Last night I was thinking about several things related to food, and to this blog. I’ve made an attempt this month to slowly ramp back up to a more regular posting schedule – even though I’m not really sure what a regular schedule means here. I just know that I’d like to hit the highlights of some of my interests each week – our current house projects, our addition house projects, occasional posts about our family and the girls, what we’re reading, what we’re making, what we’re eating.
I really enjoy keeping track of our weekly menus and talking about them here, and I used to sit down and draw and write out the past week’s menu on Sunday night in front of Downton Abbey. Now we DVR it, and occasionally it’s Tuesday or Wednesday or the following weekend before we get around to it. So I haven’t yet been able to get into the habit of doing it again. Instead, I have this stack of menu notes for the past month on my table, as if they are important to anyone anyway.
Sometimes I can impose a bit too much order onto something that really is just an online journal to me, and I think the randomness works on some level. Eventually I’ll get back into that weekly feature, but even if it’s not posted like clockwork, you can still bet I’m thinking about food. And this weekend, I was thinking about cupcakes.
I posted a picture on Instagram last night of some progress shots of the cupcakes I made for Sunday’s shower. I’ve talked about cupcake making a few times before, and specifically about baking cupcakes in bulk here, here, and here. And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I really didn’t like making cupcakes until I discovered this little trick.
You’ll need a large icing bag – this one is an 18″ one, which is large enough to generously wrap over the top edge of my water pitcher, which makes filling it easy and neat (because you don’t want to get any frosting or icing on the top 2″-3″ of the bag or else it “back squeezes” when you use it). And anything larger than 18″ filled with icing gets really, really heavy. I use a large coupler and a large star tip, doesn’t really matter the shape for batter filling.
The pitcher also makes a good stand for the bag when not in use. If the recipe gives you some guidance on liner filling then use it. (In the case of this recipe it recommended no more than 1/2 full). If you aren’t sure, then take three liners and test fill them with three heights and bake them to see how much they rise. It’s usually worth the extra few minutes to have the rest of the cupcakes turn out right. Piping the batter in gives you a lot of control – I just use a circular motion to cover the liner completely and I can fill each one to the same level with zero drips across the tops of the paper. You want the cupcakes to not dome in the center once baked, but to ideally be flat and stop just short of the liner top.
That way, once you ice the top of the cupcakes, you can still see the edge of the cake part, and it’s far less messy for eaters to peel the paper off at a party and not be forced into licking their fingers before they go in for the next treat on the table! You can also easily see the whole flavor combination here – no surprises. Oh, except for that pear filling that I added, hidden away under the frosting. I like to keep you guessing.