Why do we feel the need to classify things? Sometimes I feel like classifying things is simply an excuse to limit ourselves in these pigeonholes of expectations. Why can’t we move beyond our category and become an amalgamation of randomness? Randomness is often so much more entertaining than rigidity (oddly enough that is one of my biggest issues with the restricted syllabus style of ballroom dancing). I mean, why does my blog have to be only a travel log, book review site, autobiography, baking adventures, or cultural commentary? Exactly. I think it can be all of the above and more, and in honor of this realization, I baked you all cupcakes!
Okay so I more of baked cupcakes because once again the baking bug bit and I figured that I was already in the throes of insomnia so I might as well be productive. Doing my research probably would have been a better use of my time, but definitely not as fun. And as a queen of rationalization, I’ll use the excuse that baking was productive; by trying out yet another new recipe, I could check it off of my miles long list and bring a smile to my dance partner’s face when he receives his next cupcake delivery.
I am really looking forward to going home in a few weeks, if only because I really miss using a stand mixer instead of trying to cream things together by hand. Beating butter that isn’t at room temperature yet with a fork, trying to make it smooth and fluffy, just doesn’t give as uniform a product. I’d say that I’ll have to retry all these recipes once I get home and have a better stocked kitchen, but we all know that by then I’ll be so distracted by another new recipe that the only way these will be retried is if they are requested.
Granted, if anyone back home could taste these, they would be requested again and again and again, they are that good. And what interesting flavor of cupcakes did I whip up at 11 pm last night, you ask? Can they really rival my peanut butter chocolate coma cupcakes that I made for Dan’s Super Bowl party ages ago?
1. Snickerdoodle Cupcakes!!!!!! Like the cinnamon-sugar-awesomely named cookie that I realize now I have never made before. But now I have made them in cupcake form, so maybe that counts as well.
2. Unfortunately no. But that is not because these aren’t delicious (with yet another deadly good batter and perfect cinnamon-sugar cream cheese frosting), it’s because NOTHING is better than my PBCC cupcakes. I doubt I will ever be able to make a cupcake to rival those, especially since I’m probably going to leave Red Velvet cupcakes to the experts. Dan’s story of a baking failure kind of scared me out of attempting authentic Red Velvet, especially without a modern kitchen.
I can’t wait for Dan to try these tonight and tell me his thoughts. Only then can I really learn if my cupcakes are ever as good as I think they are, or if I’m just kidding myself haha. Here’s the recipe in case anyone wants to try these at home! (I’ve been getting a few requests from people for the recipes I’ve been trying, so posting them here is easiest.)
Yield: 28 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 20 min
I halved the recipe because I ran out of cupcake liners! Time for a Tesco run?
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used all cake flour, no all-purpose)
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk (used skim milk…this is what happens when you don’t intend to bake but get the urge and have to modify based on what is in your almost empty refrigerator).
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted (or at least to desired consistency. I hate overly sweet frostings so I only used enough to make the frosting creamy)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 28 muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with additions of milk, beating until combined after each addition.
4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
5. Prepare frosting: In a medium bowl, use electric mixer to blend cream cheese and butter. Add sugars, vanilla and ground cinnamon. Spread onto cooled cupcakes, or scoop into piping bag and pipe on the frosting decoratively. Place sugar-cinnamon mixture in a fine sieve and tap it lightly over the cupcakes to give them a light sprinkle.
*The cake part of the cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months in an airtight container.
Enjoy! And I’ll post Dan’s comments at the end of this post once he gives me the official review 😉