Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Project #6 - Mini Cupcakes with Marzipan Birds and a Marzipan Laptop

I've been working extra long hours (Startups! Arg!), but I always seem to have just enough energy to make something when I get home. It's the best therapy for me. Going to the gym or sitting around watching a movie would wipe me out, but sewing and baking always make me feel so much...lighter when I'm done, even after I clean up after myself, which doesn't always happen right away.

Today I came straight home and baked a batch of mini-cupcakes. We're hosting this week's Dinner of Champions and I wanted to have something done in advance. Mini cupcakes are the best because it's a lot less guilt-inducing to have one rather than a whole fist-sized cupcake. Personally, I try never to have guilt over eating cake, but my husband is always watching his weight and limiting desserts.

I adapted the cooking time and temperature from a recipe for regular cupcakes. My first attempt turned out to be correctly guessed and 30 minutes at 375 degrees yielded fluffy, delicate cakes.

The dark chocolate icing is from my own personal buttercream recipe:

  • One part powdered sugar
  • Two parts cocoa powder
  • Two parts softened butter
  • ~One tablespoon milk
I usually make as much as I need at the time. I add enough milk to make it a tiny little bit too runny and then put it in the fridge for a few minutes. This usually yields the perfect texture.

The best part of these cupcakes are the Marzipan decorations. Since my friend, she of the birthday and the kitty figurine, will be coming over I thought dessert could use an extra-festive touch. Her favorite color is blue, so she gets blue birds. I bought the marzipan in pre-made block form and added food coloring. The color of the birds' beaks and the laptop screen is the original color of the marzipan.

I'm pretty indifferent to the taste of Marzipan, but I love how easy it is to use. It has the texture of playdough and it will dry out and hold its shape in a similar way, making it a snap for all kinds of decorations. I looked everywhere for marzipan for my wedding cake a year and a half ago, but all of the blocks I found were dried out and unusable. This batch came from Cost-Plus World Market's fancy foods section. When I saw how soft it was I automatically bought three bars.

I didn't quite have enough of the little bit I mixed up to make a fourth bird, so I made a little blue laptop, further evidence that I'm spending too much time at work.

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posted by Alison 1/06/2009 10:31:00 PM : (0) comments : splink


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