Sunday, August 1, 2010
Martha Stewart's hummingbird cupcakes
Anyway, I guess I was feeling the Birthday Blues this year as I approach an age milestone, and so I decided to cheer myself up by making something beautiful.
I had never noticed the hummingbird cupcakes in Martha Stewart's "Cupcakes" book before, maybe because I hadn't been brave enough to try making blossoms out of dried pineapple.
I often turn to this book for inspiration when I am in the mood for something fanciful and special. In the past, I've made the lemon meringue cupcakes, tiramisu cupcakes, and also the chocolate spice cupcakes.
So I started the process three days before my birthday. On the first day, I made the blossoms out of the pineapple I carved for the first time ever. They were perfect, they were lovely. I wish I had taken photos of them at that point.
Because by the time I assembled the cupcakes they were sadly wilting, but we will get to that later. On the second day, I made the hummingbird cupcakes themselves (Read the recipe here). On the third day, I made the cream cheese frosting. You can find the recipes for the frosting and the pineapple blossoms at the same link above).
Substitutions: None, however I finally used some of the edible gold leaf I ordered from Phuket, Thailand, by rubbing some of it in the middle of the pineapple flower. I also used two dried pineapple slices on each cupcake, so that the ones that didn't curl up properly served as the bottom petals and added more of a three-dimensional effect. I think it turned out rather pretty.
Would I make these again? Yes, I would. I thought the dried pineapple flowers were a marvellous idea. However, the recipe says you can make them in advance and keep them in an airtight container, and this is not strictly true. On the first night I made them, they were in perfect condition. By the third day, they had become somewhat soft and soggy and though I tried to dry them even more by baking them in my muffin tins, the effect was not the same.
If you can, make these on the day you will assemble the cupcakes. If you must, slice the pineapple in advance. I should have tried using my brand-new mandolin but I forgot about it. I also didn't have a melon baller to cut out the "pineapple eyes" so I hacked away at them with a paring knife, and this took more time than I had. Don't be worried if the slices are not perfect, that is part of the charm of the pineapple flower.
Grade: Five stars out of five. The cupcakes were moist and delicious and have wide appeal. I made 24 cupcakes, and four mini bundt cakes that I sprinkled with icing sugar, from the leftover batter. And of course you can't go wrong with cream cheese frosting. It's to die for. You will end up with a LOT of cream cheese frosting from this recipe so I froze whatever was left over. As for the pineapple blossoms, I think this idea really pushed these cupcakes over the top. Can you imagine serving these at a garden tea party? Wow. Just wow.