a cupcake almost-fiasco

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I feel like I should shove these photos in someone’s face threateningly.  “Those cupcakes sure look nice, don’t they?  You better appreciate those cupcakes.  You almost didn’t get those cupcakes at all!”  (Side note: I wonder if anything threatening has ever actually been done with cupcakes?)

The confusing part is that these were actually fantastic until the frosting came into play.  “What?” you say.  I know.  The frosting is the best part, especially this cream cheese frosting I whipped up (previously seen on this red velvet cake and probably some other things I haven’t told you about), which was declared “the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted” by my good friend Courtney and of which there is a massive tub in my fridge that I am trying desperately not to devour with a spoon, perhaps a ladle.  Oh, bikini season.

 

Overconfidence was my downfall.  Sure, I can make Hello Kitty cupcakes for your five-year-old’s birthday party.  No, I don’t need fondant.  Thirty smiling cream cheese feline visages on thirty chocolate and vanilla cupcakes coming up.  Made sturdily from frosting and optimism.

I’ll leave it at this: My thirty chocolate and vanilla cupcakes decorated cheerily with flowers and little polka-dot borders looked lovely.

 

Despite my decorating failures, however, these cupcakes were still great.  With a soft but defined crumb and perfect little domed tops, I somehow managed to pick two winning recipes.  I suggest you make at least one of these…but please, no Hello Kitty.

not too bad, when all was said and done.

 

Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Deb

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter, slightly softened

1 1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

½ cup sour cream

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour

1/6 cup cornstarch

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add sour cream and vanilla; stir until smooth.

In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients, then slowly add to butter mixture until just combined.  Fill cupcake liners to 2/3 full.  Bake 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Epicurious

1 ¾ cups flour

¾ cup cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ cups sugar

¾ cup/1 ½ sticks butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot water

1 ¼ cups chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line standard muffin pans with paper liners.  Stir together dry ingredients.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated.

Beat in vanilla, half of flour mixture, and hot water.  Stir in remaining flour mixture until just combined.  Let batter stand until cooled and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached.  Cool completely in pans.

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