Since September of last year, Rosie has been delighting readers with her beautiful and unique cakes, cupcakes and other desserts on her blog Sweetapolita. All this plus the stunning photographs of her creations and her gorgeous little girls. Her photographic work has been featured on Foodgawker, Tastespotting, Tasteologie and Dessert Stalking. Her blog is as sweet and as pretty as the tantalizing baked goodness she shares with her followers so it should come as no surprise that her work has been featured on Foodista in addition to several other blogs. This young entrepreneur had her start in business after developing her own line of beauty products which she and her partner grew into a boutique business called Cake Beauty. After several years she left the business in the hands of her partner so that she could concentrate on her other passion, caking (as she likes to call it) and decorating. We are so the richer for it. In the very near future Rosie plans on opening her second business, Sweetapolita Fancy Cakes and Confections. I have every reason to believe that her new venture will be a huge success. Once you see her post today I think you will come to the same conclusion. Rosie twitters @Sweetapolita and shares her story and recipe with us today.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
What a special honour it is to be here talking sweets with you for such a wonderful cause. When I connected with Paula (The Vanilla Bean Baker) and learned of her amazing Frosting for the Cause project, I didn’t waste a minute: I signed up right away. What a special person she is, and what a remarkable thing she is doing for the cause by raising cancer awareness, raising money, and raising spirits—all through the universal love for baking.
When I reflect upon how cancer has affected a woman in my life, I immediately think back to 1989, when I was a young teen. My Aunt Kay had been battling with breast cancer, but was in remission. My mom got a phone call from my cousin, Kathy, one evening, saying that her mom, Aunt Kay, was suddenly extremely sick again, and that she was in the hospital. She urged my mom to pack her things and make the 2 hour drive to the hospital for a few days to meet up with them. My mom hung up the telephone, and began feverishly packing her things and taking care of a few tasks before she was to set out. Before she even reached the car, my cousin called back and said Aunt Kay was gone. What a great loss. She was a wonderful mother, aunt, friend, wife, and was my mom’s best friend and only sister. She was one of the most energetic, gregarious, and funniest women I’d ever known. Time with her was full of giggles–always. Growing up, she loved teasing us kids (in full fun) to see if she could get a rise out of us, which of course, she could. Come to think of it, I think the last words she said to me were “Rosie Posie pudding and poop, kissed the boys and made them puke!” Every time I think about her, I smile. I’m so glad to have this chance to connect Aunt Kay with my grown-up life and my love for baking and writing.
When I was trying to decide what recipe to share today, in honour of Aunt Kay, I knew right away that I wanted to create something bright, fun, and pinker than pink. As some of you may know, my two little girls are a big part of my baking adventures, and when I told my preschooler, Reese, that I wanted to create pink cupcakes, she brought me one of our favourite books for inspiration: Pinkalicious (the story of a little girl who ate so many pink cupcakes that she turned pink). I really wanted to embrace the colour pink because not only does it symbolize breast cancer awareness, but to me, it is synonymous with celebration, happiness, and life.
Rosie’s Pinkalicious Cherry Cupcakes
Creating the Pinkalicious Cherry Cupcakes
First, I should mention, that as much as I adore fancily decorated cupcakes, I am, above all, interested in the yummiest of cupcakes. I adore this cherry cake because it has an old-fashioned taste, it’s moist and flavourful with a hint of almond, and I love that most people are pleasantly surprised when they see a cherry cupcake. This recipe is delicious with any kind of frosting, and need not be super fancy. It’s lovely with a swirl of sugary frosting, Swiss meringue buttercream, or even straight out of the oven.
Recipe for Cherry Cupcakes
*Makes 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
1 cup maraschino cherry halves (optional, but I choose not to include)
Few drops red/pink gel food colouring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Set egg whites aside to be beaten. Add the egg yolks to the creamed mixture, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in extract. Add dry ingredients and milk, by alternating (beginning and ending with dry) until just combined. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, and the cherries/juice. For pinker cupcakes, add a few drops of pink gel food coloring to the batter.
Using ice cream/cookie scoop, fill white cupcake liners (if doing my decorated version, otherwise any liner of your choice) about 2/3 full. Bake until inserted toothpick comes just clean, about 18-20 minutes, but take care to not over-bake.
As soon as you have removed cupcakes from oven, carefully and cautiously (at the risk of stating the obvious, they’re super hot!) remove each of them from pan and place on wire rack.
Decorating the Pinkalicious Cherry Cupcakes
I expressed how amazing these cupcakes are, even without the fancy decorating, but they certainly are perfect for these fun and fancy Pinkalicious-inspired version. This tutorial is to recreate 12 of the exact cupcakes shown in the photos.
You will need:
Pink fondant, about 1 lb
Bright red fondant for cherries, about 2oz (size of a plum)
White jimmies (sprinkles)
Buttercream for coating under fondant (approximately 2.5 cups)
9” fondant rolling pin
Small offset palette knife
3.5” round cookie cutter
Small, sharp knife
12 Pink double ruffled cupcake liner/wrappers, Wilton
White florist wire and wire cutters
Paint brush (used only for food)
Step 1: Using a small offset palette knife, create an icing dome on each cupcake using buttercream—I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth, as it would for a fondant-covered cake, but take care to smooth as much as possible. Place in refrigerator until buttercream hardens—about 1 hour. *Tip: You can place in freezer for around 20 minutes.
Step 2: Roll small amount of pink fondant about 1/8” thick (I use Wilton spacer rings with a 9” fondant rolling pin) on smooth surface sprinkled with icing sugar or cornstarch, and cut out approximately 1-3 circles using a 3.5” round cookie cutter. Immediately place remaining rolled out fondant bits into an airtight plastic bag.
Step 3: Take cupcakes out of refrigerator (same number as circles you’ve cut) and carefully place the fondant circle on top of buttercream dome. Using the palm of your hand, gently adhere the circle and smooth down sides. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges of the fondant so that they line up with the top of the cupcake liner. Set aside. You will want to work quickly, if you’ve cut more than one circle, as the fondant will dry out quickly.
Note: This is how your fondant-covered cupcake will look once it’s tucked into the ruffled liner. You can do that at this stage, or you can wait until the end. I recommend making that the very last step.
Step 4: Using a paint brush (that you’ve designated for food), paint a small amount of water on the fondant, on top of cupcake (leaving room for your fondant cherry). Sprinkle white jimmies onto wet area, which is now nice and sticky. Roll cherry-size balls out of bright red fondant and secure gently with a dab of water. Repeat this step for all cupcakes. *Note: Again, you are best to do this before placing cupcakes into ruffled wrappers—this photo was taken afterwards.
Step 5: Finally, you can cut 1” pieces of florist wire, curl the tip, and insert into the cherry, for the finishing touch. Just remember to remove the cherry “stem” before eating! Place all finished cupcakes in fridge to harden fondant. Once chilled, place gently into ruffled liners.
Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If you use Swiss Meringue Buttercream, they should be kept in the refrigerator.
I believe that the simple delight that a fancy pink cupcake (or two) brings is just what we all need from time to time, and that there is always a reason to celebrate. I hope you enjoy making (and indulging in) these as much as I, and my girls, do.
Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and simply pinkalicious 2011!
Love, Rosie xo