Whenever I have a cashier shift at work, all I can think about for eight hours are all the things I want to do when I get home. Some days I’m far too tired by the end of the work day. On rare days, like today, I want to do all the things that I can when I get home. Let’s see; I sat on my behind for an hour to check on my bills, reheated some almost too-old pizza and made a fruit smoothie, and added another coat of spray paint to a DIY project for my office. It was a multi-tasking kind of day as I mixed up this quick chocolate cupcake recipe from the website, Tornadough Alli.
Chocolate: the cupcake’s base
First of all – that name! How adorable is that? It’s so clever I wish I’d come up with it first. I can barely title a writing project much less a website (took me a good two months to come up with the new name for this site). “Tornadough” is exactly how I feel when I’m in the kitchen trying to bake. I’ve got no qualms about cooking. I can make up the recipes for most things I make myself. When it comes to baking, however, I know many who view it as a science rather than a free-for-all.
I chose this recipe because I actually had everything for it, and it seemed easy enough. Heck, the word “easy” is right there in the title, so I hoped that was true. It certainly was, save for one step.
I know sifting the dry ingredients wasn’t in the recipe’s directions, but I chose to do so anyway. Before adding the wet ingredients, I sifted together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, soda and salt. As I did not have any table salt, I used pink Himalayan salt instead. (This swap didn’t affect the taste at all, far as I could tell. I don’t have one of those fancy taste-testing palettes like Paul Hollywood from The Great British Bake Off has).
This is where the tricky part came into play: the recipe had me add the eggs and vanilla into the dry ingredients before I was to add the milk, water and oil. I stood there and questioned the logic behind this and as I followed the recipe exactly, it did what I knew it would. That volume of dry ingredients didn’t take the eggs – didn’t cream them or anything normal – as one would expect creaming would happen with, say, butter and sugar.
The eggs and vanilla…seized? Is that the right word? Clumped? They clumped in the bowl even with my hand mixer going. So I solved this issue by adding a splash of milk and it thickened right up.
Gradually I added the liquid ingredients and mixed as I went. The batter turned runny. Very runny. So runny I worried I’d done something completely wrong. Sure, it’s been a long eight years since I last made cupcakes, but I didn’t think batter could become that runny. I eyed the batter with much trepidation as I moved it to the prepped and waiting cupcake pan and filled the cupcake liners. Baked them for 19 minutes in a 350° F. oven.
As you can see in the baking photos below, I overfilled a couple of them. Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself for not overfilling all of them. While the cupcakes cooled, I prepped for an upcoming job interview and dug up a peanut butter frosting recipe.
Peanut Butter Frosting: the bane of my niece’s existence
The peanut butter frosting recipe actually came from a site titled Sugar Spun Run. While I had *most* of the ingredients, I did have to raid my mother’s pantry for the powdered sugar, the rest of the peanut butter (I had only 1/4 cup left) and table salt. Last month I made the switch from cooking with table salt to pink Himalayan salt and I didn’t think that would work in frosting!
We’re not entirely sure if my niece is actually allergic to peanuts and, hence, peanut butter. I couldn’t help myself when I chose to top these cakes with a creamy, dreamy peanut butter frosting. At least I was able to share the spoils of this baking venture with my parents. My dad, funnily enough, is allergic to *most* nuts – except peanuts! And cashews. Technically, he can eat legumes. So I have to be really careful with what I bake for my family.
Even though my mother didn’t have three cups of powdered sugar as the recipe required, I was able to use up what she had. Between whipping everything together and using that sugar up, I still had more than enough to add a semi-thin layer of frosting to each cupcake. Besides – I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet, thick frosting myself. This recipe not only did the trick, but was definitely mildly sweet due to lack of powdered sugar. I did *slightly* over-bake them, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m more used to baking casseroles or roasting vegetables in my oven. I’ve yet to learn its “sweet spot” when it comes to baking. All in all, I think this Attempted Recipe(s) session was a complete success!