So, it’s that holiday where everyone roasts a turkey and counts the ways in which they are grateful for being alive. I offer one and one thing only:
CUPCAKES. Glorious, beautiful cupcakes. A friend ordered a load of them from me for a holiday party, and when I asked her what she wanted and she hesitantly answered “Umm… Red velvet?” I answered: “No.” No one actually wants red velvet. They want cream cheese frosting. In which case, in my opinion, they probably want carrot cake. It’s a strange line of logic, but it’s mine and I’m sticking with it. So she got a little over a dozen carrot cake cupcakes made with chopped sour cherries and pecans and topped with cream cheese frosting. And then I made some chocolate-peppermint ones, too, because I have baking-attention-deficit-disorder (BADD).
I’m a tremendous fan of decorating cupcakes with many different toppings because it’s easy and it adds to the appearance of opulence – two kinds of cupcakes suddenly looks like dozens of kinds. It’s a little deceiving, I know, but people seem to like it. And I like it, frankly. I used to have a dream when I was young about dining at a endless table filled with cartoonishly beautiful baked goods. You can conclude from that whatever you want. One thing that stuck with me was that no one ever actually topped cupcakes with cherries, something I always saw in cartoons but never in real life. Ever since then I’ve always had a least a few topped with cherries. I can’t help it. It looks like magic to me.
I also can’t recommend shopping at Fancy Flours enough. They have an absolutely incredible collection of cupcake liners, jimmies, toppers, things they call cake jewels that are basically every girls’ total fucking fantasy:
(They come in a lot of colors and shapes.) Seriously, right? Can you imagine how awesome, to have an edible jewel on the top of a cupcake? Dang. Also, Fancy Flours sells my alltime favorite cupcake liners, the Tokyo:
These liners are super sturdy and look KLASSY no matter what you do to them. And, you know, $4.50 for 50 of them is a pretty affordable splurge for a special birthday cupcake or what have you.
The flowers I used in the photos above are the mini pansies, though i’ve used the wild rose minis before too. I also think the autumn leaves are fancy without being so girly. But you get the idea: people think this stuff is alien technology. For reals. Like, the first time I put sugar flowers I didn’t even make on top of a cupcake and they freaked the fuck out, I spent a lot of energy explaining that it was just a stupid flower from a package. I didn’t even make it. And you know what? They didn’t care at all. As far as they were concerned I had pulled a diamond out of my bellybutton. And that’s when I realized: the things that I value, as a baker? No one else values but other bakers. The rest of the rabble will scream and rend their clothes over store-bought sugar flowers. Take note.