Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back to Baking: Cupcakes

The last time I made cupcakes, I opened a box. Now, I turn to Silvana Nardone's Cooking for Isaiah and scoop out some of my flour mixture. Oh. My. GOD!

Her "chocolate birthday cake" recipe is AMAZING! I made it without instant espresso powder because I hate all things coffee-flavored. Still amazing! Cakes are hard to share, so I took out my cupcake tins and lined them with my dwindling supply of cupcake papers and got to work. Last time I made a cake, I had lumps in the batter, which contrary to my wishful thinking, did not disappear in the baking process. I encouraged my poor taste test subject to "eat around the lumps" and I did the same. This time, I whisked together the dry ingredients THEN I took out my handy five-cup flour sifter and sifted out every blessed lump. I had perfectly smooth batter that lead to the greatest cupcakes ever! Silvana's recipe is for making a cake and I am trying to hold myself to following recipes to the letter for my first attempt, but I cross-referenced with a box of cupcakes and changed my baking time to 19 minutes and had a delicious, moist chocolate dessert. I'm pretty sure this is one of the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever had and I know my cupcakes!

I did not feel like making frosting as well, since I was baking after work and my time was precious (translation: I had too many dishes to do already), so I decided to sift some powdered sugar onto the cupcakes. The result? Picture-perfect cupcakes that had the powdered sugar disappear an hour later. Note to self: do not add powdered sugar to a warm baked good.

And then the ultimate test came the next morning: bringing the cupcakes to work. I only brought 10 cupcakes into the office (enough for half of the people since I figured people might be scared to try gluten and lactose free cupcakes; many people were weirded out by the soy ice cream bars one girl brought in for my birthday the year prior) so did not bother with the office-wide e-mailed invitation to try my baked goods. I set them on the empty desk next to me and let people grab them if they liked. Everyone who tried one said they were delicious and really good. I asked one guy what he thought and if he could honestly tell me if they tasted like real cupcakes to him. He said he had no idea that they were special cupcakes and asked if he could have another. Three different people all went back for seconds! Now if that doesn't boost my baking confidence, I don't know what will!

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