Cupcakes for the People, Part 1

July 9th, 2009  |  12 Comments

The People of our Independence Day, that is. Featuring Blueberry Cupcakes today, Red Velvet Cupcakes next time.

blueberry-cupcakes-both-flavors

This fine year, my boyfriend Scott and I were invited to a Fourth of July pool party. As with most parties, it was likely that a feeding frenzy would take place and I thought it a good idea to contribute to the spread. But since I’m me, I waited till the last minute to give the thing any real thought.

This much I knew: Because time got away from me, it would have to be quick and easy. Because we were traveling by 2 subways, 1 NJ Transit train stuffed with hordes on their way to their own cookouts, and then by car, it would have to be easily transportable. And because I’m not a fan of watching a big dessert get mangled on a buffet table as everyone tries to saw off a piece, it would have to work well as single servings.

Cupcakes.

blueberry-cupcakes-final

When such procrastination occurs, I bypass all my cookbooks and recipes, which suck me into browsing and indecision, and head straight to epicurious. It’s really easy to dig up what I’m looking for, and if the reviews are mostly favorable, I tend to find that I’m happy with it too.

I wanted something that tipped a hat to Independence Day without being too flashy. This meant the George-Washington-sugarcraft faces were out. Soon enough, I spotted the Maple Blueberry specimens and I knew I had the beginnings of a red, white and blue theme. With blue and white colors covered, I searched out the The Red Velvet to round it out.

This recipe is your usual mix-your-dry, mix-your-wet ingredients, and then marry them into a happy batter. The fats in the oil help coat the protein in the flour, which then help keep the gluten from developing, hopefully ensuring a tender crumb. Dairy in cakes also tends to keep batters from getting tough. If you ever see water in a cake recipe, try replacing some of it with a dairy product (milk, buttermilk, yogurt) and see if your cake flavor and texture improve.

Of course, I didn’t realize I was out of vanilla extract so I left it out of the cake part (ran out to get some for the frosting), but do add it in. It will make life 1% better.

Also, unless you plan well in advance, and have a fat wallet, it can be difficult and/or expensive to track down maple sugar. If luck sends some your way, by all means, use it. It will give the frosting a distinctive flavor. My corner grocery didn’t have it, so I substituted turbinado sugar and added 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup.

These cupcakes were exactly what Fourth of July ordered. (Though can be served any ol’ time of year.) Each bite offered up three distinct textures and flavors. The cool burst of blueberry punctuated the rich, luscious cake. Then the natural berry powers cut through the fatiness of the frosting, while teeny sugar crystals popped between them teeth. The sunny, lil’ treat made for one satisfying meal ending. Well, I can’t really say ONE ending, as some of us had two or three. Don’t look at me.

Maple Blueberry Cupcakes
Adapted from epicurious.com
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk or low-fat yogurt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries, frozen for 4 hours

also needed: paper cupcake liners

Frosting

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple sugar (or sub turninado sugar + 2 T maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons whole milk

Garnish

fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Gather your stuff. Photo here is for cake parts only, not frosting.

blueberry-cupcakes-ingredients

 

2. Pop your paper cups into muffin tins.

blueberry-cupcakes-liners

 

3. Melt the butter. I microwave it in 30-second intervals until liquified.

blueberry-cupcakes-melted-butter

 

4. Sift your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. This distributes ingredients and helps fluff up the batter for a more delicate crumb.
Boy, do I wish I had one of those sifters with the squeezy handle. So much easier.

blueberry-cupcakes-dry-ready-to-sift

 

blueberry-cupcakes-sifting-dry

 

All sifted.

blueberry-cupcakes-dry-sifted

 

5. Whisk oil and butter together in a medium bowl.

blueberry-cupcakes-whisk-oil-and-butter

 

6. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.

blueberry-cupcakes-add-eggs

 

7. Whisk in buttermilk (or yogurt)…

blueberry-cupcakes-add-buttermilk

 

…then milk.

blueberry-cupcakes-add-milk

 

8. Add the golden zest.

blueberry-cupcakes-add-zest

 

9. Now you’ve got one bowl of wet ingredients, and one bowl of dry ingredients. Add the wet into the dry.
Start with about half the liquid, whisk to begin incorporating, then whisk in the rest, until you have smooth batter.

blueberry-cupcakes-wet-into-dry

 

You may need to pound the batter with the whisk a bit to break up the lumps.

blueberry-cupcakes-wet-into-dry-more

 

As soon as its smooth, and there are no more lumps of dry stuff, it’s done. Don’t overmix or batter will get gluey and bake up tough.

blueberry-cupcakes-wet-into-dry-smooth

 

10. With a spatula, stir in the frozen blueberries. They will start to discolor the batter, so make as few stokes as possible. A little streaking is pretty, I think.

blueberry-cupcakes-stir-in-berries

 

blueberry-cupcakes-berries-stirred-in

 

11. Fill each cup about 2/3 full. I used a spoon.

blueberry-cupcakes-scoop-batter

 

12. And bake! About 18 minutes.

blueberry-cupcakes-in-oven

 

I inserted a toothpick into the center of one or two muffins and it came out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pans and allow to cool completely.

blueberry-cupcakes-baked

 

For The Frosting

1. Here are the goods for the frosting.

blueberry-cupcakes-frosting-ingredients

 

2. With an electric mixer, cream butter, powdered sugar, maple sugar (or turbinado + maple syrup), vanilla extract and salt on medium-high speed until pale, light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape the bowl halfway through to snag the butter sticking to the bottom of the bowl. You can also do this by hand in a bowl with a whisk and a vigorous motion.

blueberry-cupcakes-frosting-start

 

Yes, miraculously this is what happens. Sin.

blueberry-cupcakes-frosting-whipped

If frosting is a little thick and dry, you can add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until a spreadable consistency is achieved.

