Apple Press have a reputation for presenting cookbooks which are attractive and informative. I have recently reviewed Smoothie Heaven, and Cupcake Heaven indicates that there might be a series in the offing.
Cupcake Heaven has a pastel palette, one large page per recipe, a picture of each of those tempting little confections, and plenty of tips about both baking and decorating. There are 200 or so recipes for cake bases and dozens more for the toppings. If we were to assume a conservative 10 different icings then we are looking at a possible 2000 permutations of these ever-popular fancies!
Yes, cupcakes are still a favourite in smart bakeries. They are ideal for a sweet lunchtime treat and for afternoon tea. There has been a trend latterly for cupcakes instead of the traditional wedding cake which has been the stuff of nightmares for some. Heavy fruit and tooth-cracking royal icing is not a universal winner. Cupcakes are easily personalised or themed. The sponge and the toppings can make a statement. Enterprising bakeware companies are now even making giant cupcake tins, but the focus of this book is on the normal size.
There are eleven chapters of cupcake recipes. They consider, amongst others, Classic, Chocolate, Nutty, Fruit, Vegetable, Healthy, Celebration, Adult and Dessert confections, so there is something for every taste and all occasions. The Everyday Cupcakes chapter could be the one you turn to on those wet summer holiday mornings when you need a project to entertain the kids. Easy recipes, quick results and won’t those little hands love to get hold of an icing bag!
Classic cupcakes would be delightful garnishing a traditional three-tier cake stand. Lavender and Honey Cupcakes are summery and would be stunning for an al fresco gathering. Apple and Cinnamon could well be consumed in front of a roaring log fire. It’s the warming spice that reminds us of Christmas and cool weather.
There are some exotic examples of the genre here. Chai Cupcakes could be your dessert of choice at the end of an Indian meal. No lengthy lists of spices with this one, just use Chai tea powder – a handy short-cut. Rosewater and Pomegranate Cupcakes would be a talking-point and would add a touch of glamour to an Asian lunch buffet or even your regular Bollywood party!
The savoury chapter of Vegetable Cupcakes should not be overlooked. Think breakfast muffins and you’ll have the idea. Red Pepper and Cheddar Cupcakes could be either picnic or light lunch fare. Cheese and Tomato Cupcakes, Potato Cupcakes and Sweetcorn and Bacon Cupcakes would all be good choices for lunchboxes. Much more interesting than sandwiches.
Cupcake Heaven is a book to use. It will inspire you to experiment to create your perfect combinations of cake and decoration. The recipes are simple and quick and a great introduction to baking for those less practised or for the younger chefs in your family. An ideal gift for both adults and children, and great value for money.
Author: Jennie Milsom
Published by: Apple Press
Price: £ 12.99
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018