"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hello, Cupcake!

Did you ever stop to wonder how cupcakes got their name?

Me neither. 

Can you guess where this is going?

I was reading my gorgeous new cookbook, Vintage Cakes (a thoughtful and much appreciated Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, Dawn! More about this amazing book later!), when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a recipe for --little cakes, made in teacups...cupcakes!

Who knew?

Well, evidently several people, including Ms.MarmiteLover, AKA, Kerstin Rodgers, originator of London's The Underground Restaurant and pioneer of the British supper club craze. She is also a blogger (winner of the UK's 2013's Guild of Food Writers Food Blog of the Year Award) and lover of cupcakes. See, so like, we have so much in common...I like cupcakes..

On Ms.MarmiteLover's blog, she offers a cupcake recipe (which looks delish!), and a few words in favor of baking with teacups: "I figured I'd try...After all porcelain and pottery are baked in a kiln at a very high temperature so an oven should be safe. Less washing up and they look cute!" 
I completely agree. 

Just to be on the safe side, however, don't go using your very best teacups right away.

Some teacups are designated as 'oven safe', while others will require a sort of baker's roulette.

I chose a few of my own mismatched teacups that were a bit heavier than delicate china cups. Although I like them very much, I was willing to sacrifice for the sake of science --not to mention cuteness.

Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Then, to be safe (and possibly avoid a big mess in the oven) I took Ms.MarmiteLover's advice and set the teacups filled with cake batter on top of parchment paper lining the inside of a roasting pan (lid off). In Rodger's version, she uses a tea towel inside of roasting pan which just screams fire extinguisher to me, but what do I know, I'm not the food blogger of the year...

Anyway, big chicken that I am, I used parchment paper. I buttered the inside of the teacups, filled with them with cake batter (Duncan Hines Devil's Food, mea culpa); placed them into the roasting pan and set it inside a preheated oven (according to directions on the box). Then I prayed.
 I was afraid to open the oven door for fear of being blinded by shards of exploding teacups, but again, the quest for cuteness prevailed. Vision be damned.

(*If you try this at home, please be very careful!)

Finally, holding my breath and kind of squinting my eyes shut a little just in case...I checked on the cupcakes a bit earlier than the packaging suggested. 

Since the teacups I used created a larger than an average cupcake size, I kept checking the cupcakes incrementally until the testing stick came out clean. I am thinking bake time will vary depending on your recipe, your oven and the size of the cups. However, for a little extra watching, I think the results were worth it. 

How darling would these be for special occasion, a tea party or a shower? My family gave them two enthusiastic thumbs up -and the novelty of eating cake out of a teacup was part of the fun.

 Scouting yard sales or flea markets for inexpensive, baking teacups for experimentation could also make for a terrific treasure hunt.

Adventures in baking! Who needs Everest --bring on the cupcakes!

1 comment :

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