Of cupcakebobs, vampire kitties, and 1am trips to Walmart

Five types of cupcakes. Five frostings. Six hours in the kitchen. Four hour drive. Two days of crazy. One party. That sums up the couple days prior to, and the weekend itself.

It all started a few weeks ago with a phone call from the kitchenMage [mom] that my dad was planning a party. Fast forward to a week before the party, and he finally sends out invites. Yep, slacker! Mom and I get to talking, and she sends me a link to Cupcakes that Take the Cake’s post about cupcake kebobs. We could do that… but she’s swamped. I’m unemployed at the moment, which means too much time on my hands. She would make some (mango-ginger, dipped in chocolate) marshmallows, I would make the cupcakes. Simple enough task. Except we don’t do anything “simple” in this family.

Wednesday, I did my shopping in the morning for everything I needed for the mini-cupcakes. I informed my roommates that they were going to buy burgers for dinner, because I wasn’t letting them in the kitchen all night. And I camped out, for the rest of the afternoon, past evening and well into the night, baking. Knocked the temperature in my kitchen up to about 90f/32c at one point just from having the oven on for hours. As I was finished, around 11:30 that night, I packed up the cupcakes, and counted up 238 of the suckers. At the time the party attendance count was about 15 people. Luckily this turned out to be a little low, because way too many cupcakes for 15 people!

Packing up my car early on Thursday, I changed into semi-dressy clothes, because I was going to see RENT, before trekking down to evenTinierTown where my parents live. Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp reprising their roles for the farewell tour sort of made seeing it a necessity. As I headed out of Seattle at 11pm, I couldn’t find an on-ramp to the freeway that wasn’t shut down due to construction. An extra fifteen minutes of driving around and I managed to finally be on my way, with the need to make one last stop before I got to my parents. For strawberries for the cupcakebobs. Except I wanted to get out of Seattle first. Which turned into a production, because nothing was open at that hour. There are no 24-hour grocery stores south of Seattle (perhaps there are some in Tacoma, but not off the freeway and close), all the way down the rest of the state apparently. Except for Walmart. Somewhere I never shop, but we needed strawberries.

Walmart is remodeling. It’s 1am. It’s pouring down rain. I’m in dressy clothes, ballet flats, and a purple leather jacket. My cell phone in one hand, talking to mom. Pawing through a ton of 1 pound clamshells of giant strawberries, trying to find some that weren’t twice the size of the cupcakes. I must’ve been a bit of a spectacle, everyone kept stopping to give me funny looks. Yeah, well, I felt the same about the girl in the white shortshorts, hot pink tank top that barely covered her breasts and didn’t cover anything else, and flip-flops who was also shopping there at that hour!

And as if I didn’t have an eventful-enough time, I have a lovely bite mark on my right wrist from the barn cat who lives across the street from my parents, who decided that being spooked meant trying to bite my hand off. I’ve been claiming I got bitten by a vampire, because at least it’s more amusing of a story.

All in all, it was a crazy weekend, but worth the trip down, for a party full of good food, good company, and good music. Even if celebrating the solstice around here means watching it rain while we’re all crowded inside. Cupcake recipes are below the cut…

Let’s start with the key lime cupcakes, since those have gotten the most comments/requests. They were my favourite of the batches as well, light and refreshing. I looked over a recipe from Bon Appetit for some idea of where I was going with these, but made some changes, namely in how much lime juice I used. Theirs was just a hint, and I like a good punch of flavour.

Key Lime Cupcakes with Lime/Coconut frosting

1 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup key lime juice (more or less to taste)
3/4 cup buttermilk
zest of one small lime

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs, combine well. Add juice, and zest (and a couple drops of green food colouring if you want). The batter looks a little curdled at this point, but it’s fine, trust me! Add about 1/3 of the flour to the mixture, blend to combine, then add half the buttermilk. Continue this, half the flour, the rest of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour, making sure each ingredient is combined before adding the next. Pour into sprayed or lined cupcake pans, bake until toothpick comes out clean (aprox 10 min for mini-cupcakes, probably 15-20 for larger ones). Cool before frosting.

Frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter
1-3 cups powdered sugar (I used aprox. 2 1/2)
2 Tbsp lime juice
zest of one lime
1/3 cup shredded coconut

Beat butter until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, mix to combined, add lime juice, zest, and coconut. Add more sugar as needed until desired taste/consistency.

