Care Package #6: The Cupcake Experiment

So care package number 6 went out on Friday. Did I mention they make you sign a waiver declaring you have no prohibited items? And they actually check the contents. I always feel like they’re going to find hidden contraband inside the cupcakes… as if I am baking prescription drugs or cigarettes inside each cupcake.

Contents for this week:

  • 1 dozen “inside out” cupcakes
  • 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies stuffed with mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • 1 bottle mint-lime syrup
  • 1 bottle cherry-peach syrup
  • Terra Nova National Park t-shirt
  • Various dove for men products (impulse buy)
  •  1 Cinnamon-Raisin cake courtesy of my Aunt Catherine (bless!) over which I brushed a rum glaze to keep fresh

What is an inside-out cupcake? It’s a cupcake with the icing inside. I couldn’t accept that cupcakes wouldn’t hold up in Afghanistan so I set out this week to come up with something that could [maybe, hopefully] survive the journey.

Sprinkles are directly correlated to morale levels, a recent study has shown

Inside out cupcakes sounded like a good idea since the Buttercream Frosting would be safe inside the cupcake. For this, if you have a pastry bag you could pipe frosting directly inside the cupcake, use a large star piping tip and pull up as you apply pressure. If you are like me and basically make shit up as you go, you could carve out the the centre of the cupcake with a steak knife and fill the centres with buttercream, replacing the top piece of the cupcake once filled,  all while enjoying a glass of wine.

But then the dilemma of how to keep the cupcakes fresh? I decided to seal the top of the cupcake with a royal icing. A friend of mine told me, after seeing the photo, “I looked closely and then looked again and I still couldn’t figure out what royal icing is!”

Cupcakes baked in paper liners, filled with vanilla buttercream and "sealed" with royal icing

Royal icing is made of egg whites (or meringue powder), lemon juice and icing sugar and is typically used for decorating sugar cookies or putting together a gingerbread house. It is glossy and hardens when dry. In other words, it is the plaster of the baking world.

For the cake, I used the Deluxe Three Egg Cake from my mother’s Five Roses Guide to Good Cooking.  This cookbook is old. Ridiculously old. Gasoline-costs-5-cents-a-litre-old. But it is the best for baking.

There's still a coupon inside for their Guide to Good Sauces, a steal at 25 cents

The deluxe three-egg white cake I chose because it is rich and moist. All the better to hold up in the mail. I also ran out of milk while making this cake and had to use 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt. Amazingly, it only made the cake more moist.

Frost as desired

To package, I let the royal icing on each cupcake dry overnight. Then I wrapped each cupcake in plastic wrap. I used a box formerly home to canning jars and settled each cupcake in one of the spaces, covered the whole thing with bubble wrap and laid it on the top layer of the package.

Cupcakes ready for their trip!

Phew. I hope they make it but as the title suggests, this is an experiment. We’ll have to wait and see what JD says when they arrive.

Next: chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Reese’s mini peanut butter cups. I used mini peanut butter cups but you could really use any kind of mini candy bars or even full size peanut butter cups if you wish.

Get stuffed!
Surprise!

The trick is to use an equal amount of cookie dough, top and bottom. I used a rounded teaspoon each time.

yum!

Find the recipe here – I followed it to a T and the result was a dense cookie with a slightly crispy bottom.

That’s it for #6… will update on the cupcakes when JD gets them as he has graciously agreed to take some photos.

Bye bye!

Cheers!

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