Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again.

The first time I encountered this quote was as a five year old. You'd think that learning this at a young age would have shaped my character in some way, but the fact is, I most unfortunately tend to give up really easily when the going gets rough. I did not want to be this way in my own kitchen. Where else, but in the comfort and privacy of my own home can I do as I please? There's no judgement, no embarrassment. This gave me the ballast to stick to it no matter what. Now I am being dramatic, because this post is about: Cupcakes.

Never in my life, without the aid of a high school home ec teacher, or my relatives, have I created a dessert from scratch. I happen to be really, really good at shaking powdered concoctions out of boxes, as aforementioned, so what is with all the fancy-pants Martha Stewarts of the world? So, I decided to try my hand at this baking from scratch business. The first time around, I don't know what happened (ok, I added too much watered down milk), but I ended up with a dozen, lifeless little lumps of chocolate non-cupcakes, that I then spread with a lumpy brown mixture that was supposed to be chocolate frosting. What. A. Mess. My steel-stomached husband braved a couple, and pronounced them, "kinda ok, but a bit flavourless". They were then shipped off to Microsoft to be consumed by his unassuming coworkers, -who devoured them in under 15 minutes, go figure. There are no photos of the the offending cupcakes, but I realize now that I should still document any of my failed dishes, as they were still the valiant attempts of a total rookie. I switched up the recipe and decided to make some vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting... and success! I even got courageous and added fun sprinkles.

From SCRATCH baby. And they were delicious, -moist, just dense enough, with that thick, grainy, yet smooth icing. Hey, I never said this was a gourmet blog, I'm still working up to it.

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

Buttercream Frosting:

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.  

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

For the Frosting: In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. Tint the frosting with desired food color. Eat!

1 comment:

  1. I miss our cupcake runs. Remember that one time we went to see sex in the city but first we ate like a dozen cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe? lol...good times.
    Mmmm make sure when I come visit you make a batch of each of your cupcakes :)