Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes

As always, I woke up at 5AM. While my mind very persistently was trying to think about bills and taxes, I very diligently was brushing these thoughts away – I will leave non-fun thoughts to Monday. But today, I am determined to rest and do something fun.

So, I will bake cupcakes, a delightful treat for the taste buds and sweet satisfaction for soul.

While I would let Alex decide on the flavor, I got up to take eggs and butter out of the fridge – these are the must ingredients and need to be at the room temperature, so the book says.

My love for baking started about a year ago when my husband gave me a KitchenAid mixer for my birthday. Was that a hint that I should become a little more domestic? Or maybe he wanted to introduce to me the pleasure of baking? I pick the latter, and that is just what happened.

Being my usual intense and a impatient self, for about three months I was baking every weekend, trying to come up with a simple recipe on my own… Have I told you that I am not good at following directions? Well, I discovered that I did not have a natural talent for baking.  There was always something that was just not right – either too soft or too dense or too sweet… Have to admit: a lot of eggs, butter, sugar and flour were wasted. Eventually, I had to accept that I could not figure out the recipes without guidance, so I got a cupcake recipe book and carefully followed the directions. Turns out that baking requires a precision of what and how much is needed to be put in. From that point on, my baking adventures became much less challenging. As I continued baking almost weekly, I got comfortable with the basics, and even experimented a little with different flavors.

After taking butter and eggs out of fridge, I got back to bed fantasizing and almost tasting the buttercream.  As my feet got warm under the blanket, I heard quiet steps – that was Alex who comes to my bed every morning and lights up my life with his still sleepy eyes and crooked smile. To me, he glows the adorableness through every cell of his body.

Vanilla cupcakes with Vanilla buttercream, he chose. Great, that is basic enough!

After breakfast, I put my apron on Alex and put him to work. While I was separating the eggs, he needed to sift through the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt. Alex does not like to eat much, but he surely likes to bake, and we always have a great time doing it together. After all the ingredients were incorporated in the bowl, we used the ice-cream scooper to evenly pour the batter into prepared paper liners in the pan. There was enough for eleven cups, instead of twelve. I probably accidentally ate some of the batter when I was scraping down the sides of the bowl. Somehow, I always don’t have enough batter for the twelfth cupcake.

Here's the recipe:

Shopping list:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs butter (at room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg and 1 egg white (at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk + 2tbs heavy cream

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F, and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Step 2: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Step 3: Next, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and egg white, one at a time. Add vanilla
Step 4: Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and cream in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined. Do not overheat!
Step 5: Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4th full. Bake for about 16 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Step 6: Transfer baked cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely. Frost and enjoy!

After Alex and I completed all six steps, our home started filling up with that special sweet smell which never fails to trigger a little me inside my adult body. Cupcakes were ready and screaming to be eaten. Buttercream was smooth and fluffy… Maybe I should start a bakery and call it Cupcake Goddess, I thought. Maybe not - most of my friends urge me to keep my day job –whatever that means.

When tea time was finally here, we all gathered around the kitchen table. I peeled off the paper liner from the side of the cupcake and took a small bite. I think it tasted… heavenly…

I liked today… 

Signing off till Thursday night.

With love, always…
xo, Zuma A.
Watch here the Vanilla Cupcakes video

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