I wanted to make cupcakes today. In accordance with my 2009 goals, this can count as fulfilling my one baking project for the month. They may not win any decoration awards, but they look a darn site better than my cupcakes usually do. I also decided to try out one of my new Christmas gifts, the star stencil decoration that is on about half of them. It doesn’t look bad, but would look better on smoother iced cupcakes.
Now onto the dirty work…
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, finally chopped, or 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Heat oven to 350* (I baked mine at 325* like I do for my cakes and they weren’t poofy on top like regular cupcakes. Which then made me realize that the reason I bake my cakes at 325* is so that they aren’t as poofy on top… doh!)
Grease whatever pan you are using, or put your cup cake liners in your muffin tin if that is what you are using.
The original instructions say to “grease and flour oblong pan, 13x9x2 or 2 round layer pans, 8 or 9 1/2 inches.”
Then we start mixing stuff up. The Book, simply says to beat all ingrediants in a large mixer bowl. I do things a bit differently lol.
First start by mixing only the dry ingredients together*:
Doing this helps smooth out some of the lumps which means when you get to the end and start mixing in the wet stuff it’ll smooth out faster and you’ll get a fluffier cake because you beat more air into the mix. 😀
Then, mix in just the shortening. I do this because if you blend the shortening into the dry stuff a little first it makes less of a mess when you start the mixer with the wet ingredients. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this step.
I feel obliged to note at this time that you don’t have to use shortening, you could use butter or margarine, or even butter flavored shortening. I say this because I know Lexi is gagging at her computer right now at the thought of 1/2 a cup of processed and solidified vegetable oils in a baking mix. I could really make her gag with the mention that in my pie crusts I use real lard, it smells a bit odd but it makes really tender flaky crusts. 🙂
At this point, go ahead and add in all the liquid ingredients as well as the chocolate chips and mix well. The Book instructions say “beat all ingredients in large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 3 minutes”.
Now we are ready to pour into our baking vessel. If your putting it in a pan, go for it make sure not to fill more than 3/4 full or you’ll get spillage in the oven.
If, like me, you want cupcakes, may I give you this tip: scoop not pour.
As you can see, I use a beat up pink plastic ice cream scoop that materialized in my kitchen sometime around when Chris and I got married, other than that I have no idea where this thing came from.
However, by using a scoop of some sort (I’ve also been known to use a gravy ladle and a soup ladle.) it’s easier to control how much goes into each cup and you end up with more evenly sized cupcakes or muffins. In this case it took 2 full scoops to equally fill 22 muffin cups.
Then, put them in the oven. These baked at 325* for 25 minutes, rotating once in the middle for more even baking.
When they are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool on some cooling grids for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them from the tins and allowing them to finish cooling completely on the racks.
While the cupcakes cool, lets make some frosting.
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
(Double this for a sheet cake or layer cake, only makes enough for cupcakes)
Cream butter in mixing bowl
slowly add sugar then cocoa powder
mix in vanilla
add in milk in small increments until desired consistency is reached for decorating.
Once the cupcakes are cooled and the frosting is ready, go ahead and decorate however you want. I used a large star decorating tip and then on half used a stencil and powder sugar.
Sorry if this made you hungry, let me tell you how hard it is not to have eaten all the ones on my kitchen table. 😀