Inspired by the Julie and Julia blog/movie, I have started this blog to go through Martha Stewart's cupcake book that was recently given to me from a friend. My goal is to work my way through the book creating all of the different recipes! Although her book has 175 different cupcakes, I might group similar ones together just for time's sake. I will be sure to be as descriptive as possible of the whole process and how everything turns out.
Due to my lack of constant funds, I have tried to reduce my baking to a need-only basis. So if there is a party, birthday, holiday, some sort of need for sweets. then I will bake them!
So my boyfriends friend was coming to visit all the way from China. Since China seems like a good enough reason I offered to bake him something. “Yes please do, he loves to eat!” My boyfriend says. “But you have to find the most bizarre recipe you can in that book. He loves to try new and strange things.” Ok…So I flipped through and came across the rhubarb recipe. “I have kind of been wanting to try these but I am kinda nervous.” “THEY’RE PERFECT!”
So I went to the farmer’s market near my apartment that always has really great, fresh, yet cheap produce (since the stuff I saw at the store did not look too great). All I knew about rhubarb was that it was red celery and it was sometimes put in pie but I had never baked with it before.
The batter was a light simple recipe and you added small chopped pieces of the rhubarb in it. Then it had a whipped cream topping (that I did right this time!) and a rhubarb glaze on top. When I was making the glaze my boyfriend and his friend were there. We were just chatting and they were catching up while I worked on it, but I was so nervous! The whole time I was thinking, “Oh man…what if this isn’t right? What if this liquid doesn’t turn into syrup?! What he hates rhubarb?!?!” But I eventually calmed myself down and served him the first one.
He liked them a lot! He had to have a second one!
So my old roommate one day comes up to me and says, “So my friend at work is having a baby shower this week and I was wondering if you wanted to make cupcakes for her??? It’s monkey themed so maybe….Bananas???”
So I took the challenge on and made these baked banana cupcakes from Martha’s book.
Baking the bananas was sort of odd. you left the peels on…they looked like this when they were done.
They were squishy inside and the peels just came right off!
I made these ones mini cupcakes and they turned out quite good! The ladies at her work said they, “tasted just like banana pancakes but with frosting and in cupcake form!”
So, don’t tell Martha….but I made cupcakes that were not from her book! One of my friends got this recipe for a nutter butter cupcake that sounded so wonderful that we had to try it out! It was very simple too so for people that are nervous to make things from scratch this one still uses a box mix but then adds things to it and puts it together in such a unique and wonderful way!
I believe we used a dark chocolate cake mix (Renee when you read this you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, its been a while since we made this) and I can’t remember if we added peanut butter to the batter but I’m sure that wouldn’t hurt it! We also added crunched up nutter butter cookies to the batter! Before we poured them into the pan, we place half a nutter butter cookie at the bottom of each!
Then my favorite part was the frosting! we had two kinds; a rich chocolate one, and a peanut butter one - which is just peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar. After we baked the cupcakes and let them cool some, we put the two frostings in separate plastic bags, and snipped one corner of each. My friend showed me how to do this first; the peanut butter frosting was so rich and thick that you could pipe it out onto the cupcake and sort of swirl it around leaving a well in the middle. Then you took the chocolate frosting and filled the well with it. So it looked like this…
Then you took half a nutter butter cookie and stuck it in the chocolate part of the frosting so it stuck straight up on the top of the cupcake. It was so very delicious! If anyone is a peanut butter fan feel free to ask me for the recipe!
Sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted but not to worry! I have definitely been baking plenty in that time so get ready for a massive amount of blogs coming very soon!
Back in July I made the Blueberry and cream cupcakes that were one of the first recipes that I feel like I flopped. I am such a big fan of blueberries but these were kinda off. They seemed too soggy to me because the blueberries burst inside the cupcakes and they were so juicy that it kinda soaked the bottom and that bothered me.
I took this picture of them in the early morning so it came out kind of dark…
The frosting to go with this cupcake was actually whipped cream. I thought that would taste very lovely together! But I had some issues with the cream and it wouldn’t hold up to make it for the time when people were actually going to be eating cupcakes at my work. So, out of panic and frustration, I ran to the store before work and bought a couple cans of whipped cream…
Everyone at work said they tasted good but I knew they were definitely not in my top 5 or anything. I guess since I only have 4 blogs on here it has to be in my top 4! But just a sneak preview, there are much better ones coming up!
Ok, sorry that it has been so long since I posted anything on here. My laptop is getting old and heats up and then shuts itself off so that has made things complicated. I have written this post probably about three times now so I am finally being smart and writing it on word first so in case my laptop shuts off again, it will hold on to this document.
