Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes

Today was kind of a crappy day. Not so much because of work; more so because of the cats. 
This cat, in particular
And not so much crappy; more so the other end. That's all we're going to say on the matter. Yes there are pics. No you can't see them. Weirdo.  And when I get stressed out and worked up, and the house is already clean (because I had to mop the kitchen and scrub the dining room and change all my clothes and take another shower) I turn to baking to relax. You probably knew this already.

So today I'm giving you yet another excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. Inspired by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen's Honeybun Cake, I present to you: Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes.

As always we start by creaming together your butter and your sugar. Alton Brown says that what we're doing with this step is using the sugar to create little pockets of air in the butter. Yes, I think of that every time. Every single time I make a cake, "Now we're creating little pockets of air in the fats of the butter."  

As we know, start off with a mostly-room temp stick of butter, not too warm, not too soft, and whip it up with the sugar until it looks like mashed potatoes. That's your gauge. You want mashed potato butter sugar.  My butter here in this picture wasn't quite soft & airy & mashed potatoey, and that's because it was a little bit too cold. On the plus side, I discovered I didn't have any eggs & had to run out to the grocery store, leaving this on the counter to warm up just a teensy bit. Came back with eggs & the butter was just right.

Next you add your eggs. Unless the recipe says otherwise, you always add your eggs one at a time and beat them thoroughly into the cake each time. This is for cakes, mind you, not pancakes or bread or cookies. Cakes go one egg at a time. Egg; mix; egg; mix; vanilla; mix. 

And again, unless the recipe says otherwise, you want to have your "dries" in a separate bowl whisked together. That's all the dry ingredients except for the sugar (cause that's making pockets of air in the butter fats!)--your flour, your baking powder, your salt.

I decided with this recipe to mix the cake together in the same manner as the classic southern 7Up cake. Have you had one of those?  Rich and dense as heck!  I make 'em with Mountain Dew Code Red.  Anyway. You mix your wets (minus the liquid, which in this case is milk), you whisk together your dries in a separate bowl, and then you slowly add the dries into the wets, alternating with the milk. A little flour; a little milk; a little flour; a little more milk; the rest of the flour; the rest of the milk.

Mix it up and you got cake mix.
Mix your brown sugar & cinnamon & vanilla in another bowl and you got filling.

Now we start the fun part!
A layer of cake mix, a tbsp of brown sugar mix, another layer of cake mix. You can take a toothpick and try to swirl it up if you want, like in the original recipe, but it didn't work out so well in the cupcakes so I gave up. Tasted fine. Won't notice the difference.

Left side of the pan: halfway done.
Middle of the pan: unswirled.
Right side of the pan: swirled.


When they come out of the oven, they look like little coffee cakes! So cute! So good-smelley!
Front: swirled. Middle: not swirled. Still tastes the same.
I admit, the original recipe called for glazing these right away, but I've had the experience of glaze melting into hot cake and completely disappearing. So we went out for dinner while these cooled off on a wire rack. Came back, they were completely cooled, so popped the rack over a sheet of newspaper and glazed them. Then sprinkles. Autumn leaf sprinkles.
The finished result was pretty darn good if I don't say so myself.

Recipe time! This recipe gave me 18 good-sized cupcakes.

2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of milk

1 cup of brown sugar (I prefer dark brown sugar)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Whisk together the first three cake ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3) In another mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.
4) Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg.
5) Add vanilla & mix well.
6) Slowly add your flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternating with the milk, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition.
7) Pop some cupcake baking cups into your muffin pan, and using a spoon or ice cream scoop, add approximately 2 tablespoons of batter to 18 cups.
8) Layer a generous amount of brown sugar mixture on top of the batter; you're going to have some leftover, so don't be stingy.
9) Layer the rest of the batter on top.
10) Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. You know your cake is done when the top is springy to the touch. Let cool on a wire rack.
11) Once the cakes are cooled, whisk up your glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
12) Lay out a piece of newspaper that you don't ever want to see again (the political pages, perhaps?), sit the whole wire rack on top of the page, and then pour your glaze over the cupcakes.  You should have just enough glaze for all 18.
13) You don't need sprinkles, but sprinkles are cool. Like bowties. Only a lot more edible than bowties. This is a perfectly valid 13th step.

And there you go. The brown sugar cinnamoney middle makes it feel breakfasty. I bet this would be really good with a cup of coffee. Hey, grownups can have dessert for breakfast. It's Grownup Privilege.

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