Birthday Cupcakes.

I’ve said it before, but here I go again: I’m not super into baking.  Even though cooking is more my speed, I’ve recently found myself popping more and more items into the oven lately.  I even told Keith on his birthday this past Wednesday that I wanted to make something for him — though I was careful not to use the word bake.  I was semi-hoping he’d ask for a steak.

After some thought though, he said, “I like cupcakes.”

Of course, I didn’t just want to make — I mean bake — a prosaic sort of cupcake; since I know how much Keith likes cinnamon I decided I would try to figure out how to make one fashioned after a snickerdoodle cookie.  The thing was, I had no idea how to go about doing this, so I got on the phone.

“There are so many recipes for orange-cinnamon cupcakes, or strudel-y things,” I said to Marcella, “but nothing snickerdoodle-y.  I don’t want just a cinnamon cupcake.”

snickerdoodle-cupcake“You could try rolling an iced cupcake in cinnamon and sugar, or using a textured sugar,” she suggested, which got me thinking…

What if I were to butter my cupcake tin so that a cinnamon-sugar mixture would stick to the walls of each depression?  Or, better yet, what if I were to instead use individual foil cupcake liners, each sprayed and dusted with cinnamon-sugar?  I could whip up a vanilla cupcake batter in lieu of a sugar cookie dough, and still end up with exteriors marbled with cinnamon just like a snickerdoodle.  This way, I wouldn’t even need to make a frosting to top the cupcake; their cracked and swirled domes would be decoration enough.  I could even sprinkle a little cinnamon into the cupakes themselves for a little more pep…

You know what?  Not only did the cupcakes came out perfectly, but they were ridiculously easy to make.  Not as easy as a steak, but simple nevertheless.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, adapted from Everyday Food’s yellow cupcake recipe
Makes twelve cupcakes

1 ½ leveled cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup plus one tablespoon ground cinnamon, separated
2 large eggs
Baking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Arrange 12 foil cupcake liners on a baking sheet; spritz each liner with baking spray.  In a small bowl, combine 1/8 cup cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar.  Spoon mixture into foil liners, swirling to thoroughly cover entire interior of each one.  Tap out excess and return liners to baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. In a liquid-measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk-vanilla mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Take care not to overmix.  Divide batter evenly among prepared cupcake liners; bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
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Musing, Rambling, Celebrating…?

garlicPerhaps I’m a little nuts, but I think the cross-section of a garlic bulb is one of the prettiest things on earth.  The smell of a raw garlic bulb sliced open is another thing altogether, but its middle is nice, all tightly-layered and pressed together, each little nugget with a golden yellow eye in its center.  I won’t be persuaded on this: I think it is wonderful.

On an unrelated note, I browned some chicken thighs the other evening; when they cooled, I tore off their skins.  The recipe I was following indicated I should discard this, the crisped-up skin, but I couldn’t resist having a taste.  Fatty skin, how lovely…  I probably would have crunched on the skin of all eight thighs if I didn’t stop myself, though I couldn’t help but yearn yet again (again, or still?) for a dog — if we had a dog, I would have happily mixed my unwanted skin into his food bowl and watched as he fastidiously picked out all of the good bits.  This dream dog of mine, he would love me.  He would probably also be very fat.

Another non sequitur:  today marks the one year anniversary of this mostly culinary, vaguely literary and somewhat travel-oriented experiment of mine. Isn’t it spectacular, what can take place in three-hundred and sixty-five days?  Here’s a breakdown for you:

  • 254 posts
  • 126 meals out
  • 85 books read
  • 53 recipes
  • 10 trips
  • 8 get-togethers with book club
  • 2 digital cameras
  • 1 supper club dinner

And so, here I am, one year later: infinitely happier, metaphorically fatter and undeviatingly hungrier.  Hopefully you all feel the same.  Thank you so much for reading.