Here we are, at the final Mad Men cupcakes post! I had a great time making these, as you can tell, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them. If you haven’t seen the previous three posts, here are the links:
The Old Fashioneds were my favourite of the three cakes – I felt like I’d put together some unique flavour combinations, as far as cake goes, and I loved that fact that they had a cherry on top. It’s such a cliché, but I’ve never actually done it till now. I chose real cherries over glace or maraschino, I just can’t get on board with those. Who would do such a thing to a perfectly good cherry?
An Old Fashioned is made of bourbon, bitters and sugar, and garnished with orange, lemon and a cherry. So many great flavours to play with, though the trick was not making any of them overpowering. I decided to split the flavours between sponge and icing – of course there was plenty of sugar in both already. To the basic sponge batter, I added three tablespoons of Red Stag bourbon, a cherry flavoured Jim Beam. This won’t be for everyone, but I’ve been enjoying it as my drink of choice lately, and it turns out to be perfect for baking, too. I also added the juice of half a lemon to the cake batter, stirred until absorbed, then spooned into shiny red cases to bake.
I flavoured the plain buttercream with the zest on an orange, and three tablespoons of Angostura bitters. The bitters gave both a unique flavour and delicate pink-orange colour to the icing, which paired well with the red cases and the cherry on top. A happy accident!
Thus ends the long and happy tale of my Mad Men inspired cupcakes. I feel I learned a lot from this one batch of cakes; how to do pretty two-tone icing, how much alcohol to use to keep the flavour without putting everyone over the limit and, possibly most importantly, how to mix three classic cocktails. I’ll definitely be using bitters in my baking again, the flavour works so well when paired with a sweet buttercream. I’ll also use cherries as a decoration again, they are so sweet, sitting there all shiny. It’s been great fun reliving the process and committing the recipes to paper, too, so I can make them again if the occasion calls for it.
The ‘occasion’ might just be ‘it’s Friday’ – you’ve got to take your occasions where you can get them, right?