“How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.” Marcus Aurelius
I would not actually bravely call myself an expert professional baker by any means, but by all means I have baked a lot of cakes in my life. I am usually determined to get the cakes looking as perfect as possible. Apart from experience and excellent troubleshooting ability, I have learnt a few more things during my years of baking. As all of my baking-perfect family females used to say:
- Baking takes a lot of time and planning: one can not rush deliciousness and perfection.
- Baking takes dedication and mental investment: one can not achieve without the right mindset.
- Baking takes practice: it is a form of culinary art mixed with chemical science, however, in the presence of knowledgeable ancestors, one can learn by observation…
After years of baking, right now, I am working on my biggest baking project yet: I am making, baking, guarding a cute little sweet and spicy cupcake: a surprise inside!
“I was like a chocolate in a box, looking well behaved and perfect in place, all the while harboring a secret center.” Deb Caletti
Although the magic of hidden design or surprise inside cakes might appear elusive and mysterious to some, this cheeky yet elegant method of cake decorating is surprisingly achievable with a just little patience and devotion. Embedding all sorts of things in cakes, little pops, candies, cookies, mini pies is a real treasure for the consumers of the final baked goods…One important thing to note when baking different baked goods into a cake or cupcake, is baking the thing that goes inside first and as long as it is covered with batter completely, it will be protected from burning. It’ll get hot, however, as cake batter bakes from the outside in, the middle will not continue cooking.
The zebra print method
“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.” Tierney Gearon
Divide batter into two bowls. Start by dropping a spoonful of vanilla batter into the middle of the cake tin/cupcake case. It will spread a little bit. Then pour a spoonful of chocolate batter in the center of your vanilla batter. Repeat this process, continuing with spoonful of scoops of alternating flavours, each flavor of batter dropped into the center of the previous circle of batter. The batter has to be thin enough that it does not take long at all for the batter to spread out a little bit. Continue the process until the tin/case is approx 2/3 full.
The leopard print method
“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.” Samuel Johnson
This is a very different technique than the stripes, it needs a thick batter that won’t spread too much. Divide your cake batter into three and leave one original, one light/bright and one dark. Once coloured place the mixes in three pastry bag. Take the yellow colored batter piping bag and make a thin layer of batter on the bottom of one cupcake liner. Take the dark batter and pipe a circle and a small dot inside the circle . Take the light coloured and pipe right on top of the dark circle and the dot. Then take the dark batter and pipe it on top of the light colour, making sure to completely cover it (meaning the dark batter encasing the light colour batter). Then take the yellow coloured batter and pipe around all the gaps to make an even layer. Then pipe a thin layer of the yellow colored batter on top of that to completely cover the other layers. If have enough room, repeat the pattern, but only fill the cupcake case to two-thirds full.
“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.” Charles Morgan