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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cupcake Camp, fit the Fourth - Squaring the Circle, and Bonus Emergency Cupcakes

Vanillarama, or everybody needs a little contrast
So . . . this one started out as "What would be the best contrast to all this weird stuff I'm baking", and then went aft agley.
Plane Vanilla
This begins life as the classic Magnolia Bakery recipe:

  • 1 1/2 c. Self-Rising Flour
  • 1 1/4 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 lg. Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly spray down a "Perfect Brownie Pan" with Pam, and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper.  This will save you a world of misery later (can you tell I made several batches?).  Or, if you want boring ol' round cupcakes, set up two cupcake pans with cups

Combine the flours and set aside.  Mix the milk and vanilla and set aside.

Cream the butter until smooth in a large bowl.  Go with the electric mixer, unless you're feeling very Lou Ferrigno.  Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

Pour into the pan.  If you're making square cupcakes, reserve about 1 cup of batter and bake it separately (unless you're up for a fair wee mess).  I just threw it in a little cast iron pan for the kitchen elves.

Bake about 20-25 minutes for round or 30-35 minutes for square, until you get a clean toothpick test.

Let cool until cakes begin to separate from pan, then remove to a cooling rack.  If you want a nice crispy crust all the way 'round, lay out the depanned squares on a cookie sheet, and bake another 5 minutes.

Vanilla Fondant
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 c. Shortening
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 pounds Confectioners' Sugar
  • Seeds scraped from 1 Vanilla bean (for flavor and speckles!)
Stir the shortening and corn syrup together. Mix in the salt and  both vanillas, then gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar to form a stiff dough. 

You can knead with a dough hook or work out your frustrations by hand. 

If the dough is sticky, knead in more confectioners' sugar until it is smooth. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

To use it, roll out on a clean surface that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  A silpat is a big help  Drape over cakes and trim to fit.

Emergency Cupcakes!!!

So . . . we're relaxing a few evenings ago, and Christina asks me,"You made all those cupcakes for cupcake camp . . . where are my cupcakes?"

Could you deny this woman cupcakes?  Me neither.
It's tennish, the only butter I have on hand is frozen rock-hard, so an oil-based recipe is obviously in order.

A little Google, a few tweaks to make it interesting, et voila:

Emergency Cupcakes

  • 1/3 c. Olive Oil (always have a big jug handy)
  • 1/4 c. Greek Yogurt (had a nice homemade batch in the fridge
  • 2/3 c. Sugar
  • 3 lg. Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside

Mix olive oil, yogurt, and sugar. Blend until completely mixed and smooth. Add  eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and blend until well mixed.

Slowly add flour mixture and blend until smooth and creamy.

Fill the muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until tops are light brown or until and a knife inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. 

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack, or eat immediately, depending on  the severity of your particular cupcake emergency.

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