Thursday, June 21, 2012

Let Them Eat (Cup)Cake!

It's good to know, in these difficult tween-age times, that the apple fritter doesn't fall too far from the tree.

My daughter is eleven...and that means every day brings something different.  Every hour, for that matter.  Sometimes she's sweet and kind and beautiful, and sometimes she can be the opposite.

Last night, though, she was looking through this book, A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes, which I'd checked out from the library (not so much because I wish to actually create the cupcakes, but because I like looking at the elaborate pictures and dream of a day when I can masterfully work with fondant and edible plastic).  And she then asks me: Mom, can I make the Crumb Cake cupcakes?  She further presses her case: We have all the ingredients. 

Of course I will let her.

Thankfully, the recipe wasn't too complicated.  She made the crumb topping first, then the cupcake batter, and I assisted only at the end, pouring the batter into the muffin tins (and this was more to expedite the process than anything...dinner was almost ready).  And of course, they were delicious...

...especially reheated...the next morning...with a cup of coffee...

Okay, so the bottom half of the cupcake is a little blurry.  This does not affect its taste.

I admit, my kitchen was not immaculate when my daughter was finished.  There was flour everywhere, crumb topping strewn across the floor, and my Breville was in dire need of a wipe down.   There are some things worth sacrificing!

For your culinary pleasure...

Crumb Cake Cupcakes (makes 18 cupcakes)

For the streusel:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter/margarine, melted
2/3 cup sugar (or substitute)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch salt
1 1/4 all-purpose flour
(Feel free to cut this in half...we covered the cupcake as you see above and had plenty of the topping leftover...but if you're a streusel fanatic...)

Combine melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt.  Add flour until mixture "clumps" when squeezed with fingers.  Set aside.

For the cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter/margarine, at room temp, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (or substitute)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
Optional: fruit or nuts (totaling 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper cups.  Whisk flour, baking powder and soda, and salt to aerate.  Set aside.

Beat butter in mixer until creamy (two minutes), and add sugar gradually.  Beat three minutes, scraping sides down once or twice.  Beat in extracts.  Beat in one egg at a time, scraping down after each time.  Add flour in four additions, alternating with the sour cream.  Begin and end with flour, stopping when only a few streaks of flour show.  Fold in fruit/nuts, if using.

Divide batter evenly in cupcake liners, top with streusel.  Bake about 22 minutes (although check earlier if you've not used fruit or nuts).  Cool pans for five minutes, then remove to wire racks for further cooling.

Thank you, Kirby.

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