Friday, May 2, 2014

The Cupcake Adventure

I recently went to a party (at Wegerzyn Gardens! Soooo pretty!) where I wanted to bring along some cupcakes. (Yes, I know the guest of honor isn't supposed to bring anything, but I had so many cool cupcake ideas in my head I wanted to try and taste but not have lingering around the house! So I begged them to let me handle dessert anyway. :)) This was a wee bit of a juggling act since I'm preparing to move, I was going to have a guest in my house that weekend, and had several various family members from out of town in the area then. And I enjoy making cupcakes too much to let anyone help. It ended up not being too bad. I'm going to put it up in case anyone else ever ends up in a similar situation and is looking for ideas.

It didn't help that I wanted to make 3 dozen cupcakes with 4 different flavors:

Orange Strawberry Milkshake

Blackberry Coconut

Fresh Berry Almond


Angel Brownie Batter

One guest has celiac disease and one of the hostesses has a severe allergy to lactose, to the point where some lactose intolerant-friendly foods still set it off. I wanted to make sure that everyone could have at least one cupcake, so I made the orange strawberry milkshake cupcakes gluten-free and I made the blackberry coconut cupcakes both lactose-free and gluten-free. I made sure that when baking, making the filling, and making the icing I always, always, always went in the order of lactose-free/gluten-free then gluten-free so no milk products at all would get in the lactose-free cupcakes and no gluten would get into either of the gluten-free cupcakes. I then would do almond and chocolate last since if you get a little bit of the almond batter in the chocolate batter you won't notice, but you will if it's vice versa since chocolate is a more powerful flavor. It's a cool trick I learned from my mom when making Christmas cookies which is why we always made gingerbread men last. (Unless, of course someone has a nut allergy, then I'd recommend making anything with nuts last!)

I don't make the prettiest cupcakes in the world, but apparently they're the tastiest. Everyone absolutely loved them. (Me too.) I first got help from Seamore The Seal Fluffiefriend and Cuddles The Turtle Fluffiefriend, but when it got to the night before the party I was too intent on the cupcakes to remember that Seamore helped. Oops.

Firstly I needed to make the cupcakes themselves far enough in advance so that my kitchen would be clean for when guests arrived. I was also excited, so I baked the cupcakes themselves 16 days before the party. I baked them in aluminum foil (like with the Butter Cupcakes With Wild Blueberry Custard Filling And Fresh Blueberry Icing. What can I say? I bought waaaaaaayyyy too much aluminum foil last summer when Camping and am moving soon!) General consensus seems to be that this is safe up to 3 months in advance. (And it gave me great incentive for doing a thorough freezer cleaning!) I got the tips for Freezing Cupcakes from Make Bake Celebrate. The only thing I changed was that I did let the cupcakes fully cool before freezing. (I saw too many other people saying that if you don't wait until fully cooled they'll get gooey.) They turned out fantastically using these tips. No one knew or noticed they had been frozen at all!

Some of the fillings I was able to make the night before- mostly the ones that weren't whipped cream based. I made the angel cream, brownie batter fudge icing, blackberry jam, the orange frosting, and the strawberry milkshake filling the night before and put the jam, the orange frosting, and the milkshake filling all in the fridge. I actually completed the Angel Brownie Batter Cupcakes that night, since they didn't need refrigerated.

The morning before the party I quickly whipped up the coconut whipped cream, the almond whipped cream, and stuffed and iced all the cupcakes. We carried the gluten-free cupcakes in the muffin tin and the rest on a cookie sheet- veeeerrrrryyyy carefully! They were done in time and turned out deliciously!
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