Page 85: Vanilla Cupcakes

As you may have noticed, I’ve slowed down on the posting a bit. This is partly because nightly baking is just not sustainable in any person’s schedule, but also because my friend Kim and I started a bootcamp. In more ways than one, baking is not so compatible with bootcamp. First, because getting up a 4am requires going to bed at 9pm, and second, because an hour of burning calories with drill-sargent-like workouts every morning makes me more selective about the calories I consume.

However, before this week’s “absolutely zero sugar” diet mandated by my bootcamp instructor (not kidding… sniff), I whipped up some BabyCakes vanilla cupcakes last weekend (just in the nick of time – there are severe penalties for cheating this week which include sprints, planks, and some tortuous move called burpees I don’t even want to know about).

As I stood at my kitchen counter flipping through the BabyCakes book on Saturday, I looked longingly at the pictures of the Chocolate Cupcakes. However, according to Erin McKenna, Vanilla Cupcakes is “the recipe that started it all.” How could I argue with that? I figured if it was the recipe that started it all, it should at least be the recipe that started my trek through the cupcakes chapter.

In keeping with the spirit of BabyCakes, these cupcakes are gluten free… and baking them was the first time I got to use the garbanzo-fava bean flour and potato starch I had stocked in my pantry. After one batch of dry ingredients wherein I mistakenly added 1/2 cup of xanthan gum instead of arrowroot (gotta get around to labeling those containers soon), I started over and got busy filling muffin tins.

Let’s just jump to the finished product, shall we? Because that, after all, is really the point.

Notice how they do not look like cupcakes? Yeah, me too.

At this point I really just wanted to call up Ms. McKenna and say “ummm… was this the plan?” Now, they were still delicious. But more in a pound cake or muffin kind of way rather than a cupcake kind of way. You kind of expect cupcakes to be more spongy and light and smooth on top. Because I didn’t try the cupcakes at the BabyCakes store (I know… what was I thinking?), I do not know if this is is the way they were supposed to be. I did a bit of googling and noticed several people commented on the “dense” texture of BabyCakes cupcakes so maybe I did do it right. I mean the things are delicious, dairy free, and gluten free – perhaps we can give a little leniency to the texture?

Moving on…

Frosting! The frosting for the cupcakes was the same frosting as the filling for the reigning champion chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. But this being batch two I discovered that my blender was just not cutting it and switched to mixing it up in the food processor. Much better! I struggled with the texture before – it was so soft if not frozen. This time, when chilled, it was a perfectly frostable spread.

Not so light, but the perfect amount of sweet and just a bit lemony. I enjoyed them and so did the co-workers and my girls at girls’ night!

I think this is another recipe which needs another go around in an effort to improve and become worthy of the BabyCakes name. Unfortunately, I have a whole book ahead of me but we’ll see what I can do! This weekend I’ll be baking for our Memorial Day get-together so look forward to a review of brownie bites and *da da dum* more chocolate chip cookie sandwiches! It’s official – they are every one’s favorite so far and we can’t get enough of them. Particularly when I ate almost all of them on my own and saved too few for my friends…

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