Sunday, February 21, 2010

Caitlin's Cupcake Sunday!

It's Cupcake Sunday here in a highly unusual 60 degree Nashville. 3 Days after my 21st birthday, I felt inspired to make a new batch of cupcakes. After extensive searching and inner reflection, I decided that I was going to try my hand at Snickerdoodle cupcakes. Now, to give credit where credit is due - I was inspired by Bakerella's Snickerdoodle Cookie/Cupcakes and Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. I actually followed Martha's recipe with a few minor alterations.

I went home to bake these delicious little guys. My mom has one of the best kitchen's around. "Never skimp on tools for your kitchen. Always pay up for the best quality - you won't regret it." Janet AKA Mother Pea. (This is probably not a direct quote - but it's good enough) So, my mother has provided me with an ideal workspace. #1 Item that I couldn't bake without:

A Kitchen Aid mixer is my favorite kitchen appliance. This guy can whip, blend, or do whatever else you want. It is the perfect baker's best friend. If you treat him (or her) well, it can do great things for you. I digress...

Like I said, I followed Martha's recipe.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream (Makes 24)
*Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe*
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

What I changed: I didn't have my cake flour at home, sadly. So, instead I took 1 tablespoon of flour out of every cup called for in the cake flour part - and substituted 1 tablespoon of powdered cornstarch. I did this at the recommendation of many fine bakers on the internet. It is crucial to use this substitution, because this type of cupcake calls for a fluffier cake. Just using All-Purpose flour will create a much denser cake. (All this I learned today). This worked like a charm, and I will certainly use that sub. again.

It should also be noted that I am an eyeballer when it comes to measurements. So for things like vanilla, cinnamon, and salt - I generally just gauge it. I also used an organic cinnamon instead of a regular one - because I find the taste fresher and cleaner.

I also combined some cinnamon and sugar and the sprinkled it on the individual cupcakes before I baked them. This created a nice crunchy crust on the top of the cupcake under the icing. It's like a surprise crunch!

Now Martha's recipe calls from her Seven-Minute Frosting - which uses egg whites. I personally don't like meringue-like icing, so I went ahead and used my icing recipe from the last post with (again) some minor changes. Instead of using vanilla bean paste, I used pure vanilla extract and about 2 tablespoons of my organic cinnamon. Mix it all together and top the cupcakes. I am also a fan of sprinkling something on top of the icing - like my organic cinnamon.

Cooking Story: During this baking session, right when I was about to put batch two of the cupcakes in the oven - the power went off in my whole neighborhood. Dread came over me as I realized I had cupcakes in the oven, no icing, and no refrigeration. What to do...what to do. So I go out on the porch and partake in the customary "YOUR POWER OUT? YEAH. MINE TOO." - this is what always happens in our neighborhood. So, I come back inside and read my new Kindle for a bit. All the while, becoming more anxious at the thought of not being able to finish these little guys before I head back to school. But, the electricity gods where with me, and poof! Suddenly I had power again. My fears were quelled and as was well.

Back to present day - I am going to have these in the dorm if anybody wants one. Come on by - you are always welcome! Enjoy this wonderful weather and great natural light, Nashvillians. I fear it will not stay long. So, grab a cupcake and head outside.

Grace and Peace,

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