Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cupcakes for Father's Day

There has been a lot of talk about cupcakes around here lately. There are two competing food trucks in the area offering cupcakes and both are a big hit. Frankly, I was a bit jealous that I didn't think of doing this - although I suspect that if I had started such a venture, it wouldn't be long before I stopped enjoying baking and it became just another chore.

Since today is Father's Day and therefore an occasion for baking, I decided to try out an idea for a cupcake that I've been thinking about for a while. As a kid, my favorite Pop Tart flavor was frosted brown sugar cinnamon (okay, I'll admit it, I still eat them occasionally now that I'm a grown up...). This seemed like the perfect combination of flavors for a cupcake. Then, yesterday, while grocery shopping I discovered that Hershey's makes cinnamon chips. It seemed like a natural thing to add to the recipe I was working on so I picked them up and figured I'd toss them in to the batter. The result turned out pretty good - although these are almost too sweet for my taste. Next time, I might substitute buttermilk for the milk in the cupcake recipe to see if that helps a bit.

Oh right, and these were a hit with Paul and the girls!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Yield = 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hershey's cinnamon chips (optional)

Prepare cupcake tins by greasing or using paper liners. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and then add the egg. Mix until light and fluffy. Mix the milk and vanilla together in a measuring cup. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately to the butter/egg mixture, beat 20 - 30 seconds after each addition. Once the batter is mixed, gently fold in the cinnamon chips. Divide batter evenly among cupcake tins. Bake 22 - 25 minutes. Cool on a rack while you make the frosting.

For the frosting:
(half of the Penuche Frosting recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often. Let the mixture bubble for a minute or a little less. Remove from heat and mix in the milk. Add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time and whisk well. Once it gets to spreading consistency, stop whisking and quickly frost the cupcakes - the frosting starts to set as it cools.