
    Makes 1 take-out order, 12 cupcakes, 24 mini cupcakes

    House Special: Pork Lo Mein and Vegetarian Fried Rice. The kids will love this broccoli: green fruit chews with green frosting and nonpareils on a pile of lo mein noodles made of frosting squeezed from a Ziploc bag. Serve fried rice on the side: puffed rice cereal tossed with fruit chews and jelly beans. And don't forget the caramel fortune cookies.

    LO MEIN
    6 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
    6?8 green fruit chews (Jolly Rancher, Laffy Taffy)
    3 pink fruit chews (Jolly Rancher, Starburst, Laffy Taffy)
    1 1/2 cups canned vanilla frosting
    Green and yellow food coloring
    1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's)
    1/2 cup dark green sprinkles (see Sources)
    1 strand green licorice twist (Twizzlers Rainbow Twists), thinly sliced diagonally
    Large Chinese food take-out containers (optional)

    1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. For the broccoli stems, make a lengthwise slit halfway down the center of each green fruit chew and open slightly. Place the stems on the prepared cookie sheet. Microwave the pink fruit chews for 2 to 3 seconds to soften. Press the pink fruit chews together and roll out into a 2-by-3-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. For the pork slivers, cut the flattened fruit chew rectangle crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips.

    2. Tint 1/2 cup of the vanilla frosting bright green with the green food coloring, spoon the frosting into a Ziploc bag, press out the excess air, and seal. Tint 2 teaspoons of the remaining vanilla frosting with 1/2 teaspoon of the cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon water and mix to make a smooth brown paste. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting light brown with 1 drop of yellow food coloring and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder. Spread the darker brown paste down the side of a Ziploc bag and then fill in with the light brown frosting. Press out the excess air and seal.

    3. Place the green sprinkles in a small bowl. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the green frosting. For the broccoli florets, pipe mounds of frosting on the tips of the split ends of the green fruit chews on the cookie sheet. Holding the broccoli by the stem, press the frosted end lightly into the sprinkles to cover completely; return to the cookie sheet (see the photo above).

    4. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the brown frosting. To make the lo mein noodles, pipe the frosting in an irregular pattern all over the cupcakes, piling it high and letting it hang over the edges (the darker brown frosting will look like soy sauce). Arrange the pink fruit chew pork slivers randomly on top of the cupcakes. Add one or two pieces of broccoli on top. For scallions, scatter a few green licorice slices on top of the cupcakes.

    5. To get the full effect, carefully place the cupcakes in the Chinese take-out containers, if using.

    FORTUNE COOKIES
    24 mini chocolate cupcakes baked in white paper liners
    1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
    48 caramels (Kraft), unwrapped 24 3/8-by-2 1/2-inch slips of paper with printed fortunes (make your own on a computer or write them by hand and cut them to size) Orange candy fruit slices (optional)

    1. Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the vanilla frosting and smooth.

    2. For the cookies, microwave several caramels at a time for 2 to 3 seconds to soften slightly. Press 2 caramels together and roll out to an approximately 3-inch round. Cut out a 3-inch circle using clean scissors, a cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass. Repeat with the remaining caramels. Place a paper message down the center of a caramel circle, allowing it to overhang one side. Fold the opposite sides of the round up over the message to enclose it in a half-moon shape. Bring the ends together to make a fortune-cookie shape.

    3. Place the caramel fortune cookies on top of the cupcakes, pressing down lightly to adhere and place the orange candy fruit slices on the side, if using.

    KOI POND Makes 1 pond, 24 goldfish cupcakes

    Koi goldfish made from circus peanuts transform a simple platter of cupcakes into a golden pond. The fish float on overlapping blue and white paper bubbles for a very coy look.

    24 vanilla cupcakes baked in blue paper liners

    1 can (16 ounces) plus 1/2 cup vanilla frosting

    Blue food coloring

    48 orange circus peanuts

    48 orange peanut butter?filled candy-coated chocolates (Peanut Butter M&M's)

    24 orange cereal O's (Froot Loops, Apple Jacks)

    48 brown mini candy-coated chocolates (M&M's Minis)

    White and blue paper circles (optional)

    White and light blue candy-coated chocolates for serving (My M&M's; optional)

    1. Spoon 1/2 cup of the vanilla frosting into a small Ziploc bag, press out the excess air, seal, and set aside. Tint the remaining can of vanilla frosting pale blue with a few drops of the blue food coloring. Cover and set aside.

    2. For the fins, place 24 of the circus peanuts on their sides and cut lengthwise into 2 slices, to make 48 slices. Lay each slice cut side down and cut each in half on the diagonal to make 96 pieces. For the bodies, place the remaining 24 circus peanuts flat side down and make a diagonal cut from one end, removing no more than 1/4 inch.

