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Summer Cupcakes

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I have fallen in love with cupcakes, but I also realize they are quickly becoming a fad. I am reminded of the great midwest bagel craze of the late 90’s – I grew up in Missouri and from around 1994-1997 there was a bagel shop popping up on just about every corner. Of course, most quickly went out of business.

I predict that mass-produced cupcakes will surely go the way of the bagel and turn into artifical replicas of a once great goodie. Like many things nowadays, if you want a great cupcake you have to make it yourself (or order it from me, locals only – www.bakelocal.com). I’ve posted some pics of banana cupcakes topped with caramel frosting and fresh berries and carrot cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and candied carrots and walnuts. The banana cupcake recipe is from Martha Stewart and the Buttercream Frosting and Carrot Cake recipes are from finecooking.com. There is also a cool how-to video showing you exactly how to make the buttercream.

Tips for the recipes:

-I cut the bananas down to two and found that there was more spring in the cake while keeping the intense banana flavor.

-for the caramel buttercream, beat in 1 or 2 cans of Nestle dulce de leche with a paddle attachment.

-for the candied carrots, shred a couple of carrots and cook with 1/2 cup of sugar and a couple Tbsps of water for 20 minutes or so. Strain and let dry.

-use a pastry bag and star tips for frosting the cupcakes.

-use banana chips instead of fresh banana for the garnish.

-cut out the corn syrup in the frosting and replace it with a few ounces of water. Just remember to boil the syrup until it reaches 240, no higher

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