Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cupcake Madness!! (and my first recipe post)


 I am happy to announce (although my thighs are not so happy) that I have officially made close to a hundred cupcakes in the past 2 weeks. One thing that you must know, even though its a little embarrassing: I have a weird, compulsive obsession with cupcakes. . . I don't know why, but at the sound of that enticing little word, I light up like one of those dogs whose ears perk up at the word "ball." Is that bad? Does this mean I am destined to be obese when I lose my adolescent metabolism? For the sake of my jean size, I should probably find a new obsession, like celery or running marathons, but I just can't seem to get over it. I love cupcakes. And that's all there is to it. It all started this past summer. I was in DC for Washington Ballet's summer intensive and my roommate and I wanted to go to all the major bakeries in Georgetown. We hit Baked and Wired, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Crumbs Bakeshop, and (my all time favorite) Georgetown Cupcake. They all had something we loved, and, being the nerd we are, we compared and contrasted the quality and taste of the cupcakes and dubbed Georgetown the winner of our little non-existent competition. I mean, look at that picture! Could anyone resist one of those?!? I didn't think so... 

One of my favorite things to do, going along with my antisocial disease, is go into my sanctuary of a kitchen and whip up a batch of cupcakes. There's just something about blasting some All Time Low at 11 o clock at night, turning on that oven, pulling out the old recipe book and getting the hand mixer going. Sometimes, I like to pretend I'm in my own little bakery and making these cupcakes for customers, urgently awaiting my famous cream cheese frosting dolloped on top of a perfect vanilla cupcake. .. ya, I know I'm weird. and crazy. Get over it. Don't judge me just because I think there is something amazing about pulling out the perfect batch of cupcakes out of the oven. Alright, that just made me sound even more psycho. I'm just going to stop describing my insanity. You get the point.

Anyway, 2 weeks ago, I was asked by my church to teach a cupcakes decorating class for the women and young women in my ward. And, being the cupcake freak I am, I got so excited. I wasn't even required to make any cupcakes or frosting, but I got right to work and made 40 cupcakes and 3 batches of cream cheese frosting. I figured I had an extra can of pumpkin in my cupboard, just sitting there, not being put to any use. Why not make cupcakes!?! I had to justify making cupcakes for some reason :) We all know I was going to make them anyway. Before I make anything, I have to look through all my recipes, making sure I'm going to make the best one (and since I am on a $30 a week budget, the cheapest recipe is what I'll go for these days). So, I poured over my 3 cupcake books and my overwhelmingly huge pinterest page (I have seriously pinned way too many cupcake recipes. I have a problem). I finally decided on the Georgetown Cupcake pumpkin spice cupcakes, with a maple cream cheese frosting. My mom bought me their book for Christmas, and it has become one of my favorite books. It has a lot of little stories from their childhood and from their business. It's fun to read about what they do everyday and all the things they did with their grandma when they were kids. Theirs also a few good recipes in there, which is just awesome for me! I got right to work, creaming the butter and sugar, adding the pumpkin and honey, and finally pulling those perfectly baked pumpkin cupcakes out of the oven. I also had to prepare myself for the class. I, again, looked through all my books to figure out what I was going to teach these people about decorating cupcakes. I decided I would just stick with a few basic tips and a few little swirl techniques. Keeping it simple is always best when teaching people how to decorate, because they usually just go crazy and put about a pound of frosting on top. Maybe it's because I'm super controlling when it comes to baking and my cupcakes, but I was like mentally ripping my hair out at the sight of all those girls piling on the frosting like it was nothing... such a waste of good cream cheese!!

The class went really well, despite my OCD flaring up. I had to control myself to not scream out "JUST STOP IT" a few times. I brought four bags of frosting and my 40 cupcakes. Another lady made a whole lot of cupcakes for me too, which was really great, so my beautiful cupcakes didn't go to waste with all that nasty frosting being splattered around. I just used some basic star tips and a round tip and showed them the classic swirl and just a few simple little things you can do with a piping bag. I decided you can't really teach someone how to decorate. They just have to learn and practice themselves. It was so hard watching them fail at putting a little swirl on top of their cupcake. I didn't think it was that hard haha! I guess I was wrong :). But I had a lot of fun! I met a lot of new people in the ward that I had never even seen and we discussed our mutual obsession with cupcakes and the pros and cons of all the bakeries in the area. I'm glad there are more crazies out there like me. After it was all over, everyone got to eat a cupcake and everyone said that the pumpkin ones were amazing. It makes you really proud when people like what you bake. Naturally, I shared both my cream cheese frosting recipe and the pumpkin spice recipe. I hope people will take advantage of them!! Speaking of which, I think I will include them in this post, just for the heck of it. I'm telling you, the cream cheese frosting is to die for!! I will swear my life on it. Ask everyone you know...

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powered sugar
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until combined. Add the vanilla and mix. Putting in one cup at a time and mixing completely in between additions, add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Then enjoy. . .on every single cake, cupcake, graham cracker, piece of fruit or finger you can find. seriously. . .

That's it! Super easy, and freaking amazing. And just because I love my readers, I think I'm going to go crazy and even give you the pumpkin spice recipe. . is that allowed? It's from a book I bought, so I don't know if this is even legal, but what the heck :)

Georgetown Cupcakes Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 stick butter at room temp.
2 c cugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 tbsp honey
1/3 c hot water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 12 paper baking cups each. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt and set aside. Beat butter in a stand mixer or in a bowl with hand mixer until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until will incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. Mix in the pumpkin puree and honey. Add one third of the flour mixture and gradually add one third of the water, beating until well incorporated. Add another third of the flour and another third of the water and mix. Add the remaining flour and water and mix until just combined. Do not over mix so the cupcakes will be light and fluffy. Fill the baking cups so they are two-thirds full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (start checking them at 20 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting: It's the same cream cheese frosting recipe, but add about 1/4 c maple syrup, or to taste. I liked this recipe, but the frosting came out a little bit runny for it to be able to pipe onto a cupcake, so be careful how much maple syrup you add!!

Since I was so generous and gave you these ridiculously incredible recipes, I now hold it to you to make these creations and then send me a comment or a mental shout out agreeing that these recipes are genius. Thank heavens for Georgetown Cupcake :). Hopefully I can turn all of you into cupcake fanatics too! That is my new goal in life. Challenge accepted!! Well, enjoy your baking!!

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