    3. Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the light blue frosting and smooth. Place 1 of the circus peanut bodies on top of each frosted cupcake. Arrange fins, cut side up and pointed ends out, 2 at the uncut end of each circus peanut body and 2 on either side in the middle.

    4. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Pipe a large dot of frosting at the cut end of the circus peanut body. Press 2 orange candies into the dot of frosting for the eyes and 1 cereal O for the mouth. Pipe small dots of vanilla frosting on the orange candies and add the brown candies for the pupils. Repeat on all of the koi bodies with the remaining frosting and candies.

    5. If you like, arrange the cupcakes on a surface with circles cut from white and blue papers and sprinkle the platter with white and light blue candies.

    RUBBER DUCKY
    Makes 1 flotilla, 24 cupcakes
    Time to get your ducks in a row. These are perfect for a baby shower, a birthday party, or even a crazy Easter bash. Making that ducky shape is as simple as attaching a doughnut hole and a marshmallow to a cupcake. Dip in melted yellow frosting and add a fruit chew beak and M&M eyes, and this little yellow flotilla is ready to quack.

    24 vanilla cupcakes baked in yellow paper liners
    2 cans (16 ounces each) plus 1 cup vanilla frosting
    Yellow food coloring
    12 marshmallows
    20 plain doughnut holes
    14 orange fruit chews (Tootsie Fruit Rolls, Starburst)
    48 brown mini candy-coated chocolates (M and M's Minis)

    1. Tint 1 can plus 3/4 cup of the vanilla frosting bright yellow with the yellow food coloring. Spoon the yellow frosting into a microwavable measuring cup; cover with plastic wrap. Spoon 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting into a Ziploc bag, press out the excess air, seal, and set aside.

    2. Cut the marshmallows in half on the diagonal with scissors. Spread some of the vanilla frosting from the remaining can on top of a cupcake. For the head, place a doughnut hole on one side. For the tail, arrange the cut marshmallow, pointed end up, on the edge on the opposite side. Repeat to make 20 heads-up ducks. To make the bottoms-up ducks, place a cut marshmallow in the center of each of the remaining 4 cupcakes, pointed end up. Spread vanilla frosting up the sides of the doughnut holes and marshmallows on the cupcakes to fill in the gaps and smooth. Place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes, or until slightly frozen.

    3. Microwave the yellow frosting, stopping to stir frequently, until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 45 seconds. Remove 1 cupcake at a time from the freezer. Holding the cupcake by its paper bottom, dip it into the yellow frosting just up to the liner. Allow the excess frosting to drip off back into the cup. Turn right side up and let stand. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. If the frosting becomes too thick, reheat for several seconds, stirring well.

    4. For the beaks, cut 10 of the orange fruit chews in half. Shape each piece into a 3/4-by-1 1/2-inch oval. Fold the fruit chew almost in half, then pinch at the fold and shape to look like an open beak. Place the folded edge of the fruit chew on the front of the doughnut hole head, pressing gently to secure. For the feet, cut the remaining 4 fruit chews in half on the diagonal. Flatten each piece into a 1-by-1 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch triangle. Shape the short end to make the webbed feet. Score the top with a small knife. Insert the pointed end of the feet at the base of the tail on the bottoms-up cupcakes. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Pipe a white dot on either side of the head for the eyes and add the mini brown candies.

    MUM'S THE WORD
    Makes 1 bouquet, 8 cupcakes

    Moms love mums. We cut mini marshmallows on the diagonal and dipped the sticky side in colored sugar to make dozens of pink, yellow, purple, blue, and orange petals. Your mums will leave Mom speechless.
    8 vanilla cupcakes baked in orange paper liners
    1/4 cup each blue, white, light yellow, bright pink, bright yellow, orange, and purple decorating sugars
    1 bag (10.5 ounces) flavored mini marshmallows (assorted pastel colors)
    1 bag (10.5 ounces) mini marshmallows
    1 cup canned vanilla frosting
    40 pastel-colored licorice pastels (Jelly Belly)
    Green licorice twists (Twizzlers Rainbow Twists)

    1. Place each colored sugar in a separate shallow bowl. Sort out 22 like-colored marshmallows for each cupcake. Make the petals for each cupcake by cutting the 22 mini marshmallows in half on the diagonal, allowing all of the marshmallow pieces to fall into one of the colored sugars. Shake the bowl and press the cut sides of the marshmallows into the sugar to coat. Repeat with the remaining marshmallows and colored sugars.

    2. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of 1 cupcake. Starting along the outside edge of the cupcake, arrange like-colored marshmallow petals, sugared sides up, close together. Continue with another 2 rows of the same color marshmallows to almost completely cover the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining frosting, cupcakes, and marshmallows.

    3. For the stamens, insert 5 like-colored licorice pastels in the center of each cupcake. Arrange the flower cupcakes on a serving platter. Trim the green licorice twists to look like stems and place on the platter.


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