Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't Sugarcoat It

When M was sick, last week, I managed to make these vanilla cupcakes. They brightened up her day - and they were super simple.

I think I've mentioned that I'm not much of a cake person. I can't really justify the work (and the calories) for something inclined to go stale so quickly. I mean, you can't eat 6 pieces in 2 days and look yourself in the eye. And by the time you get around to the second half of the wedge, it's really past its prime.

Having never made cupcakes, I decided to go to the source of "recipe basics": The Joy of Cooking. I use this book to understand ratios; then I go to more sexy sources for the embellishments (or make them up, in truth).

It's an interesting exercise in measurement - very easy to remember:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups premixed cake flour
3 egg yolks
vanilla extract to taste

You mix the wet ingredients (save milk), then intersperse addition of flour with milk to create the batter. Cook at 350 - or was it 375 for 20 minutes (it was 2 minutes too long in my oven). And voila. 45 minutes from start to finish.

I didn't ice them. I don't understand frosting. It just fucks with your blood sugar and makes you crave, with desperation, 15 more cupcakes.

I will totally work with this recipe again. Tweaked, but not too much.


  1. Those look so good! You're right about frosting - it's the thing that always makes me want more, and easily masks a sub-par batter recipe. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Yummy! They look wonderful. I'm an icing kinda girl though. I've been known to eat a spoonful of just frosting. Gross, yes...probably why I'm so fat!

  3. Cupcakes without icing don't make a TON of sense to me ... but I trust your cooking instincts. ;)

  4. Monkey: Good for snowstorms!

    Orchids: I made these again with some modifications using a recipe from joepastry.com (the yellow cake recipe). I'm not sure which is better - though I think it's the joepastry one. Check that out too. It's got more egg and butter.

    Heather: I know people who are nuts for the frosting! I tend to swap cake for icing at parties with them :-)

    Sal: Then you stay tuned for the next post on this topic :-)

  5. You have to put them in a tin and they keep longer esp lined with baking parchment!

  6. you're smart... i'm a freak for frosting. i usually don't even eat the entire cupcake... just the top part with the sugary sweet yummy caloric frosting. i'm a bad girl. although, after seeing Oprah's show on diabetes recently i am changing how i feel about sugar!

  7. I have a few more lbs to lose and went back to counting calories.. because honestly, working out everyday worked but I was losing so SLOWLY..

    Calories are calories though.. but you know what, when I'm at goal, I will have two of these, the recipe sounds DELISH, and I usually only eat the tops.. I'm so bad.

  8. I would've assumed they were muffins if I only looked at the pic. Cupcakes NEED frosting.

  9. I swear: there's some kind of biological synchronicity that happens among/between bloggers. You know that I made unfrosted Magnolia (large) cakes yesterday. I, however, LOVE frosting, as long as it's not too sweet; Magnolia's recipe is over the top for sweetness--ick.

    And the cake recipe looked like yours, but with twice(!) the sugar and an additional egg. I must get a copy of Joy.

  10. I'm feeling kind of poorly. Please come over and bake stuff for me. BRING FROSTING.

  11. Kate: Excellent suggestion. Will do that next time.

    Stacy: I didn't see that show but I have read Good Calories, Bad Calories and it changed my view on sugar forever. Not that I don't still love it!

    April: Secretly, I only like the tops!!

    Raven: Don't worry, I think you will enjoy my next cupcake post.

    Miss C: That totally shocked me when I saw your post. Hilarious. This recipe is good. The tweak I did for my next cupcake experiment (post coming up) had a bit more sugar and an extra egg - but it was a bigger recipe over all. It also had a bit more fat. I can't decide which one I prefer. Guess I have to try them both again :-)

    Wendy: I'll bring vitamin frosting :-)