Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blown Out of Proportion

It's easy to make a big deal out of nothing.

A quick sideways glance can become a declaration of love for some.

In other cases, it's all about the crumb. You dropped that cookie crumb on the ground? And pretended like you didn't see it? The perfect start to a dramatic tirade. Not like that's my type or anything.

When I get tired of things being blown out of proportion all day long, I react in a manner that is perfectly bizarre. I blow other things out of proportion--in an outburst of complete giddiness. Well, first it starts with a childish temper tantrum. But it all becomes filled with rainbows and blue skies when I pick up a spatula and preheat the oven.

Let's get it on, food processor. 

It's easy to make a big deal of cupcakes: who doesn't? Sure, you've got the ones who rain on the cupcake parade all the time, with statements along the lines of "Cupcakes are overrated", or "They aren't really anything special". I beg to differ: yes, they are. When you've had a rather annoying day for various reasons, a pink and sprinkle-laden baked good is an amazing little thing. 

Eating a cupcake becomes an act akin to deep meditation. You look at it closely, taking in the color of the frosting and its apparent creaminess. It's like a treasure chest waiting to be opened. First, the wrapper, followed by a first bite. It can be tricky to get just the right amount of frosting and cake in that first bite, but don't despair. When you succeed, the creamy taste of butter melds with a smooth vanilla flavor and a just-right sweetness for an unforgettable few seconds.

Am I blowing things out of proportion? Probably, but rightfully so. 

Don't pay attention to all those cake crumbs I'm dropping on the ground, though.

 Vanilla - Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

cake recipe adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum's Heavenly Cakes

for the cake:
3 large egg whites
2/3 c. milk
1 1/2 TS vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 + 1/8 TS baking powder (I only used 2 1/2 TS)
1/2 TS salt
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

Note: All ingredients should be room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites, 3 TB milk and vanilla until lightly combined.

In a stand mixer or food processor, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds. Add butter and remaining milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes.

Gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in two parts, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

Scoop into prepared cupcake pan, filling each liner about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a knife inserted in the centers comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes, and cool completely on a wire rack.

for the frosting:
3 TB all-purpose flour
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 TS vanilla
food coloring, optional

In a saucepan, heat flour and milk, stirring constantly, until thickened. The resulting mixture should be very thick, like glue. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or food processor, beat sugar and butter together until fluffy and creamy.

Add flour mixture, vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in food coloring if using.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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Paris Pastry said...

What is up with all these cupcake-haters lately? So much anger over a sweet, little cupcake.. I don't get it! I love your cupcake wrapper btw. So pretty!

Kerstin said...

I love cupcakes, especially when they have sprinkles on top like these :) Wish I had one right now!

Eleni said...

mmm, those look so good! i just made vanilla-vanilla cupcakes a few hours ago using a hummingbird bakery recipe--so good!

Barbara said...

Berenbaum is the place to start for cakes of any kind, no doubt about it!
I love vanilla on vanilla, Lucie. It's my favorite. No way can you blow this delight out of proportion.

Mary said...

How beautiful! Your cakes could convert the most adamant of cupcake haters. I'd love one of these right now. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Reeni said...

How could anyone hate a cupcake? So pretty and sweet. It can turn the worst of days into the best day!

claudia said...

i hate to say that i am not a big fan of cupcakes, especially i do NOT like frosting of any kind..sorry, but i still love reading your blog and your writing is so much fun to read that you may convert me into a cupcake eater!

Lucie said...

Eleni: I love hummingbird bakery! Their stores in London are really cute.

Claudia: As the French say, tous les goûts sont dans la nature! But I'm pretty sure you just might enjoy one of these ;)

Daisy said...

these look so good, and so pretty!!

Kris Ngoei said...

Love the perfect pink for the frosting, so lovey dovey beautiful...

Sawadee from Bangkok,