I have long wanted to participate in one of the IMBB (Is My Blog Burning) events. For those of you unfamiliar with IMBB, it is a monthly food blog event wherein a theme is selected, and anyone who wants to participate either makes or buys or steals an edible item following this theme and blogs about it (or doesn’t. You don’t have to have a blog to play). This edition is sponsored by Maki, who has a delicious food blog.
So anyway, this time the theme is CUPCAKES, so I KNEW I wanted to join in on the fun. I have been planning to make red velvet cupcakes for a long time, so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity, but then I was foiled (or rather, I was my own foil). I forgot to buy buttermilk and cream cheese at the store, and then I kind of ran out of time. Rather than bag the whole thing, though, I decided that darnit, I am going to make some cupcakes!
I whipped out the latest issue of Cook’s Country magazine and made the basic birthday cupcake recipe. I sorta kinda made their chocolate frosting, too. They are not the end-all and be-all of cupcakes, but I’m not pushing them away, either!
*Anecdote: I was, ahem, sampling one of the cupcakes (and yes, I was eating it over the kitchen sink) when the doorbell rang. I could see the mailman’s legs, and he kept standing there instead of dropping the mail and leaving, so I shoved the rest of the cupcake into my mouth and ran to the door. My mouth was so full of cupcake that I couldn’t even speak. Finally I was able to croak out, “Do you want a cupcake?” (and no, I don’t think I spit any chunks of cupcake onto his uniform). He did, so Dave the mailman got to sample one, too!
Read on for the recipe …
EASY BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES from Cook’s Country April/May 2005
Makes 24 cupcakes (recipe can be halved)
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs at room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool a bit
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Heat oven to 325F. Line your cupcake tins with liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt until combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the vanilla until well combined. Add the sugar slowly in a steady stream, whisking all the while (this is when a Kitchen Aid really comes in handy). Repeat this process with the melted butter, followed by the buttermilk.
Add a third of the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk gently to combine. Repeat twice with the remaining dry ingredients. Stir the batter gently with the whisk until most of the lumps disappear. Be careful not to overmix!
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake about 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes then turn the cupcakes out onto the cooling rack. Cool for about an hour before frosting.
*Note: I didn’t have buttermilk, but I did have a container of that dry buttermilk powder. It seemed to work okay. The cupcakes came out a little spongy but still light.
QUICK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
(I halved this recipe and still had a bit left over. Remember, though, that I made a half batch of the cupcakes)
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl and allow to cool a bit. Meanwhile, beat the butter in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Beat about 30 seconds or until the butter is fluffy. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the sugar a cup at a time until combined. Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined. Turn the mixer up to high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about a minute. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the milk, vanilla, and salt. Combine. Crank the mixer up to high again and beat until fluffy, about 30 more seconds.