the Cake Mix Doctor
popularity of single-serving cakes, better known as cupcakes,
has its origin in childhood. Most of us have fond memories of peeling
back the paper liner and pressing the soft cake and creamy frosting
into our mouths, wiping the excess off our cheeks and nostrils and
licking our fingers in delight.
Anne Byrn -- aka "The Cake Mix Doctor" -- brings back the joy of
childhood desserts with this guide to converting conventional cake
mixes into unique and unusual homemade desserts like Tie-Dye Cupcakes
with Psychedelic Buttercream or Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Coconut
shares her secrets for doctoring up mixes to produce memorable cupcakes
using chocolate curls, shiny gold and silver dragees, toasted pecans,
lemon and orange zest strips, edible flowers. Her methods are fast,
easy, and the results are can be impressive.
Cupcakes have recently achieved panache among adult consumers. "Like
home-baked meatloaf and real mashed potatoes, they are terribly chic,"
"Walk into an upscale bakery in New York,
Chicago, or Los
Angeles and you will see great gilded cupcakesliterally put up on
pedestals. They are often coated in fudge or caramel and might have a
candied violet or white chocolate shavings on top."
some of Byrn's recipes like her Hot Fudge Spumoni Ice Cream Cake cater
to the sophisticated crowd, most are just fun and celebratory homemade
treats for kids of all ages. The recipes usually produce 24 cupcakes,
just the right amount for a school function or a birthday bash.
Look to the front of the book for basic instructions and a list of more
than four dozen items to keep on hand in the fully stocked cupcake
The rest of Byrn's book is devoted to 135 recipes for cupcakes,
frostings, a few muffins, and some special party presentations like a
cupcake Christmas tree and a`cupcake wedding cake.
Buy an oven thermometer
and check to see if your oven is baking at the correct temperature.
Place the oven rack in
the center position.
Preheat the oven for 10
to 15 minutes before baking.
Read the recipe before
beginning. Make sure you have the right pan size. Regular cupcakes and
muffins go in 2½- to 2¾-inch cups.
Find paper liners that
fit your pan snugly. For muffins, mist the bottom of the cups with
vegetable oil spray.
Blend the batter for the
amount of time the recipe specifies. Use a hand or stand mixer for
cupcakes and a wooden spoon for most muffins.
Spoon or scoop batter
into the prepared cups, filling them two-thirds (one-fourth cup batter)
or three quarters (one-third cup batter) full, depending on the recipe
Check the cupcakes for
doneness, looking for browning in light-colored cupcakes or pressing
the top to see if it springs back.
Allow up to five minutes for cupcakes to cool in the pan before
transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Then frost or glaze as
Cakes and Cupcakes