***********************

Next up, simple vanilla cupcakes. Only with killer vanilla flavour. The key is a lot of vanilla. A lot, a lot.

Vanilla Bean cupcakes with Vanilla Bean frosting

2 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 of a vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Mix milk and vanilla in a bowl, set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs, one at a time and combine well. Add vanilla bean and mix for a few seconds before adding about 1/3 of the flour mixture. The half the milk. Continue this, half the flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour, making sure each ingredient is combined before adding the next. Pour into sprayed or lined cupcake pans, bake until toothpick comes out clean (aprox 10 min for mini-cupcakes, probably 15-20 for larger ones). Cool before frosting.

Frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter
1-3 cups powdered sugar (I used aprox. 2 1/2)
1 tsp vanilla
the remaining 1/4 of the vanilla bean, scraped

Beat butter until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, mix to combined, add vanilla and vanilla bean. Add more sugar as needed until desired taste/consistency.

***********************

What better to follow vanilla than killer chocolate? I took this particular recipe from Chocklity, doubled it for the two following recipes, and tweaked the ingredients a little to add a little kick to both recipes.

Chocolate cupcakes Chocolate frosting

3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Dutch processed dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Mix milk and vanilla in a bowl, set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs, one at a time and combine well. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Then half the milk. Continue this, half the flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour, making sure each ingredient is combined before adding the next. Pour into sprayed or lined cupcake pans, bake until toothpick comes out clean (aprox 10 min for mini-cupcakes, probably 15-20 for larger ones). Cool before frosting.

Frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup Dutch processed dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
up to 1/2 cup cream

Beat butter until smooth. Add cocoa and 1 cup sugar, mix to combined, add vanilla, and slowly add a small amount of cream. Add more sugar and cream as needed until desired taste/consistency.

***********************

Chai Chocolate cupcakes Chai frosting

Then I felt the need for some spice, so I took the other half of the chocolate cupcakes above (minus the chocolate chips), and added some chai. So it’s the exact above cupcake recipe, but instead of chips, add in 3 Tbsp of chai mix powder (I used some from Trader Joe’s).

Frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter
2 Tbsp chai powder
1-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream

Beat butter until smooth. Add chai and 1 cup sugar, mix to combined, add half the cream. Add more sugar and cream as needed until desired taste/consistency.

***********************

Finally, for something a little lighter, I turned to green tea. Well, I tried to anyway. This turned out way more complicated than it should, as I discovered that the town I live in is a cultural void, and you can’t buy matcha powder anywhere. I had to explain what it was to some of the people at Trader Joe’s, but they didn’t have any. Neither did anyone else. But I found someone to save me, in the form of a barista in Starbucks. I asked if they sold their matcha, they don’t. She tried to ring up a packet of it for me. It didn’t ring up. Alas… Then as she was finishing up my drink, she grabbed an empty cup, tossed a huge scoop of matcha into it, added the cost of just getting a scoop in a drink to my drink, handed me both cups, and off I went, with caffeine to keep me going to bake, and matcha so I didn’t have to keep searching. I love Starbucks.

Matcha cupcakes with Matcha frosting

1 &amp 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 &amp 1/2 Tbps matcha
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Mix the milk and matcha in a bowl, set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs, one at a time and combine well. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Then half the milk. Continue this, half the flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour, making sure each ingredient is combined before adding the next. Pour into sprayed or lined cupcake pans, bake until toothpick comes out clean (aprox 10 min for mini-cupcakes, probably 15-20 for larger ones). Cool before frosting.

Frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter
1 &amp 1/2 Tbps matcha
1-3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp cream

Mix milk and matcha into a paste. Beat butter until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar and matcha paste, mix to combined. Add more sugar as needed until desired taste/consistency.

2 Responses to “Of cupcakebobs, vampire kitties, and 1am trips to Walmart”

  1. [...] Originally posted here:  Of cupcakebobs, vampire kitties, and 1am trips to Walmart « Plays … [...]

  2. matchamamma Says:

    I am a big matcha fan – for both drinking and baking – I love the taste as well as the health benefits. I buy it from matchasource.com. It will save you next time…

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