Mini-cakes are cute from the get-go, in fact most desserts made in single serving are pretty adorable by default. But some details can raise their level of cuteness even higher. Today I share three ideas to make mini-cakes a little more special.
The first method to make cute cupcakes is using a different shape of pan. Like this pan from Nordic Ware. I think the quality of their pans is hard to beat, and totally worth the price tag. They are heavy, well-made and bake like a dream. I usually still spray the inside with PAM baking spray, a light coating ensures nothing will stick in the little crevices.
LEMON MINI-BUNDT CAKES
LEMON MINI-BUNDT CAKES
(adapted from several sources)
125g butter (I used Kerrygold)
zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs (100g)
180 g all-purpose flour
1 + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
for the glaze:
200g powdered sugar (1 cup)
Juice of 1 fresh lemon (amount adjusted for consistency)
sprinkles to decorate (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F. Rub the sugar with the lemon zest for a couple a minutes until very fragrant. Cream butter and lemon-infused sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating in slow speed until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and milk. Mix well to combine, then add the lemon juice and extract, whisking gently.
Pour batter into the pan a little over 1/2 full in each cavity, but not quite reaching 3/4 of the capacity. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Leave the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes than invert and cool them completely over a rack.
Make the glaze by mixing the ingredients. You want a pourable consistency, but not too thick so that the ridges of the cake still show. Pour over the cooled cakes. Decorate with sprinkles.
to print the recipe, click here
These lemon cakes are very moist, with intense citric flavor. I used a very thin glaze because I wanted the ridges to be evident. If making a regular cupcake, consider a much thicker icing that will stay on the surface a little better.
In this method, used by Sonali from sugaretal, you will need a silicone mold to bake the cakes. Then, after washing it well, the pan is used to apply the compound chocolate coating. The result is quite stunning, but the process pretty simple. I used this pan.
PISTACHIO ROSE MINI-CAKES
(recipe from Sonali)
To get the recipe, follow the link to her Instagram page.
After baking the cakes….
The silicone pan is washed and dried very well. I used a little gold luster powder to brush the bottom of the pan, then poured Candy melts dyed light green. Carefully brushed that all the way to the sides of each cavity and placed the cake back, snuggly, so that it would get a smooth coating on the surface. Make sure to do one little cake at a time, so that the melted compound chocolate does not harden.
The pan is placed in the freezer for about 30 minutes, so that the shell is properly formed and the cakes will release fully coated.
I am totally in love with this combination of pistachio and rose. In fact, I urge you to visit Sonali’s blog, full of elegant ideas for all sorts of desserts.
Finaly, the third way to dress up a cupcake, is making a few colors of Swiss meringue buttercream and creating a cute pattern on the surface. I followed the design of Liz Shim, available at Domestika.com
CUPCAKES DECORATED WITH SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
LION HEAD CUPCAKES
(design from Liz Shim)
I made a simple vanilla cupcake (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen), and a batch of Swiss meringue buttercream following the recipe provided by Liz Shim in her class. I coated the top of the cupcakes with buttercream, and separated small amounts to dye orange, brown, and black. Those were used to make all the details using star-shaped or round piping tips.
I hope you enjoyed this trio of cakes. There are many options for mini-cake pans at Nordic Ware, one more beautiful than the other: hearts, little houses, tiered little cakes, stars… just choose your favorite and play with cake flavors. I think the pan I used would be very nice with a red velvet cake too.
Coating a cake with compound chocolate is another great option to include in your repertoire, and Sonali is a pro at that. You might remember I’ve used her method in the past (click here).
As to piping designs with buttercream, it involves a bit of a learning curve. I am much more comfortable piping Royal icing, which stays put better and is less prone to melting with the heat of your hands in the piping bag. But I intend to keep practicing, so stay tuned!
ONE YEAR AGO: From our Garden to You
TWO YEARS AGO: Lady Bug Macarons
THREE YEARS AGO: Five-Stranded Braided Bread
FOUR YEARS AGO: Green Olive Salad
FIVE YEARS AGO: Coffee Macarons Dressed up to Party
SIX YEARS AGO: Blogging Hiatus
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Tomato Tatin
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Headed to Colorado!
NINE YEARS AGO: Farofa Brasileira
TEN YEARS AGO: Thai-Inspired Pork Tenderloin
ELEVEN YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’
TWELVE YEARS AGO: Summer’s Tomatoes
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane…