Friday, May 2, 2008

Another baking disaster...

I broke my cardinal rule for baking. Do not do it on a weeknight, especially when you are also cooking dinner. But did I listen to that little voice in my head that said I was over doing it? Nope, I barreled through the caution barrier and tumbled down the cliff on the other side. Some rules are NOT meant to be broken.

It actually started out ok. I got dinner cooked and under aluminum foil tents waiting on Taylor to get home from work. I pre-heated the oven and got to work on the batter for these scrumptious looking strawberry cupcakes from Annie's Eats. My trusty kitchen aid stand mixer didn't let me down and the batter came together beautifully. Then disaster #1 struck. I did not pay close enough attention to the directions and I "might" have overfilled the cups. Nevertheless, I stick those babies in the oven just in time for Taylor to walk in the door and we sit down to dinner.

The timer goes off and I take my first peek at what now appears to be the tops of all my cupcakes fused together since I "might" have overfilled the cups. They have of course bubbled over the top of the liners like mini volcanos. To make matters worse, the tops are already brown and crunchy (because they've run out of the liners) but the centers aren't done. Yes, I am sighing loudly now. I leave them in a few more minutes and set out my cream cheese and butter for the icing so that it can get to room temperature.

Disaster #2 begins when I start to make the icing. Did you know you really shouldn't freeze cream cheese? Yeah, well I didn't. The texture is no longer nice and creamy. It is now lumpy and no amount of mixing makes it smooth and creamy again. But I press on toward my goal of yummy strawberry cream cheese icing because now I am going to have to trim off the edges of my volcano cupcakes and pretty icing could me my saving grace. Nope. Not tonight. I find I have JUST enough powdered sugar and the icing is coming together, but then I again do not pay close enough attention to the recipe. (Side note: This is why I hate baking! You have to pay too much attention!!!) I dump all the pureed strawberries into the icing, but the recipe says just to add it until you get the desired consistency. So now my icing is runny and I don't have any more powdered sugar to add to it. GREAT!

I look around my kitchen at the huge mess I have made with nothing show for it other than sad looking cupcakes and runny icing. At this point I am done. I decide to stick the icing in the fridge praying it will firm up enough to ice the cupcakes before my girl's night Thursday night.

Well, as luck would have it girl's night got cancelled and I had a little more time to think about what to do. I decided to try and ice a few cupcakes to see what would happen. Yeah, the icing was still too runny to sit for any length of time. Here is my attempt to "fix" the cupcakes:

They tasted really good, but basically fell apart when you tried to eat them. So, on to plan B. What do you do with leftover cake? Make a trifle of course! I got out my smaller trifle bowl and tore the cupcakes into small pieces and then layered with the icing. Since I added all of the strawberry puree to the icing, it wasn't overly sweet and had a nice tartness to go with the cake. This was far from the perfect result I had in mind when I envisioned making strawberry cupcakes, but it turned out ok and tasting pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

If you'd like to try these cupcakes for yourself, and by all means PLEASE follow all the directions, I've listed the recipe below. Good luck!!

Strawberry Cupcakes

Source: Annie’s Eats

Yield: about 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped strawberries

For the frosting:

½ c. strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped strawberries. Fill cupcake wells ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting, puree strawberries in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree. Adjust the amount of puree to achieve your desired consistency. Frost cupcakes when completely cool.


deLa said...

at least they took pretty pictures! and sometimes, that is all that matters. unless you have hungry guests.

That Girl said...

I seriously could have written this entire post on more than one occasion.

The Jillybean said...

I feel your pain! That is why I rarely bake...I am horrible at following directions and being precise. My daughter and sister are the bakers of our family and I gladly leave them to it. I would much rather just cook where I can throw in what and how much I want.

Nicole said...

Well if there is one place to obey the rules, it is in baking! That is why baking is not generally my favorite either. Too detailed and fussy. But you found a way to be creative!