While the cupcakes rested in the pan prior to removing them to cool, I sifted the lumps out of the brown sugar. The little rock solid bits just had no place here. Standing so close to the still warm cakes, the heat carried the supple vanilla right to me. Something in that moment clicked and I was inspired to allow the natural heat of the cupcake to meld the cake and brown sugar. My concern with a dusting technique was that the brown sugar wouldn't stick. But if the cakes were still warm....
A couple cakes in and I realized the true power behind this technique: the scent of caramel caressed me as I swirled a warm cupcake in the brown sugar. The heat was melting just enough of the sugar granules to fuse to the top of each cake. This was going to be fabulous with the apricot jam!
I decided to use the jam to add some style to my cakes. So, instead of coring the cakes, I made three entry points with a Wilton 230 tip, squeezed jam into each spot until I saw the cake expand just slightly and left dollops visible at each entry. Elegant and simple!
Imagine my surprise to make it through an entire session in the kitchen without incident. My boys were all pre-occupied with other endeavors in the warm weather outside. I had no idea the catastrophe was yet to come...
Twenty minutes into the housewarming BBQ, I wandered into the kitchen to enjoy another peek at the granite counter tops while I got a glass of wine. I turned to notice that my cupcake tupperware had become a display stand; not for my cupcakes but for chips and dip. Hmm, quinoa and corn dip with flax crackers.
I shrugged it off until, just before bratwursts were done, I overheard a conversation near the table of cupcake-displayed quinoa dip now accompanied by homemade spicy hummus. The guests were comparing how long each of them had been gluten-free. I glanced out towards the yard and then back to the kitchen. Most of the BBQ guests were in this conversation.
I had brought cupcakes to a party of gluten-free, new-age hippies.
The cupcakes were fantastic, by the way... Trust me, my family has eaten the whole batch in the last two days. The brown sugar had caramelized the tops of the cakes as anticipated and helped keep the cake very moist.
Be careful when handling hot cupcakes as the cake is still pliable. You can end up with compressions and indentations in the cake where you may have held too firmly.
All [creativity] is not lost...
Corissa has been an artist her entire life and attended the Art Institute for design after completing a Bachelor’s in Accounting from National American University. She validates the contradicting combination with “I love my art but I don’t have to starve for it.”
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