Page 32 - NA_4_4_2011

Basic HTML Version

everyone is making them and there are even entire bakeries
dedicated to just cupcakes! While I have enjoyed my share
at various children’s events, I have to admit to never actually
baking a cupcake until 6 months ago. As a child growing up
in Europe, our family celebrated special days with our own
simple baked goods, such as gugelhopf and carrot cake.
Cupcakes were just not known in our part of the world then.
Fast forward to my own children’s parties and I have to say
they have been a little spoiled with their birthday cakes –
fondant with airbrushed marizpan menageries on top or
beautiful glazed fruit tarts. Definitely not your usual children’s
birthday fare.
So needless to say I was a little concerned when I came
home one day and my wife informed me I would be teaching
class in Switzerland on…(you guessed it)…cupcakes! Panic
set in. Cupcakes? In Switzerland? If you know anything about
the Swiss, you know they love their own baking traditions,
and it was now up to me to share the baking traditions of my
adopted American culture and somehow turn them on to
cupcakes. All this pressure and I had never even baked a
cupcake before!
Now for the average American baker or pastry chef, this
would not be much of a challenge since cupcakes are as
abundant in one’s repertoire as buttercream roses. But, I had
a class to teach and a lot to learn beforehand, so it was with
this mission I dove into the world of cupcakes and discovered
a whole new territory of baking. It was fun! I had a great time
developing flavor combinations and decorative details, all the
time wondering if my Swiss students would embrace my
elaborate version of cupcakes. In the end, I think they enjoyed
the class, and while I don’t know if the cupcake craze will
sweep across Switzerland, at least I feel like I have expanded
my own horizons during the process. I developed quite a few
different products, but here I am sharing with you my cupcake
version of a classic American summer dessert: strawberry
shortcake. Enjoy!
30 Pastry & Baking
North America
f you are not aware of the cupcake craze sweeping
the nation these days, you either live in a cave or
are shipwrecked on a deserted island. It seems that
Artisan Baker
Publisher’s Note:
Ciril Hitz is the Department Chair for
the International Baking and Pastry Institute at Johnson &
Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He has been
recognized both nationally and internationally with numerous
awards and accomplishments. More information on Ciril and
his work can be viewed on his web site: