I have great neighbors!!! Last week, two of my foodie neighbors bonded together like noble-minded wonder twins to offer a chocolate cupcake college. I think it was supposed to be for a small group of friends but it ended up being advertised in the paper as they were offering the class for free with a donation to the Caring Community Foundation.
I was very excited as, despite the fact that I am not a big cake fan, I love all things baking and foofy. Yes, I’m an engineer, but I”m an artist at heart. I have umpteen little footed cupcake holders, racing car jello molds, cathedral-shaped bundt pans, rose-shaped muffin pans, various bread tubes, candy molds, and even canape presses, most of which I have yet to sucessfully use without warping the poor food beyond recognition, but that does not stop me from happily accumulating foofy kitchen ware and trying to beat food into submission. I think it’s part of my artist spirit to make the attempt, but some media just don’t bend to my will. Can’t give up, though I’m not quite sure why.
The class started with a short talk from Jill Wolford, the founder of the Caring Community Foundation. She spoke of her own experience with breast cancer as a young mother with 2 very small children in a gutted house that she and her husband were remodeling. She started the organization to pay forward all the kind acts that were shown to her during her struggle with cancer. This local organization has helped over 500 cancer patients in need. I had tears streaming down my face while she told her story, dang her. She finished up by pointing out that her five year old son was in People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive Edition – Now THAT’s impressive! They even have a program for giving quilts to kids with cancer and their siblings, so I’m there.
The cupcake group was split into 2 rooms. One focused on the cupcake part and the other on the decorating. I started with the hidden base that supports all that pretty bling, and let me tell you, that basic little cupcake knocked my socks off. and I don’t even LIKE cake!!! We actually got to sample several cupcakes made with various kinds of chocolate, and they were all good. She used bunch of chocolates like Ghiradelli, Guitard, and Baker’s German, but NOT the snooty stuff like Scharfenberger or Valhrona. These cupcakes were not like any cupcakes or layer cakes I’ve ever made or had. These were moist, yet light, and sweet, and yummy, not the dry, bland, semi-spongy stuff I often eat in order to score the frosting… My hostess says the recipe is a variant of a Maida Heatter recipe.
We then swtiched rooms and we were treated to a visual feast – a towering mountain of flowering cupcakes – see that first picture. After getting demos on 3 different styles of decorations, we were set loose on the decorating stations. I was rather shaky from being on the low end of my ramp up phase of migraine meds and downright muddleheaded. It was a considerable challenge for me to focus on the verbal explanations, and even more difficult to achieve the hand-eye coordination. I think I did pretty darn well considering!!! All this work, and my booty of 3 cupcakes was gone about 60 seconds after I got home. I did save my white flower as supposedly it doesn’t taste very good anyway, and keeps fairly well. That funny looking one is an “adult” cupcake with fresh fruit and ganache (no, it’s not x-rated, and you don’t gnash your teeth)
And yes, I have made a batch of my own cupcakes, though I wimped out when it came to decorating them. I ran out of steam. Especially since I knew they were going to disappear about 30 seconds after they hit the table…. I even eat them, GASP, ***WITHOUT*** the frosting!!!! Tot, however, is still dedicated to the frosting.
semi-reformed Frosting Freak…