Hello intrepid cupcake lovers!
I’m back with the latest in my journey to research all things cupcake! But first, Book Update!
As you may or may not know (but surely care….and care deeply) this blog is a result of all the hands on research I’ve been doing for my new Cakes by the Cup series, a trilogy of romantic comedies that will start appearing on the shelves the end of this year.
Book 1, SUGAR RUSH, is already in the hands of my publisher, in pre-production, and now, after a short break to finish up the Hot Scots trilogy with a novella that will appear in this fall’s UNWRAPPED Christmas anthology (yes, Shay’s story for all who have been asking!)…I am officially BACK in the kitchen, baking away!
I’ve started work on Book 2, SWEET STUFF, and we all know what that means. Cupcakes, cupcakes, and well…more cupcakes!
This week’s adventure comes from a bit earlier on in my research trials and tribulations. I’m titling it… “the one where I really wish I’d kept my grandma’s pastry blender” but could have also been called “the one where I should have read ALL of the instructions first.” Or, you know…both.
The good news is, despite any initial issues I had in perfecting this recipe (okay, okay, in just following the instructions which required no perfecting, just madd reading skillz and patience, one of which I lack. Sorely.) this cupcake has gone on to become a fast family and friends favorite and is one of the two I’ve made most often since.
Today, my friends, behold the Streusel Cupcake. Yes, the perfect combination of coffee cake and cake in a cup, full of rich, buttery, brown sugary crumbly topping goodness, all in a little paper cup. Or two. Or….okay, three. But three was my limit! (For breakfast.)
For this recipe, we dive back into my now favorite cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.
You’ll recall, not a huge Martha Fan here, but the woman knows her cupcakes. And what did I learn the last and first time I cooked a Martha Recipe? Right: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST. Did this lesson stick with me? Apparently not. I mean, it’s coffee cake in a cup. How complicated can that be?
Not very. If you, you know, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST.
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon coarse (Kosher) salt
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp (which equals 1 ¼ sticks. Because nothing is easy with la Martha)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs (she doesn’t say room temp, but you totally know she means it.)
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sour cream
So…those are the ingredients. At the end of that list, she just adds:
Streusel Topping (recipe follows)
Milk Glaze (recipe follows)
So….naturally, I think it’s safe to just go ahead and make the cupcake batter, THEN skip on down to the streusel instructions. WRONG, young padewan.
But, that’s what I do. The first time I made this, anyway. And, you’d think, given that I screwed up the READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST when dealing with Martha Rule the first time I used this cookbook, I’d be all over that. Sadly, no.
And, the Instructions for the cupcake batter are:
1. Preheat Oven to 350. Line muffin tins with 24 paper cups
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (I am a big fan of whisking. It’s much easier on the forearm than squeezing that sifter lever a million times. Not to mention positioning said sifter exactly over the mixing bowl and somehow still managing to get powder everywhere BUT in the bowl. Whisking? That I can manage.)
3. With electric mixer on medium-high, cream butter, sugar until pale and fluffy. (And, what did we learn? 2-3 minutes min, 4 min max. Set a timer.)
4. Add eggs, one at a time, until they are each assimilated, like the Borg. Scrape sides of the bowl as you wish. Make it so.
5. Stir in vanilla by hand. (Apparently it’s too gentle a flavor to withstand the electric beaters. I don’t know. But I can do this.)
6. Add flour mixture and sour cream. Stir until just combined. Again, use non-electric man power.
7. Do the math and divide this big honkin’ bowl o’ batter evenly into 24 cups. Good luck with that.
Now….now she tells you, blithely, to just “sprinkle half the topping over the cupcakes, gently pressing it into the batter, then sprinkle evenly with the rest of the topping. Meaning, I guess, that you’ve already MADE the topping. Except she SAID the recipe was to follow. And it does follow…it follows the above instructions. As in, printed below them. Not in the regular ingredient column. Which I took to mean, “Make after.”
Yeah. I would have been wrong. Why? Well, apparently, all this time you were making the batter? The streusel topping was supposed to be already made and being chilled in the refrigerator! I know!
So, now I have 24 cups full of marginally evenly divided batter (oh, who am I kidding? It’s not even close to even.) and I haven’t made the streusel, much less chilled it in the fridge!
I figure what the heck, just make it, sprinkle and press it, and be done with it. Which, I do.
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon coarse (Kosher) salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt. (Brown sugar doesn’t immediately whisk all that well, but keep at it. Or break it up with a fork first.)
2. Cut in the butter and use a pastry blender, your fingertips, or two table knives, until combined but still crumbly.
Is she kidding me with that? Me, use two knives? Simultaneously? I don’t care if they’re dull butter knives. That’s crazy talk. I can hurt myself with a potato peeler. So, since I didn’t bring home my grandmothers pastry blender (why? Why?) I am forced to do the fingertip method. Yeah. That was fun.
THEN! Martha just happens to mention that you’re supposed to pop this bowl of crumbly perfection in the fridge. For THIRTY MINUTES.
What, and leave the unevenly distributed cake batter to just soak through my muffin cups? I think not. So I sprinkle and press and re-sprinkle, and while it will all work out okay, it’s a lot harder to sprinkle soft streusel. And when you press it, it just kind of gloms into the batter.
Did it make the cupcakes inedible or anything? Not at all. In fact, they were heavenly. It was more a clean up situation. A lot of the topping did melt all over the muffin pan and ooze down between the paper lining and the pan and made for not-so-fun clean up. So, when I made this recipe the second time, I READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST, and refrigerated the topping while making the cupcake batter and it did go much, much more smoothly, they looked better, and the clean up was a cinch.
So, now you’ve topped your batter, pressed, and sprinkled. Next?
1. Bake, rotating the tins halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. (By “tester” I assume she means “toothpick.) Approx 20 minutes. Mine cooked closer to 18.
2. Transfer tins to wire rack. Cool completely before removing cupcakes.
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar. Sifted. (I know, because god forbid I have clean counters)
3 tablespoons milk
Whisk together ingredients and drizzle over cupcakes. Use immediately.
And do you know what else you’ll do? Eat them immediately. These are yummy with a capital Y. One of my favorites.
I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do and they become family favorites in your house.
Now….the moment you’ve all been waiting for!! Yes, the Blog Cupcake Candy winner is announced! Alls ya had to do was comment on last week’s posted adventure to be in the running to win a free book from my Big Famous Author Website bookshelf. And the winner is?
Woo hooooo! Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and a few title suggestions from my website bookshelf (in case I’m out of your first choice) and I’ll get your prize in the mail to you.
Will there be Blog Cupcake Candy this week, you ask? Well, DUH. To enter, post a comment below. I’ll draw a name from the list and announce the winner next Wednesday when the next Adventure in Baking is posted. What does the winner get? Well, a copy of my favorite cupcake cookbook, of course. Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes!! Good Luck!!