Two bits of cupcake-related ephemera came across the transom this week. Might as well roll them into one post.
First Corby Kummer examines the cupcake in the March issue of The Atlantic. After the now-obligatory yes-cupcakes-are-overexposed-but-I'm-still-going-to-write-about–them intro, he goes on to say that "the craze is worth keeping" if only so bakers will get the damn things right.
Cupcakes may be largely icing-delivery vehicles, but the cake shouldn’t be cardboard and the icing shouldn’t be grease—twin concepts few artisan bakers (artisan being the new word for homemade) seem to get. Cooked French buttercream, which many of them choose (it shows off Technique), is not a suitable cupcake icing. It’s oily. It smears. A simple glaze—think Hostess, but with good chocolate—is. And best is the simple icing that for many people evokes childhood: butter beaten with confectioner’s sugar and milk and vanilla, light-textured and creamy but with a satisfying snap when you bite into it. Because this icing, when made with shortening, says “cheap supermarket cake” to artisan bakers, they shun it.
[If you simply can't get enough of cupcakes, there's bonus video after the jump of Corby Kummer doing a cupcake taste test.]