July 4, 2012 by agmullen
Today, in celebration of two birthdays (one country and one 16-year-old), we went to some friends’ house for a cookout. It was a hot day—mid-80s and very humid. I volunteered to bring (drumroll please…) cupcakes.
The estimated number of attendees was 40-50. Therefore, I decided in a fit of madness to make three completely different types of cupcakes to get up to approximately 45 cupcakes. This would be the largest number of cupcakes I’d ever made at one time.
To keep from being so rushed today, I decided to make the cakes themselves last night. It took me about two hours, from beginning to end, to make the three separate batters. (Bear in mind that I have only two muffin pans, and I have only a limited number of bowls. Suffice to say that about 1/3 of the time I was in the kitchen, I was washing dishes.) But everything went quite smoothly, though by the time I was done, it was quite hot in the kitchen.
This morning I set out to make the fillings and frostings. This was where I was venturing into new territory—I was making Rose Levy Beranbaum’s classic buttercream frosting for the first time, as well as making Dorie Greenspan’s marshmallow frosting for only the second time. I just bought a candy thermometer (hooray!), so I assembled the materials and off I went.
It took about 2 hours to make the frostings and actually frost the cupcakes. This gives me a new respect for the Cupcake Wars competitors, who make 3 complete decorated cupcakes in 75 minutes. Granted, they only have to get 3 of each completely done, and they have a helper, and they don’t have to wash all their own dishes…but still. I can see why it comes down to the wire for people.
Since today is Independence Day, I picked three icons of Americana to inspire my flavors. I introduce to you these three:
1. The Theodore Roosevelt: a s’mores inspired chocolate cake, with milk chocolate ganache, graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow frosting, and of course, Teddy Grahams. I intended to actually fill the cupcake with the marshmallow frosting, but I forgot to do it before I put the ganache on. Maybe next time.
2. The John Wayne (my absolute favorite actor of all time): a white vanilla cake, with strawberry and blueberry compote filling, frosted with a lightly sweetened whipped cream.
3. The Jacqueline Kennedy: an almond-scented cake with classic raspberry buttercream.
The cupcakes seemed to have been a hit, despite the heat. None of them melted, which made me very happy. Of course, as I was bringing them out, M put her hand in two of the John Wayne cupcakes, so the presentation on those wasn’t the best. But oh well. What can you do?
Happy Independence Day, everyone!