Thanksgiving Cupcakes Starring Fondant Pumpkins, and Some Other Thoughts…

Not wanting to be pigeonholed into the cupcake genre, I was originally not planning to do cupcakes for my family’s Thanksgiving pot-luck this year.  But my aunt saw pictures of my past cupcakes on Facebook, and I think she was curious to taste them, and so I decided to make my cupcakes as my contribution to this year’s foodfest.

Because the best part about making cupcakes is decorating, I searched the internet for inspiration.  Remembering the fun I had in dipping the mint chocolate chip cupcakes in ganache, I decided that I wanted to dip these in ganache too.  So I figured, dip in ganache, put a dollop of frosting in the middle…and put what on top?  The answer below:

At first, the idea to use those pumpkin shaped candy corns that they make around this time of year came to mind.  So I searched the available candy stores around me — Dylan’s Candy Bar, the random candy store around the corner from where I work, even the corner drug store — but came up with nothing.  I sighed and thought, “I’m going to have to make my own candy corn,” which excited me a bit (if you recall, I enjoy creating more work for myself when it comes to baking).  I even found a recipe for making your own candy corn, including instructions on how to make pumpkin shapes.  But this would require spending more money and buying corn syrup and powdered milk (which, by the way is EXPENSIVE!).  Somewhere between the trip to the grocery store where I agonized over spending $9.99 for powdered milk which I would probably never use again, the decision not to do it and the walk home from the store, the idea came to my head to make the pumpkins out of fondant…yes, I had a tub of it in my apartment and I don’t like using it but in small doses, it’s fine.  I even already had the orange gel paste which I was originally going to use to color the candy corn.  Although I knew in my head how to do it, I still wanted a complete set of steps to confirm I was on the right track, so I found a set of instructions on the internet on how to make the pumpkins.  Seriously.  You find everything on the internet these days.  I was pretty much right about everything except for the genius idea of using cloves as the stems.

On with the cupcakes…

Because I baked in my mom’s kitchen, she only had light cream and no heavy cream, which is what is normally used for ganache.  She assured me it would be fine.  And it was…except I learned why heavy cream instead of light cream is typically used in ganache.  Light cream gives you a thicker ganache that doesn’t drizzle down in ribbons when the chocolate is melted.  Lower fat content, etc…it made sense.  But it still tasted chocolatey and rich.  In fact, I kept licking it off the whisk.  After dipping each cupcake in ganache (cupcakes were just vanilla and chocolate cupcakes), I dropped some sprinkles shaped like leaves around the edges to create a “fallen leaves” effect and left the cupcakes alone overnight so that the ganache would have time to set.  In the morning, I made a cream cheese frosting, divided it in half and put chocolate in one half.  The chocolate cupcakes got the chocolate frosting, the vanillas got the plain.  And last but not least, after piping the frosting, I dropped a pumpkin onto each cupcake.

Much as I enjoy decorating cupcakes, I’ve noticed that my friends have started sending me a lot of articles about cupcakes and the cupcake business.  While the thought is appreciated, I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being known for just making cupcakes.  There’s tons of things I want to experiment with and try making too.  Fortunately, I’ve gotten orders for pies and cheesecakes too.  I guess the whole appeal about the cupcakes is that they provide a lot of room for showmanship which comes in the form of the decorating.  But I can do a lot more too.

I’m somewhat debating what I should bring to the craft fair in Philly.  I’m probably going to split it between cupcakes and cookies.  Maybe two types of cupcakes and two types of cookies.  I can’t forgo cupcakes altogether because they are popular and well, just so lovable.  Cookies are easily shippable, so I need people to try them.  Cupcakes are not shippable.  At least I don’t have the funds to pay for that kind of packaging and shipping.

In other news, I learned yesterday that my mom, sister and sister’s boyfriend all chipped in to get me a Kitchenaid stand mixer.  No more agonizing with my hand held!  I’m very thrilled at this, and now I can make my mom’s cinnamon rolls.  I’m still keeping my hand held mixer though, for smaller jobs.  But I finally have a stand mixer!  This opens soooo many more doors for me…  I’m very excited.  And they got me a RED one, which happens to be one of my favorite colors.

I have to end this post, because I need to run some errands.  But I also wanted to say that my little mini business cards came in the mail yesterday.  I got a little nervous because this means I’m really doing this.  I’m really going to put my name out there and see what happens next with this baking thing.  It’s exciting, but a bit scary too and just a tad overwhelming.  But I think it’s just jitters.  I mean that’s what life is about isn’t it?  Finding out what happens next…

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Cupcakes Starring Fondant Pumpkins, and Some Other Thoughts…

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