Cupcake Fashion Designer: 6 Ways to Makeover a Recipe

I am by no means a "fashionista" nor do I understand some of the concepts in the fashion world... (Like why people walk down the street with other peoples names marked across their chest and butt or go as far as to tattoo brand names on their bodies). Nevertheless, Of late I've been tuned into a lot of fashion related things: Project Runway Season 9- to root on my fellow country man Ms. Anya Ayoung-Chee and recently Fashion's Night Out - a friend dragged me... But I admit it was tons of fun! :D So when a good friend of mine told me he wanted some cupcakes for his wife - the diva- decorated with elements of fashion, the timing could not be more perfect!

He knew he wanted the cakes to be very girly and fashion inspired with sunglass and heels and I thought "hey why not throw a designer handbag into the mix"... Not sure why, but the first designer to pop into my head was Chanel and there began the theme. For one day, I got to design shoes, shades/ sunglasses and a purse for Chanel inspired cupcakes! This was an awesome challenge! (Sorry about the poor pic. quality... working on it...)

But after the decorations were made, I came back to my true area of design: the cupcakes themselves. From my first lesson on baking in High School, it was made clear that as a baker, like in fashion, the design of your goodies are key. Taste and texture are left at the whims of the artist. I remember my Food and Nutrition teacher defining a well made cake as being characterized by the look of the crumb: an even spacing in the air bubbles when sliced (after baking and cooling of course).

As I continue to experiment with cakes, it is apparent that the slightest variation in the amounts and type of ingredients you use and especially the method, changes a cake distinctly. (While in fashion, designers decide on fabrics and colors and silhouettes to create the latest trend) For these designer cakes I decided to use vegetable spread, instead of oil in my standard vanilla recipe (I don't use butter in my cakes, I will tell you why at a later date) and I enjoyed the difference. The cakes tasted the same but the vegetable spread (soild) made a finer crumb than the oil (liquid) usually does. They both are great so now when I'm making a cake I find myself standing in front of the cupboard - kitchen cupboard that is- having a hard time deciding on Oil or Vegetable Spread... (Much like getting dressed and deciding on pants vs. skirt... lol )

Nevertheless, here are a few more things I have noticed that changes the design in cake texture and things that you can experiment with if you have a yummy recipe that may need a little tweaking:

1) The number of times you sift the dry ingredients (even self rising flour):
The more you sift the more air is incorporated, the lighter the cake.

2) Beating/ Whisking eggs before adding them to other liquid/ dry ingredients:
Getting your eggs nice and fluffy before adding them to other ingredients helps to make a lighter/ spongier textured cake. (Be sure to gently fold dry ingredients into fluffy eggs to keep the peaks.

3) Proportions of liquid vs. dry ingredients:
Usually .5 cup milk, cream, juice etc. to every cup of flour works for me

4) Adding fruit, chocolate chips etc.:
When adding pureed fruit or chocolate chips and even nuts I usually throw in an extra 1/4 cup of flour for every 1/2 cup of fruit etc. added to keep them from dropping to the bottom of the cake. (If you add more flour you will need to add more baking powder/ soda.

5) Adding liquid to dry ingredients:
Each time I have added the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients (i.e. dry ingredients in a bowl and pour in the liquids) the cake has come out with a soft but heavier texture - in a good way. You actually feel like you're biting into a piece of cake vs. squeezing air out of a pillow if that makes any sense...

6) Adding dry ingredients to liquid ingredients:
Gently folding dry ingredients into liquid usually makes for a lighter cake, especially if you add it by sifting.


  1. Your last 6 points are very interesting; I'm going to have to pass them along to my baker-daughter. By the way, the latest thing she loves are cake balls/pops - she had some the other day at her friend's house (the friend's mother is also a baker). Have you seen these?

  2. Thank you Ruru! Let me know how the cakes come out when she tries any of the methods. About the cake pops, I have seen them, thought I have not made any of my own just yet. They are so cute! I can see myself experimenting with them in the not too distant future. ;)

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