 

4. Spread away and garnish with a few berries.

blueberry-cupcakes-frosting-apply

 

5. Don’t try to resist.

blueberry-cupcakes-final

 








Maple Blueberry Cupcakes
Adapted from epicurious.com
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk or low-fat yogurt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries, frozen for 4 hours

also needed: paper cupcake liners

Frosting

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple sugar (or sub turninado sugar + 2 T maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons whole milk

Garnish

fresh blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pop your paper cups into muffin tins.
2. Melt the butter. I microwave it in 30-second intervals until liquified.
3. Sift your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. This distributes ingredients and helps fluff up the batter for a more delicate crumb.
4. Whisk oil and butter together in a medium bowl.
5. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.
6. Whisk in buttermilk (or yogurt), then milk.
7. Add the zest.
8. Now you’ve got one bowl of wet ingredients, and one bowl of dry ingredients. Add the wet into the dry. Start with about half the liquid, whisk to begin incorporating, then whisk in the rest, until you have smooth batter. You may need to pound the batter with the whisk a bit to break up the lumps. As soon as its smooth, and there are no more lumps of dry stuff, it’s done. Don’t overmix or batter will get gluey and bake up tough.
9. With a spatula, stir in the frozen blueberries. They will start to discolor the batter, so make as few stokes as possible. A little streaking is pretty, I think.
10. Fill each cup about 2/3 full. I used a spoon.
11. Bake for about 18 minutes. I inserted a toothpick into the center of one or two muffins and it came out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pans and allow to cool completely.

Make the frosting:
1. With an electric mixer, cream butter, powdered sugar, maple sugar (or turbinado + maple syrup), vanilla extract and salt on medium-high speed until pale, light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape the bowl halfway through to snag the butter sticking to the bottom of the bowl. You can also do this by hand in a bowl with a whisk and a vigorous motion.
2. If frosting is a little thick and dry, you can add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until a spreadable consistency is achieved.
3. Spread over the cupcakes and garnish with fresh blueberries.






12 Responses to “Cupcakes for the People, Part 1”

  1. oh this looks so doable and so delicious. you’ll have everybody baking in a heartbeat. the only thing I’d add at the end is a shot of you biting into a cup cake. also perhaps a shot of you somewhere in the middle, licking the spoon. keeep YOU in it to make it personal.

  2. rose gilbert says:

    Already blessed with the icing left from this procedure, I am ecstatic to see how easily I can (attempt to) bake the cupcakes to go under it!
    I didn’t have a stopwatch, but would estimate that from the time the cup cakes hit the dessert table on the Fourth to the final lingering crumbs was less than a New York minute!

    The site is super. I’m forwarding to a great friend, great cook Vara Cox, now in Greensboro, N.C., but once the food honcho at the Short Hills Racquet Club…and the other perfect person to invite to one’s Thanksgiving feast!

    Feathers in your toque blanche!

    Rose

  3. Ana Lissetth says:

    Hi. I was given this website by your mom. I take the shuttle to work with her and I did cake decorating in Shop Rite and for my own entertainment. I took cooking classes in my town and learned fruit crisps, bananas foster, etc. I love how charming you are. Take care.

  4. Memoria says:

    Your photos are awesome! I have already subscribed to your blogs. Oh to one day possess a nice camera and a place with good lighting. *sigh*

  5. Michelle says:

    Yum. Yum. And yum.

  6. Nina. My grandchildren call me Baba says:

    I do not like the cupcakes, but my husband do. I will bake on Saturday as they look yummy. If he like them next time I will bake for my grandchildren. Thank you and best wishes.

  7. PastryPal says:

    Nina–let me know how they turn out!

  8. Siobhan says:

    I’m really impressed by your photos, they’re very clear and easy to follow. Wish my process looked so neat and tidy! :) By the way, I found a dredger in my local store the other day for only €3, I presume that’s what you meant by a sifter with a handle? :)

  9. Indigo says:

    I am loving all the blueberry recipes on the internet at the moment, and this is no exception – I have two punnets in the fridge that I definitely need a home for! This sounds ideal.

  10. Blankie Monster says:

    Yummy!!! Not to sound like a cuckoo patriot, but anything maple is “Canadian vanilla” to me. I actually tried your chocolate chip cookie recipe the other night; doubled the batch and made one part with chocolate chips and the other – with less sugar, some maple syrup and white chocolate. They turned out heavenly! Thanks a lot for your step by step instructions and adorable stories of inspiration!

    Warm regards,

    Tatiana

  11. PastryPal says:

    Hi Tatiana — Well, you do have that maple leaf as your country flag. :) Glad you liked the cookies!

  12. Lulu M says:

    thankyou so much. I hv homework task to make procedure presentation abt something and I decided cupcakes. I was pretty confuse how will I make the presentation but this site helps me a lot. thankyou sooo much I hope u don’t mind if I use this recipe. xoxo

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