Wednesday, May 23, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


New designs for classic foods

It's interesting to watch for new ways to make or use

common food products. For example, there are new

twists on cupcakes, soda pop, food coloring, and slow


When Gourmet magazine put cupcakes on the cover of its

January, 2004 issue, cupcakes were elevated to star

status as quality desserts, artfully presented. Next

came cookbooks devoted solely to the art and flavors

of cupcakes.

In Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn

(Workman, $13.95), we even see a voluptuous Cupcake

Wedding Cake. Individual cupcakes are stacked on

tiers, and the cupcakes are cloaked in sumptuous

frosting and decorated with gold dragees, fresh roses,

and other flowers. How can you not say "I do" to


Or imagine Ms. Byrn's Halloween Spider Cupcake with

orange buttercream icing and decorated with Chocolate

Spiders made from chow mein noodles, chocolate chips,

confectioners' sugar, and crispy rice cereal plus a

little milk.

A second cookbook, Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

(Chronicle, $16.95), elevates adult flavors to the

world of cupcakes with Orange Chiffon Cupcakes with

Orange Butter Icing and Hummingbird Swirls (based on

the Hummingbird Cake of banana, pecan, and pineapple

with cream cheese frosting).

Because of the popularity of cupcakes, I was not

surprised to see the Wilton Cupcakes 'N More Dessert

Stand, which holds 23 cupcakes. It is priced at $29.99

and available at or at retail outlets

such as Michael's and Wal-Mart.

Likewise, there's a new twist in soda pop: Make your

own. Soda-Club USA is a machine ($99.99) that comes

with three flavor concentrate bottles (each makes 12

liters of soda pop). The machine makes carbonation

beginning with water mixed with your choice of 25

flavors that include diet cola (sweetened with

Splenda), root beer, and orange-mango.

The product, with limited retail distribution, is

mainly in boating and RV stores. "It's easy for

boaters and campers to use because [the soda pop

machine] doesn't have to be plugged in," says Jessica

Broomfield, spokesman for Cherry Hill, N.J.-based

Soda-Club USA. It is powered by the compressed air in

the Alco2Jet Carbonator.

The product was sold at the Ohio State Fair. "People

couldn't believe you can make your own soda," Ms.

Broomfield says. Estimates are that making a liter of

soda pop costs 42 cents or less. To order, call

1-800-SODA CLUB or visit

This fall, watch for McCormick Fall Food Colors (food

and egg dye), which are perfect for trick-or-treating

foods. Craft black cats, witches, and pumpkins with

burgundy, forest green, orange, and the No. 1

requested food color, black. These colors will be

available through November. Suggested price is $3.87.

Slow cookers were introduced in the early 1970s, but

now that they have had a resurgence in popularity,

Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners are available. Simply line

the slow cooker with the heat-resistant liner, prepare

your recipe as normal, and toss the liner when you're

done. The liners are designed to fit both round and

oval-shaped slow cookers between 3 and 6.5 quarts.

Each carton of liners includes a recipe booklet

featuring slow cooker recipes such as Chunky Beef

Vegetable Soup and Glazed Cinnamon Apples. The latter

is an ooey-gooey treat; in a lined slow cooker, you

don't have to worry about scrubbing the mess later. A carton of four liners is $2.49.

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