Friday, April 18, 2008

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes ... and Frosting(s)

Does anyone else feel as though they are so absolutely critical of their stuff...whether it be the taste of the finished product or the look of the final baked good...or the way you decorated the cupcake, or the photographs that you take..that you feel as though you are way too OVERcritical???

I love photography and I love food. I love to marry the two. So I love the idea of blogging and baking.

But I swear I am always looking at everyone else's blog photos and I feel like their finished cupcakes or cakes or photography just looks flat out so much better than mine!!! I can't count how many days I save a cupcake image with a note saying 'cute frosting idea' and then try to imagine how they got that swirl 'just so'. Then I think hey that looks kind of like the XYZ one I made...but SO much better than mine.

Though...that said, tonite I remade the peanut butter filled cupcakes from the previous weekend after we returned from a mini-vacation in Palm Springs (where sadly there were no cupcakes to be found though I did have a fabulous uber-large banana muffin)...and I made them with more vanilla and more buttermilk because I'm still trying to get that Kara's vanilla buttermilk thing down....and they came out FRIGGIN' FANTASTIC. I don't even remember the Kara's taste anymore because mine are so much better. Hah!

So maybe I'm not too overcritical after all. Just still learning.

You want to know about the cupcakes right? Enough of the pondering of my cupcake life.

Well I halved the original recipe posted below... actually a little more than halved it to get this one.

Vanilla Buttermilk Fabulousness Cupcake

Makes 18 miniature cupcakes.

2/3c all purpose flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
1/32 tsp baking soda (who knows what this is really like but i think i used something like this)
dash of salt
1/2c sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1 egg & 1 egg white, room temp
vanilla, i'd estimate about 2 tablespoons
2/3c buttermilk, room temp

Preheat oven to 350 and put your minature cups into a miniature muffin pan on top of a baking sheet. If you use nut and party cups, put a silpat liner down on the cookie sheet first then put the nut and party cups on top. I find this helps keep the bottoms of my n/p cups from browning.

The recipe is simple. Cream the butter and sugar til insanely fluffy. Scrape bowl. Add one egg, beat til incorporated, scraping bowl down. Add egg white, beat til incorporated, scrape bowl. Add vanilla, whip til fluffy, remove bowl from mixer. Pre-sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt together. Hand fold in 1/3 of the dry mixture, then alternate with buttermilk, hand folding each time. Keep alternating, ending with dry. Dollop into miniature cups and bake at 350 for about 11-12 minutes.

I have found that vanilla seems to 'bake out' of many that even when I feel like I am adding a lot, it never comes out quite as strong as I wish it too. So this time I was really liberal with the vanilla sloshing.

The cake came out super light and airy...which is what I have been trying to achieve AND it tasted strongly of vanilla and some buttermilk. I love love love it. It's got that fabulous cupcake texture where when you layer some frosting on top and then bite into it, the cake almost sinks down a little with the weight of the frosting but doesn't fold in on itself. Perfection.

Since this is the night of random comments...and questions...Does anyone know why scraping the bowl is so essential? I read it in a book and now I make sure I do it all the time but supposedly it's essential for some of these more 'simple' recipes?

Same with 'ending with dry' for hand folding. What does that do? Because sometimes I secretly end with wet and stuff still comes out fine.

I forgot to mention up above that I put mini peanut butter cups in about 10 of the 18 because after the success of the ones last week, I wanted more!!

I also had some Strawberry Cream Cheese that I'd made up for cupcakes last week, and I read online that Cream Cheese frosting keeps in the fridge for up to 10 days in a super-sealed container. Well mine was super-sealed, hurrah. I tasted it and it was yummy. So I figured I'd use it. Mixed in some fresh strawberry jam and a bit of conf sugar and we were good to go.

Then for the Peanut Butter cup filled ones, I wanted to do something different yet easy. Quite frankly I just didn't want to clean the KA mixer bowl again and have to mix frosting at 9pm at night. So I got creative. I microwaved some of the mini PB cups and added some heavy cream. It was lovely, but too warm...I didn't realize this when I added confectioners sugar and the whole thing glopped into a blob. So I added some butter and some additional peanut butter. It was now a shiny glopped blob. But it tasted good. So I got even more creative. I layered it onto the cooled and filled PB vanilla cupcakes and smoothed out the layer to the top of the nut n'party cup.

Then I took the rest of the leftover strawberry cream cheese and piped it on top and put a mini PB cup. The result is a vanilla cupcake with mini PB cups baked inside, a thin 1/4" layer of a PB choco mixture, and then strawberry cream cheese on top. Decadent? Heck yeah...I tried one and had to drink 8 oz of water immediately. But good? YES. and YES.

See filled bite-taken-outta-it super pb chocolate strawberry cuppie up above.


CB said...

I am highly critical of my own food/photos compared to other amazing blogs out there but I just keep telling myself that I will get better as my experience grows and continue to draw inspiration from my favorite blogs. Honestly I am drooling over these cupcakes so obviously you aren't doing too bad right? ;)

Janna said...

I think anyone who likes to make things with their hands is overly critical of their work. That's normal. You are doing a great job. Now, I haven't tasted a cake of yours yet, but I have had your seared tuna and it was YUMTASTIC. :)

How did you like the strawberry on the peanut butter cup filled cake? Was it like eating a pb-j?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I think scraping the bowl is just to make sure everything gets mixed right. Ya know how sometimes butter gets stuck to the side of the bowl? It makes a huge mess if you have a chunk of butter in one of the cupcakes =/ I found that out the hard way, and now I scrape my bowl like a lunatic! Lol

As far as ending with the dry, I always do it even if a recipe doesn't say to. I think it has something to do with soaking up extra liquid. But I've also been bad and ended with the wet ingredients and everything was still fine. So I don't have a good answer! Hahaha :)