With the rising popularity of designer cupcake shops in LA like Sprinkles, Toast, Crumbs, Vanilla Bake Shop, not to mention the Magnolia Bakery in NYC, it seems that there's a high-end cupcake shop opening up in every neighborhood these days, along with some sort of hypnotic I-will-wait-in-line-for-over-30-minutes just to buy a waaay over-priced round of sugary fluff. It's mass-hysteria in my opinion, another craze following the same trajectory that Pinkberry did for frozen yogurt, or Krispy Kreme did for hot sugary glazed donuts.
What's the deal? I mean, they're cupcakes, folks. Cupcakes. Buy a $2 box of cake mix and bake 'em off in muffin tins, or bake your own recipe, but c'mon. Cupcakes. Not. Rocket. Science.
I have no big pull towards them personally. I mean, I think they're ok, if not just a big mouthful of overly-sickly sweetness, but my daughter loves them. Reveres them. So, being the devoted mother and wonder baker that I sometimes am, occasionally I indulge that desire for her. Like yesterday…
What to do on a dreary, gray Saturday? House-bound and bored...
With an assorted rainbow of sprinkles. (Decorating's her thing.)
Donning aprons with hair tied up in ponies, we got to mixing and baking, licking and scraping, and soon we had ourselves a batch of fresh vanilla cupcakes with buttery vanilla frosting. (I tried selling other flavors, such as chocolate, black and white, orange blossom, or rose water decorated with candied rose petals, even adding some freshly grated Meyer lemon peel to the frosting, but to no avail. Miss S loves the classic: vanilla, vanilla.)
Vanilla it was.
I laid out all the decorative sugars, sprinkles, and candied rose petals for her to decorate her little heart out, somewhat uninspired and disappointed we weren't creating a more magical "fairy blossom" flavored frosting at the very least. (She's waaaay into fairies these days. She's even writing and illustrating her very own "Fairy Book.")
Then, inspiration hit me. She could sprinkle away, but I was going to try something different.
I had a box of Dots and some leftover Tootsie rolls, (dare I say that they might have been from Halloween?) I took my extra sharp Shun Santoku knife, rubbed a little oil along the blade to prevent it from sticking, and sliced each Dot into 5 or 6 thin nearly transparent wheels of stained-glass candy color. Perfect little petals. Then I sliced and rolled "stems" out of the Tootsie rolls, and discovered that pistachios would form perfectly green-tinged "leaves."
Magic fairy flower cupcakes. As pretty to look at as they are to eat.
And here are the Divine Miss S's creations:
(Even she got into the flower power eventually.)