cupcakes. i love making them, and i love eating them--i consider them one of the Perfect Foods, along with bacon, biscuits, sauteed mushrooms, and really good ice cold gin martinis. (there are others, of course, but i am trying not to digress...y'all know how i am once i get going.)
for christmas, i received two cupcake cookbooks, cupcakes, by susanna tee, and cupcakes year round, by sara neumeier. the first is quite pretty and is great for inspiration and decorating ideas, but it isn't very practical for mass production of cupcakes. all of it's recipes make different amounts of cupcakes--one will be 12, one 16, the next 26, and so on. the other one, however, is awesome--every recipe i made on saturday came from this book, and all of them were fabulous. highly recommend this book! evey cupcake recipe is for 24 cupcakes, and every icing recipe is enough icing to generously ice all 24 (and then some).
i spent some time thinking about what flavors to make and how i wanted to decorate the cupcakes. i settled on 3 batches. 1) red velvet, because there's just something about red velvet that people like--it feels festive. 2) chocolate mocha because well--mmmm...chocolate. 3) carrot cake because i thought i should do something that had no chocolate in it for people who either don't like it or might be allergic or something. besides, carrot cake rocks. i made a big double batch of cream cheese icing, and then flavored it differently for each kind of cake. the red velvet got plain cream cheese icing, the carrot got cream cheese with lemon zest grated into it, and the mocha got crushed candycanes mixed in for a subtle peppermint flavor. (that was an idea from the cookbook, although they used buttercream as the base rather than cream cheese icing--they called them reindeer snacks. cute.)