For $4 many NYC bakeries will sell you one cupcake and maybe give you a quarter or 50-cents back. WTH?!?!? I work in the Chelsea Market and downstairs we have several bakeries selling baked goods. My favorite is Eleni’s. The best cupcake they have is the peanut butter and jelly one. Not feeling that? They also have Oreo, red velvet, chocolate, etc. These cupcakes are all now between $2.75-$3.75. About a month ago prices went up a quarter. I’m not sure why, but when the premium cupcakes were $3.50 they still seemed worth it, but that quarter sent a lot of people over the edge. I actually found out about the price hike when a colleague posted it on her Facebook. She said she went down with excitement to get a cupcake and couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw prices had gone up. I think one reason is that you’d assume right now businesses would be doing their best to lure customers in and raising prices seems counterproductive. With the cupcakes in reach of $4 it’s just a little more painful to make the purchase. Going to someone’s home for dinner and want to bring a box of four cupcakes? The price tag of $15 for 4 just seems ridiculous. So what’s a cupcake lovin’ fool (like one of my best friend’s Whitney Casey) to do?
If you’re like me you’ll make them from scratch. This week I whipped up this batch of brownie cupcakes:
If you cost average out what I spent on the 16 cupcakes I made it comes out to about 25-cents a cupcake. That’s a savings of 90-something percent! Not too shabby. If you’re thinking it’s hard to make cupcakes like these….think again! Sure I made the batter and icing from scratch, but if that is too scary for you, you can start slowly with the boxed varieties out there. Then when your confidence is up you can move onto finding a recipe you like. The key (if you are showing these cupcakes off in public) is making them look pretty. Of course taste is first and foremost, but I mean after taste the key is appearance. First off just fill the cupcake paper about 1/2 way. The cupcakes will puff up when you bake them. Next let them cool completely. I SAID COMPLETELY!!! This doesn’t mean 15 minutes. I usually let mine cool at least 45 minutes. If they are warm at all your frosting will melt all over the place. Like these (modeled nicely again by Whitney):
Next up: Let the frosting begin. One of the best tricks I found is using a small ice cream scoop. Scoop the frosting right on top. Then use a small spatula to smooth it out. Put whatever topping you want in a small bowl and dunk away. Next eat up or package them in a great cupcake carrier and bring them to your gathering! Enjoy eating them and saving tons of $$.