Cupcakes may be a bit cliche, at least in the States, but they’re still fun. Irresistible, even. It was a friend’s birthday – her thirtieth to be exact – and so cupcakes were in order.
The last time I tried to make cupcakes in my fickle oven was back in December for Evan’s birthday. They sank, had an odd texture, and ended up in the trash. So much for making Magnolia cupcakes at home (a recipe I’ve made successfully dozens of time back in the States).
Once again, Mark Bittman came to the rescue. His recipes are so simple, easy to follow, and downright good. Every time. I took his recipe for golden layer cake and made them into cupcakes. And you know what? They came out perfectly. They didn’t sink, stick, burn, or half-cook. They’re not too sweet, just the way I like them. I made some mini cupcakes, which I left bare and ate for breakfast.
Then I used his recipe for chocolate ganache to ice the rest. Smart move. After chilling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so the ganache sets. I actually enjoyed eating them cold right out of the fridge. It made them even more summery. I added sprinkles to make them even more festive. Sprinkles make me smile. I bet they make you smile too.
These cupcakes are so light you can eat dozens of them in one sitting. OK, I didn’t actually do that, but I did eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Certainly not as healthy as a piece of fruit. But who can resist? I ate the last one before going out to dinner on Thursday night. A sort of apperitif, to whet the appetite.
Yellow Cake Cupcakes
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe for Golden Layer Cake in the How to Cook Everything iPhone app
10 tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk (I used 1%)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a mini or regular sized cupcake pan with cupcake tins or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Cream the butter until smooth then gradually add the sugar until light in color and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the egg mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk. Stir just until smooth.
Spoon the batter about three quarters of the way up the prepared cupcake tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean about 14 minutes for mini cupcakes and 26 minutes for regular size. Allow to cool then frost with chocolate ganache frosting (recipe below).
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe for Chocolate Ganache in the How to Cook Everything iPhone app
1 cup cream
8 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped (I used 60% dark chocolate chips)
Put the cream in a pot and heat until it’s steaming (do not boil). Put the chocolate in a bowl, pour on the hot cream, and stir until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated. Spoon onto cupcakes and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes to set the ganache.