Everyone knows baking is more exact than cooking, which means you must follow the recipe exactly. One small misstep could be a disaster.
True confession – I don’t really believe this. Or, at least I didn’t until Saturday.
See, I’ve been baking for years. And sometimes, I don’t let the butter come to room temperature (what?!). Sometimes, I don’t beat for a full 5 minutes (no?!). Sometimes, I add the dry ingredients all at once (crazy?!). The key, I realized, is that I still add the ingredients in the proper order (aha!).
On Saturday, I failed at the ingredient order. Somehow I forgot to add the sugar. I know, a pretty key ingredient for a batch of cupcakes. Luckily, I tasted the batter (something I always do, and thankfully so!) and realized it didn’t taste quite right. So I went a head and just added the sugar. It couldn’t make that much of a difference, right? Wrong.
These misstep cupcakes were much more dense (see picture to the right) than my normal vanilla cupcakes. And, oddly enough, pulled away from the cupcake liners. So, I moved on to round two, which I am happy to report came out perfectly (these went out for delivery, so I didn’t get a picture of the delicate, light cupcake).
Moral of the story, baking is a science. Order does matter. And even the Kristina’s Confections kitchen has a baking disaster now and then!
My Mom’s absolute favorite cake is carrot cake. My Aunt Dot used to make her one every year for her birthday. Aunt Dot actually hated doing it – grating the carrots really got to her – but Mom’s a December baby. You know how that goes. She had to get something special to outweigh all the negatives of being born a mere twelve days before Jesus. Carrot cake it was.
When I started Kristina’s Confections I knew I needed a really great carrot cake – not only to appease Mom, but also for all the other carrot cake lovers – and there are plenty out there!
Carrot cake is a funny thing though. There are a million versions, with all sorts of additions – pineapple, coconut, walnuts, raisins. For me, I wanted to get back to the classic carrot cake – where the spices and the carrots shine. So that’s what I did. This is a back to the basic carrot cake, filled with grated carrots, tons of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a touch of vanilla. And, of course, the classic cream cheese frosting tops it all off.
Aunt Dot is now watching this crazy life from a better view, but I think she’d be pretty impressed with my version of carrot cake. She would claim hers had an edge, but that’s just family talk. Mom doesn’t seem to have any complaints.
Perfect pairing: pretty much anytime, with anything!
My mom LOVES bananas. She eats one just about every day. In fact, she fed me so many when I was little that I went on a banana hiatus from the age of twelve until seventeen.
I have, however, always eaten banana bread. I love the moistness, the sweetness and the subtlety of the banana flavor. And, quite honestly, when chocolate chips are added, there’s no stopping me! And so you have the inspiration for my new Banana Chocolate Chip cupcake.
For the base, I went with traditional banana bread. While I tweaked my normal banana bread recipe a bit to reduce the denseness (dense sweet bread = good; dense cupcake = not so good), I made sure to maintain the flavor and moistness. I then added mini chocolate chips to ensure you got a little in each and every bite.
As for the frosting… well, what goes best with bananas and chocolate? Peanut butter, of course! So to top it all off is my peanut butter frosting.
Interestingly enough, my mom – a banana fanatic – does not typically like banana bread (I know, we defy all logic). I didn’t even think she would taste this cupcake. But as a supportive mother, she did and… LOVED them. What more can I say?
Perfect pairing: circus party, Elvis tribute, after school surprise snack, picnic treat