One of the toughest choices a home baker has to make is how to finish a cake, cupcake or cookie/ Do you go with the satiny, glossy glaze or the fluffy, buttery frosting? Therein lies the question. what works?.
I tackled this question last month, going into a great deal about the different types of icing out there. Now I will be making spice cake cupcakes from a Duncan Hines mix. Originally, I wanted to top them off with a frosting. Since the cake has more or less the same spices as carrot cake a cream cheese frosting would make sense. It has a tang to it that would work well with the cinnamon, allspice, coriander, ginger, and nutmeg. I even planned to use my new cake decorating set from Wilton, dreams of curlicues and roses dancing in my baker's head, Unfortunately, the frosting may be a bit overpowering in taste, the spices and the blend of cream cheese , butter and vanilla competing with each other. Should I go with a plain buttercream? Not enough oomph, and too dull. What about another spice cake topper - maple buttercream which sounds too super sweet. It is - paired with confectioners and in some recipes - brown sugar. The taste alone would drown out the cake - not something I want in a frosting.
Inspiration came in the form of my favorite bakery. The B&W Bakery of Hackensack, New Jersey has recipes from the original German owners. Even though the current owners are now Korean, they kept many of the original ones for cakes and icings. One is a spice cupcake with a chocolate icing glaze. Bingo!!! That 's what I want. The dark, earthy cocoa notes will work well with the spices, highlighting them,, instead of smothering their different and unique flavors.It also won't' be that sweet either since a few glaze recipes are only comprised of chocolate and whole cream. The question is what would be the best glaze? There are several recipes I found on the web. There is the one mentioned above that requires only scalding the cream and adding semi-sweet chocolate chips. I am leaning towards that one. Another calls for granulated sugar and cocoa powder. These are sifted together and then warm water and butter are added to give it that liquidy glossiness. What is good about using a glaze is that it's easy to use on any baked good. Just dip the cupcake tops into it, then twist them to get rid of the excess . That's it. No fancy squiggles or buds. It's easy and the cupcakes will look elegant as oppsed to just cute. I may add a candy heart on each cupcake, but that will be enough .
A chocolate glaze is going to be perfect for my spice cupcakes. It'll not only highlight the cakes' flavor but also give them a lovely, classy look. Perfect to look at and perfect to eat.