All recipes are from scratch. Except for a few decorative candies, the marzipan and fondant, this book will teach you how to make everything in your own kitchen. No box mixes!
While having fancy equipment is nice it's not necessary to make the cakes and frosting. I own a Sunbeam mixer (with a wonky beater) and find I can still make my frosting stiff or fluffy - whichever I need. If you want to do the fun and fancy frosting decorations you will need a piping bag and tips. I bought a 12 piece Wilson set and find I can make everything so far in the book. The frosting is most of the fun and I recommend getting some tips, even if just a few, so you can swirl and peak and make petals. Having an offset spatula facilitates doing frosting like on the book cover but you can always use a butter knife. Picture: White and Devil's Food cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream in roses and peaks.
Picture (above): Devil's Food cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream for grass and marzipan for ladybugs. Tip: don't do frosting with sweaty hands or the frosting will melt in your piping bag and refuse to form well. Also, these were outside in June so, the "grass" looks dewy. Picture (left): Banana-Pecan w/ Swiss Meringue Buttercream (chocolate version gone wrong) and fondant monkey faces.
The instructions are thorough and easy to follow. I am never left guessing. The writing is clear and there is a helpful section, The Basics, in the back on baking tools, ingredients, cookies, frosting, presentation ideas and templates, ingredient sources, and an index. The recipes are grouped as follows: Swirled and Sprinkled, Filled and Layered, Piped and Topped, Birthdays, Holidays, and Celebrations. Each has at least one full-page color photo of the finished cupcakes and several other photos show how to make frosting and decorations. Picture: One-Bowl Chocolate cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream as beetles and butterflies. Cake not recommended for humid days. The wings were difficult to cut, with lots of crumbs, as the cake was super moist.
I'm not a Martha Stewart junky at all. I've only seen parts of her show. Yet, I've enjoyed baking these cakes and will keep making more from this book. The cakes are always a big hit. You won't go wrong with Martha Stewart's Cupcakes!
Picture (above): Applesauce-Spice cupcakes with Brown-Sugar Cream-Cheese Frosting. Picture (right): Yellow Buttermilk cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream as pigs. Picture (below): Black Forest Cupcake with sweet pastry cream (inside), cherries and chocolate ganache!
Publisher: Clarkson Potter, 2003
Full Title: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat
Source: Christmas Gift
Rating: 4.5 Stars