Monday, July 11, 2005

The Ugliest Cupcake Ever Born

Another rainy and ugly day here. I was in one of those rainy and ugly moods until I got home and....... a package!! It was a cookbook I had ordered a while back, More from Magnolia. I was thrilled and made a special trip to the grocery to buy buttermilk (yes, this southern girl was out), confectioner's sugar and cupcake liners. I decided, after going through the cookbook twice, on Magnolia's Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting and of course, sprinkles. I was so delighted that it called for buttermilk and could just taste the loveliness that was about to happen in my JennAir at 350 degrees. I got busy right away and the cupcake batter went well... it was lovely and velvety and smooth. I knew this was going to be a success. I put the cupcakes in the oven and got started on the Buttercream Frosting.

I recently made another buttercream in chocolate and found it sickingly sweet from the 2, yes TWO pounds of confectioner's sugar the recipe called for. I couldn't handle much of it. I was glad to see that this one called for 6 to 8 cups. I know that is still alot of confectioner's sugar but holy moly, it is better than 2 pounds. Halfway through the frosting, Kathryn, our 16 month old toddled in and demanded a taste test.....
I couldn't get the spatula back from her! Now it is 11pm and she is STILL on a sugar high...

Once I did, I tested myself and still found it to be just too sweet. I know, I know.... IT'S FROSTING... It's supposed to be sweet. But I am looking for something with, I don't know a different taste. So I decided to add a splash of buttermilk thinking that it might cut the sweetness..... it did and tasted fabulous. But, as I have since learned, the frosting is too thin.The buttermilk was too much. I just "piped" some onto the cupcakes and it slid right off... needs more sugar... just the thing I am trying to get away from! Maybe I need a whole new frosting recipe!?

Here is the recipe:

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes (depending on the size of your cupcake papers and muffin tins)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted (see Note)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Note: To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for approximately 5–10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm 5–10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. At the bakery we ice the cupcakes with either Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Note: If you would like to make a layer cake instead of cupcakes, divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake the layers for 30–40 minutes.

I will try again in a couple of days.Tomorrow I am sending my old mixer off to Krista in California and my new KA McDaddy Mixer comes in on Wednesday. I am so excited about it.... I might just sleep with it under my pillow.

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