Susan S. Yeske: Recipe of the week
Cupcake makers invited to bake their best
As you while away the hours finding things to do while stuck indoors during wintry weather, you might like to take time to work on your cupcake-making skills. It might pay off with a cash prize in an upcoming contest.
Peddler’s Village in Lahaska is reprising its annual Cupcake Decorating Contest with categories for professional bakers as well as amateurs and children.
Deadline for submitting an entry form for the contest is March 3, and cupcakes are due between 9 and 11 a.m. on March 8. The cupcakes will be on display at the Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant March 8 and 9.
There is nothing new about cupcakes. They were first mentioned in an American cookbook in 1796, and got their name because back then they were often baked in teacups. They were viewed as an energy-saver because ovens in the 1800s took a long time and lots of fuel to bake a large cake. Eventually muffin tins became available, and cupcakes were baked in those.
An average cupcake has 131 calories, which makes it popular with adults as well as children as a small, sweet treat. Versatile, cupcakes can be made in just about any popular flavor, and can be decorated in extraordinary ways.
Official categories for the cupcake contest are professional; amateur levels in traditional and baker’s choice; student, ages 13-18; kids, ages 12 and younger.
More than $2,000 in prizes will be awarded. For official rules and entry forms, see the Cupcake Brochure on the Peddler’s Village web site.
Meanwhile, as you are trying out contest entries, it’s nice when a cupcake tastes as good as it looks, and this is one of my favorite cupcake recipes. It comes from a little-known cookbook, “The Little Red Barn Baking Book; Small Treats with Big Flavor,” by Adriana Rabinovich.
She frosts them with her basic buttercream frosting, but sometimes I like to use lemon buttercream.
Velvet Butter Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (1¾ sticks) unsalted
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs at room temperature,
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
1 recipe buttercream frosting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 12-cup (standard size) muffin pans with paper liners.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl three times. (This helps to incorporate air, which gives a lighter result.) In a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until pale and lemon-colored. Add the egg yolks, one by one, beating constantly. The mixture should have the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the vanilla.
Add the milk alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Gently folk in, using a large metal spoon, until just combined. Don’t overmix. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they just form soft peaks. Add one-third of the egg whites to the batter and fold through until well incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold in, using the minimum amount of strokes, until just combined.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cook in the pan before taking out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before topping with buttercream frosting.
Makes 20-24 cupcakes.
¼ cup unsalted butter at room
2 cups confectioners’ sugar,
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or
Using a wooden spoon, cream the butter with half of the confectioners’ sugar and the salt. Add the remaining sugar alternately with the cream to make a smooth frosting. Add the vanilla extract or other flavoring. The frosting should be easy to spread.
Makes enough for the top and sides of a 9-inch cake or the tops of approximately 24 cupcakes.
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