Thanks to nooodles' wonderful post and photo yesterday, I couldn't get those Magnolia Bakery cupcakes off my mind all day, even though I usually don't get excited about cupcakes. See her post w/ link to recipe here: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]. Photo album of my cupcake story, as well as one photo of these babies, is linked below. That's right, my icing is quite different from the original.
At 9pm last night, I suddenly decided that I *needed* to make these for peace of mind (and sweet tooth). I knew it was likely that I didn't have correct amounts of everything on hand, but thought I'd just wing it. If anything, I'd follow the batter recipe closely and then play a bit w/ the buttercream (foreshadowing the fiasco to come). Fortunately, I had some cutesy cupcake liners from a Valentine's Day season purchase that I never got around to using.
I halved the batter recipe since I just wanted a dozen cupcakes; this worked perfectly fine. Like nooodles, I used all AP flour and compensated by adding some baking powder and kosher salt (per nooodles' specifications). I also used 3/4 c. superfine sugar instead of 1 c. granulated sugar. Baked at 350F for exactly 20 min. This batter baked beautifully and evenly, and the mounds came out like blonde bombshells. Only criticism is that the liners felt excessively greasy, so I might even reduce the butter to 6 TB (for half recipe) next time.
While they were baking, I started fiddling w/ the buttercream by adding a little butter, then what powdered sugar I had, then some milk, then some superfine sugar. A little dollop tasted tooth-achingly sweet, and I couldn't imagine piping a mound of this stuff on these cupcakes. Texture looked a bit gritty, like it was starting to separate. Hmmm...how to drown out the sweetness w/o making too watery??!! Whipped cream folded in! Folded in nicely, looked ok, but w/in about 15 min. started to separate more. Against my better judgment, I decided to beat w/ mixer to see if that would help, and well, no it didn't and pretty much turned it into ricotta cheese quickly. A total loss. It was getting late...I needed to get to bed and sleep on it.
So early this AM, I made an easy chocolate ganache icing by melting choc chips, heavy cream, and pat of butter in double boiler. Plunged the cupcakes head first til they were evenly coated in the ganache. Much easier than a buttercream, and less sweet and slick, which I prefer. Flavor overpowered the cake a bit though.
Final verdict? I got alot of joy in making them and gazing at them, but not so much eating them. I've read somewhere that if one doesn't generally like cupcakes, even the best cupcakes won't have the power to convert. I think that is true for me. I'm not a big cake or cupcake person, and if I go for something cakey, it will be denser, more like a muffin. These epitomized the best All-American homemade cupcakes I could imagine, but well, they aren't quite for me. Too fluffy, too sweet, a bit unidimensional in flavor. For my taste, I would add citrus zest to the batter next time and have a similar citrus glaze. I'm glad I got this out of my system; now, back to ice cream and bread...