Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cupcake Challenge Day 2: Vanilla Chai

Hello friends,

So remember when I mentioned that this month would be a cupcake "challenge"? I originally employed that word because it was exciting and fun, but apparently I was quite accurate with the literal meaning of "challenge"....

Cupcakes are supposed to be stress-free, at least in my opinion they are.

Yet, as I type that I realize I spent 9 hours one day last April making over 1000 cupcakes with the baking club, and in reality that was one of the most stressful experiences ever. I must have missed the memo: cupcakes are now "challenging". Be warned.

I learned this yesterday as I attempted to bake up Vanilla Chai Cupcakes. I followed this recipe to a T but sadly, in the words of my favorite European judge Florian on Cupcake Wars: "this cupcake, it did not work for me."

The recipe said to only fill the liners with 2 tablespoons of batter. So first batch naturally came out like so:

Why did I think it was going to rise more? Who knows. So the next batch I filled it with 1/4 cup, my default when filling cupcake liners. Did they rise more? Yes, of course. Were they any better?

Sadly, no. Unfortunately it just tasted like a lot of ginger, and the consistency was chewy, sticky, and overall disappointing. It's worth trying again (I am a big fan of Bakingdom - anybody who shows me how to make homemade butterbeer definitely deserves another shot in my kitchen). But I have the sinking feeling that these will not be fought over at my workplace as in precious times...

Well, I didnt want to show you these, perfectionist that I am, but this IS about the experience, and not all of them can be as stellar as I'd like them to be. Challenge doesn't always mean success.

I know I usually include the recipe here, but I linked it above and instead I thought I'd share with you all a few links that I find really helpful when baking up cupcakes:

1. Missing an ingredient? Check out Diana's Desserts "Ingredient Substitutions" page for a whole slew of ideas on how to substitute ingredients for items you may already have in your pantry. After stumbling upon this site I never bought store-bought buttermilk again.

2. Basic Cupcake Tips from SomewhatSimple. She has a great list of tips for cupcake baking in general, including how to fill you piping bag, how long to bake cupcakes for, and what kind of liners to use with which kinds of cake.

3.  Basic Royal Icing Recipe from Sweetopia. This is an adorable illustration of how to make Royal Icing. Informative, quirky, and cute, it's a great printout to keep in your recipe book (or to repin onto one of your Pinterest Boards!)

That's all for now. I have (hopefully) something cute in the works for Easter later this week, so check back later for more cupcake concoctions and sweet tips.

Happy Baking!

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