Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Brooklyn Cupcakes

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that cupcakes have made a real come-back in the last few years thanks to bakeries like Magnolia, Crumbs and Buttercup. (Artie Lange from Howard Stern even has his own cupcake at Crumbs.) No longer are these trendy, bite-sized (sometimes 5-8 bites worth) of sugary deliciousness reserved for birthdays alone.

For work birthdays, we used to get to order from LES favorite Sugar Sweet Sunshine, but now we make them ourselves to show off the domestic goddess inside. But I really love the cake portion of the cupcakes from Magnolia as they are closer to a biscuit in consistency and texture, than a cake. But who wants to wait on that line unless you have someone from out of town coming to visit?

That's why a posting on a blog devoted to cupcakes caught my eye. It spotlights a Williamsburg bakery called Kumquat. The tiny cupcakes look delicious. From their Web site:
Keavy MacPherson has been making cupcakes from scratch, for her friends, for years. Word of mouth quickly spread about her delicious mini-cupcakes and catering orders started piling up. For the past few months she's been selling her delicious mini's underground to anyone who's heard about them, but now they're available to all.
Still I'd love cupcakes in DUMBO. I saw some good looking homemade ones at Forager's. The same blog mentioned above gives high marks to the cupcakes from Almondine. I also came across an old post in Gothamist about a cupcake bake-off last April at Brooklyn Kitchen. I will have to attend next year's event!

Anyone had cupcakes from Brooklyn that they love? Tell me!

If you are feeling adventurous, try to make the famous vanilla Magnolia cupcakes yourself, recipe courtesy of Food Network. Or, if you're not up to making cupcakes from scratch, my favorite "fake-out" is to buy a box strawberry cake mix and then frost with vanilla confetti icing.

* 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.
* In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
* In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
* Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
* Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
* Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
* Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
* Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream:
The vanilla buttercream used at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners' sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 (9-inch) layer cake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had awesome cupcakes in a local restaurant - Red Rose on Smith Street . They were jumbo cupcakes - traditional vanilla with vanilla frosting and wonderful sparkly marshmallow flowers. YUMMMMMMMMM - I can't wait to have them again, and order some to go!