Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Like a lady baker

"[She] is sweet, and simple. Like a lady baker. I- would not be surprised to find out that she had worked in a bakery before coming here. She has that kind of warmth. I'm pretty sure she's baked on a professional level."

I may be sweet, but I've definitely never been a baker. That whole "must be precise" thing has never been my strong suit. Nor do I actually own a kitchen-aid or any of the contraptions you need to bake effectively. At 30 I still tell myself, "well one day you'll get married and someone will buy you a kitchen-aid." Crazy, that I've supported myself just fine all these years, and I have no problem dropping hundreds on pretty clothes or thousands on a great vacation, and yet, I still really hold on to the hope that I can register for the home goods I want rather than go out and get them. Really must stop that.

That said much younger little sis is happily married and as such got to register for all sorts of wonderful kitchen treats. So today we decided that for a little sisterly bonding we'd make cupcakes. Little sis and I love us some Food and Wine Magazine, so she found us a great cupcake recipe on their website.

From Food and Wine Magazine:



  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • Strawberry jam
  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and oil and beat until incorporated, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and milk in 3 alternating batches, beating well between additions. Carefully pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 20 to 23 minutes, until springy and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the muffin tin, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat the mixture at low speed just until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the milk or heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Mix the frosting with strawberry jam to taste. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. The white buttercream frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before using.

Having never made cupcakes from scratch before, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy the whole endeavor was. Sure I spilled various white things (sugar, flour, baking powder, etc) all over her beloved black granite counter-tops, but otherwise there were no major mishaps and the cupcakes came out tasting delicious. I of course had to sample the icing a million times just to be extra sure that it was of the proper strawberry deliciousness, and I am proud to say it was!

Beloved boyfriend will be oh so impressed with the lovely cupcake that awaits him after work. Am I domestic or what? And seriously if I don't get married by 35, can I just register for a kitchen-aid anyway?



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