I've been waiting to post on these cupcakes until I got the pictures off the camera... but it looks like that's not going to happen. Lately connecting the camera to my laptop has been resulting in, at best, a hung program, and at worst, an evil-sounding noise and what looks like the Mac equivalent of the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. So, no pictures. Which is a shame, because some of the cupcakes were really quite cute.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008
We dyed the icing pink, green, purple, and yellow, and spread/piped it in various Easter-themed ways. There were flowers, there were dots, there were stripes, there was even a bunny (or rather a bunny's ears and the top of his head from the eyes up). We put them on platters and took them out to be photographed in the sunshine and on the grass. But the photos, evidently, were not to be.
Anyway, we worked with the Magnolia Bakery cupcake recipe, which I've previously blogged here. This time around they weren't as good as I remembered them being. They tasted great, but I remembered them being softer and lighter than these were. What could have gone wrong? For one thing, I might have overbeaten the batter. For another, there might have been too much protein in the flour in the first place. Next time I'll probably use cake flour instead of all-purpose, and I'll probably substitute buttermilk for the milk. Meanwhile, it's still a darn good cupcake recipe.
At some point, hopefully in the near future, I'm going to try out (and will blog about) a Cook's Illustrated recipe that claims to reproduce the moist, light, tender crumb that one gets from a boxed cake mix--but from scratch, and without all the awful other stuff they put in those mixes. Specifically, it's a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I'm eager to make it, but I'll have to wait at least a few weeks.
At one point in comments Bee asked about silicone baking cups. I neglected to answer in my reply comment, so I'll address the question here. I quite like them: they're more cleanup-friendly than big one-dozen muffin trays, and they make it wonderfully easy to make only a few muffins (or cupcakes) at a time. This is especially useful when there's only one muffin eater in the house, and making a whole batch of a dozen muffins is just not wise.
I've also found a few other uses for them since then. For one, they make a great mold for homemade peanut butter cups: just dip the bottom of the cup in melted chocolate and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When the chocolate cools and hardens, just slide the cup out and you have a little chocolate shell ready for filling!
Another chocolate-related use: in the past, I would often throw away extra melted chocolate that I had left over from some baking project or another, as there wasn't really a good way to get it all together and save it. I felt terrible about that, because it's good chocolate and could be used for something else (not to mention the sting of throwing away expensive chocolate when one's on a tight budget). These days I spoon it into one of the silicone cups, let harden, and then pop out and put in a plastic bag for storage. As they say in the Guinness commercials, brilliant!!