2004_08_food_cupcakes.jpgDoug at Ask Gothamist recently attended a class at the Institute of Culinary Education where cupcakes were the evening's focus. We made everything from the basic golden with butter cream frosting to more elaborate merengue and royal icings and each student got to take home at least two dozen cupcakes. Ours, pictured here, included piped on icing, and even a few edible flowers. One of the advantages of the class - aside from a professional instructor, professional tools and, most importantly, a professional dishwasher - is the high quality ingredients available for use with the recipes. Fine chocolate, rich butter, high-quality food dyes, only made the cupcakes that much closer to what you might find at Buttercup or Magnolia. The only problem with the class? After sampling so much icing, we hardly wanted to eat any cupcakes at the end of the evening.

The cupcakes held up pretty well overnight, as the two we had as part of our complete breakfast this morning still tasted great.

Institute of Culinary Education, 20 West 23rd Street, (212) 847-0700.

-- Doug Gordon