Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Iron Cupcake: Earth--Romance

For this month's Iron Cupcake: Earth the challenge is to create a cupcake with the theme of Romance. I immediately thought of one of the world's best-loved love stories: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Initially, I planned on researching what types of cakes would be eaten in Regency England, and then use them as inspiration for a cupcake. After a little internet browsing, I really wasn't inspired, so I turned to my Google bookshelf for some antique cookbooks. What I found was a recipe for Queen Cakes which I noticed were to be baked in tins. Other cakes called for only one tin, so this made me wonder if these could be considered cupcakes.

From The Experienced English Housewife, by Elizabeth Raffald, 1786, p. 271.

Curious, I focused my research to Queen Cakes. The recipes I found vary little as it is basically a pound cake. The few variations have to do with flavoring and the types of bakeware used. Below are a few examples I found interesting:

The House-Keeper's Pocket-Book, bake in patty-pans, glaze after baking.
The Experienced English Housewife, recipe above
The Practice of Cookery, Pastry and Confectionary, bake in small, ribbed petty-pans
A New System of Domestic Cookery, bake in little tins, tea-cups, or saucer
Modern Cookery for Private Families, heart-shaped tins are the usual by now

After spending several hours pouring through these and other antique books, my husband reminded me that
Alton Brown covered the history of cupcakes in his Good Eats episode "Honey I Shrunk The Cake" which if I had thought of sooner, would have saved me a lot of time. Although Brown says the modern cupcake is an American invention, cupcake roots go back to the 18th Century Queen Cakes. {Go here to read the transcript, Scenes 2, 3 & 6}

So, I think it's safe to assume that if Mr. Darcy were going to eat a cupcake, this is what it would look like:

Cupcakes for Mr. Darcy
(Makes 24 cupcakes)


4 sticks unsalted butter
16 ounces all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
8 eggs (appx. 16 ounces)
8 ounces
currants (if you cannot find them, you may use raisins)
pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon rosewater
1 tsp. mace
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place liners in muffin pan or grease with butter and flour ramekins or teacups.
With your stand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time, waiting for each to be fully incorporated. Add the salt and flavoring or spices and continue beating until fully incorporated. With mixer on lowest speed, add the flour in three installments, making sure each portion is fully incorporated before adding the next. When the batter is smooth, fold in the currants.

Scoop the batter into the cups, filling quite high. Bake for 20 minutes (longer if using ramekin or cup) or until golden on top. Let cupcakes cool. Top with sifted powdered sugar or make a thin glaze by mixing a half cup of sifted powdered sugar with enough hot water to make a slightly cloudy mixture. Dip the cupcake in the liquid and let the excess drain off, then set aside to dry.

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Since they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, perhaps you'd like to invited someone special to tea...

"Do have another cupcake, Mr. Darcy."

Or perhaps you prefer Colonel Brandon?


*Special thanks to Janet Clarkson, The Old Foodie, for helping me out in the cookbook department.

Iron Cupcake: Earth Voting and Prizes

Voting will begin no later than Sunday, February 28th at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Thursday, March 4th at 12 noon. Winner will be posted the night of March 4th, before 11:59 p.m.

Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:

•The Demy™ by Key Ingredient
•Hello, Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson
•Bella Cupcake Couture
•Cupcake Stackers by Gourmac
•The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrne
•Beautiful Baking Liners by Vestli House
•Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Bakery & Cupcakey Supply


Lones World said...

Elizabeth, you are amazing, imaginative, creative, and enviable. Thank you so much for sharing this with me! :)

Anonymous said...

Very cool Elizabeth!
I love Mr. Darcy :)

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed! Pride and Prejudice is my favorite movie!

Michelle said...

These cupcakes sound great! I appreciate the way you researched the project and created your own interpretation of a "Queen Cake". Mr. Darcy would've asked for seconds. :-)

EHisCDN said...

Just found your blog and this is great! Combines two of my favourite things, cooking/baking and the studs from Jane Austen!

Saigon & Baygon Inc. said...

Looks like a great recipe! I'll try it out soon.
The dilemma you are posing is a tough one, I must say. Mr Darcy is ever so irresistibly charming, but Alan Rickman has always been the elusive dream (I've actually named my cat "Snape", after Rickman's role in the Harry Potter series. Pathetic, I know. LOL).


EHisCDN said...

@ Saigon

I don't think it's pathetic. I get made fun of for wanted to name my child Fitzwilliam, he can have a normal nickname... (I also briefly thought for awhile about naming a son Gilbert from Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables, but decided it would probably be a better middle name).

I love Alan Rickman, his voice alone...!

Grace said...

Thanks for the idea!I'm going to make these for my english class :)