Cupcakes have great eye appeal. "Kawaiiii!," is how some Japanese would react when they see anything as cute as this cupcake. Cute in a Hello Kitty sense. It can't have a trace of attitude.
When I go back to Tokyo, I update my pastry chef sister Fuyuko on the latest trends in western sweets. Cupcakes often come up. How about cupcakes with polka dots and plaid decorations and teal blue frosting - designs and colors you would associate with furniture fabric, not cupcakes. What about that color of red velvet cupcakes? It's artificial looking but noone seems to be bothered by it. Fuyuko listens curiously.
In a recent baking class, Fuyuko decided to introduce cupcakes. But the cupcakes she bakes are extraordinary.Take her strawberry cupcake, for example. She adds pureed strawberry comfit into the batter. She tints the frosting in light pink and tops it with a dehydrated strawberry comfit and a crystalized flower petal. It's such a fine cupcake that you just can serve it as a wedding cake. I told her, cupcakes are supposed to be eaten casually but she serves it to me on a Wedgewood plate with a silver fork.
When I think of cupcakes, it's basically a box of Betty Crocker mix. The only work is to add water, eggs, and oil and the batter goes straight into the oven. The frosting is Betty Crocker's pre-mixed frosting - vanilla or chocolate. When you are assigned to bring a snack dessert to the soccer match and you only have 1 hour, Betty Crocker is the easiest solution. Sprinkle it with some sugar, the kids appreciate you even more. These cupcakes have a sickly kind of sweetness. You can see that I am not a big fan of cupcakes.
But after seeing what Fuyuko has done with a simple cupcake, I am impressed. I am going to give this recipe a try.
First, I have to see if I can get through the strawberry comfit.