behind the cupcake cake

behind the cupcake cake

It would be stupid for me to start this post with the sentence ‘I love baking cakes’, because, well, that should be obvious by now. But, I do love baking cakes – challenging cakes that require hours of decoration, cakes with complex flavour profiles, cakes that are bigger than my refrigerator can comfortably hold. I love baking cakes so much that I volunteer one for nearly every event I attend. But sometimes, I just don’t have the time to bake a cake.

And what then? I can’t turn up empty-handed, devoid of cake. What a nightmare. ‘Never knowingly under catered,’ I once said. What I meant was, ‘Never knowingly without cake.’ So to make my cake catering dreams a reality, I’ve employed a few sly tactics.

First, there’s the cupcake cake. It’s been around for awhile, but up to now, I’ve foolishly overlooked it. It seemed lazy (maybe it is, but what’s wrong with that?) and uncreative. But in actuality, it’s the perfect balance of easy and clever – and with enough ingenuity, it’s a failsafe cake alternative. Less tricky to transport, more likely to feed a crowd. It’s a win-win.

I was first won over with a Christmas jumper cupcake cake I made for a Boxing Day party in December. Admittedly under frosted (I ran out of butter…and powdered sugar…), it was still a hit, especially with the kids in attendance. My eyes were opened: pull off a cupcake and go; everyone’s happy.

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But Valentine’s Day sealed the cupcake cake deal for me. Not only did it look pretty good in all its strawberry buttercream glory…

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…it also brought me to my second sly tactic:

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Yep. Gussied up cake mix. Because sometimes even a cupcake cake seems like too much work. But that doesn’t mean it can’t taste authentic.

The trick? Take a standard cake mix (in my house, you can’t go wrong with Devil’s Food), replace the water with milk, the oil with melted butter, and add an extra egg. The result? Fluffy, bakery-fresh cupcakes that were moist for days. DAYS. And with time to spare, there’s more time to eat them. To quote Ina, how bad can that be?

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