So not this last Wednesday but two Wednesdays ago, I had some friends from out of town visiting. I thought what a better time than this to bake cupcakes! We made the buttermilk cupcakes with Fluffy white frosting. It turned out very well! My friend Jenny had decided to be my assistant. She was a great help! I usually wait to preheat the oven because all of the steps take a while and the kitchen just gets really hot too soon. But this time I almost didn’t turn it on soon enough! We got through all the steps pretty quickly! My friend was doing the dry mix and I was doing the wet, we mixed them together and we’re ready to bake!
She also introduced me to something really great. Powdered buttermilk! The last time I baked with buttermilk it was such a hassle and they only had one size so I had to buy it and the rest spoiled before I could use it again. This stuff is great because It doesn’t smell and I a pretty sure it doesn’t expire, at least not as fast as actual buttermilk. You just follow the directions for how much you need and then add a certain amount of water and there you have it!
The fluffy white frosting was very simple…but very fattening! All you put into it is butter (lots of butter), powdered sugar, and a tiny bit of vanilla. It turned out great and delicious! The only thing that bothered me a bit was the sprinkles. In Martha’s picture she has cute little sprinkles on top of her cupcakes. Perhaps we let them sit too long before doing this, but when we tried to put sprinkles on ours, the frosting had sort of hardened and they all rolled right off the top! Who needs sprinkles anyways?
We made mini-sized cupcakes too! Thanks to my friend pictured above who bought me a mini cupcake pan!
I considered skipping this one initially since I don’t like carrot cake, but after the protest of some friends I decided to go along and do it for them and for Martha. I have only tried carrot cake a few times, and it usually has long stringy pieces of carrots that don’t taste cooked enough. This is most likely what has turned me off about carrot cake. So, in an attempt to make them more likeable for myself I chopped them very very fine.
A few things that turned me off about this recipe was obviously the presence of vegetables among sweet baked goods, but also the massive amounts of oil it called for. Thinking about it now, I suppose if it called for the same amount but in butter I might not be as grossed out. Once I poured the oil into the carrot mixture, this was before any dry ingredients mind you, It just wasn’t an appetizing sight…Moving on so as not to gross anyone out…
The mixture was a bit thinner than I had anticipated. I put the first batch in the oven and when I pulled them out, they seemed done but over time they quickly deflated on the top a bit. Just enough to leave a little gooey dip on the middle. I freaked out a little when I saw it so my friend and I cut one in half to check but the bottom and center were cooked all the way through. The second batch turned out great, no gooey dips!
The frosting was very simple to make and tasted wonderful!!! Who knew cream cheese frosting could be so easy to make? I guess I’m just still new at this whole homemade frosting thing. I love the touch of vanilla the recipe calls for because it is such a great addition to the cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar flavors!
Overall, my friends said that the cupcakes tasted light and less spiced; not heavy and thick like most carrot cakes are. I did work up the courage to try one, and thankfully no undercooked carrots! The spices and the carrots worked really well with each other, it was a very nice balance!
Yesterday I attempted the first cupcake in Martha’s book, the chocolate chip. Seems easy enough, I thought. Several things were brought to my attention throughout the process of making these cupcakes:
It has been a very long time since I have baked a cake/cupcake from scratch. I realized that I had turned into the insta-baker, where all you need is a couple eggs, water, oil, and a box. I quickly humbled myself, stopped complaining about how complicated it was, and began to appreciate making something original. There were no pre-processed boxes, no simple three step directions. There was me, Martha’s book, and all the raw isolated ingredients. I felt much more natural this way and quickly enjoyed the challenge of making something delicious out of the cluster of items on my countertop.
I learned something LIFE CHANGING from Martha in the process of baking. When putting chocolate chips in a cake/cupcake, if you toss them in a bit of flour before adding them to the batter, they will not all sink to the bottom of the pan! This concept was completely new to me! I usually avoided chocolate chips in similar baking projects for this exact reason! I could never keep them spread around the batter well enough. After reading this piece of advice, I stood silently for a moment, not moving, with my jaw slightly dropped. After excitedly telling my boyfriend this marvelous information, he shrugged and said, “Oh yeah, I knew that.”
Initially I was concerned about making frosting from scratch. It was actually very simple. In the book, it called for some fancy-shmancy dutch cocoa, but I couldn’t find it at the store so I just bought Hershey’s instead. I didn’t know it was so simple to make frosting. I made chocolate frosting as was recommended to pair with these cupcakes and it turned out quite nice! The only thing that surprised me was that it didn’t stiffen the way frosting does that you buy at the store. It kept a very nice gloss to it the whole night and even on to today. Also, either I did not frost my cupcakes heavily enough or the recipes just don’t match each other’s size, but I had a lot of frosting leftover.
So, overall the cupcakes turned out really good! I am surprised at how the quality of the cake is so much better than any box mix you could ever buy! It is so light and perfectly sweet! Now to critique myself a bit, I would say that I might have goofed a bit on my measurements and mine were a tad bit too floury, but I’m sure I will get better at it with time. I do have 174 times to try again!