Was I too good for Cupcakes?

Chai Spices

Random fact: I’ve never made cupcakes. I’m not quite sure why, but I usually shy away from them. Maybe they seemed too basic, maybe I just didn’t see all the fanciful flavors of cupcakes out there these days, or maybe I just never had a decent reason. This week was different.

Usually I like to try and find some recipe of a food or pastry I either can’t find locally or something that I can make better than the pathetic supermarket offerings out there. Sometimes it’s macarons, other times it’s puff pastry, and sometimes I just want a decent home made bread. This time around I wanted to see what all the fuss was about cupcakes.

Cupcakes have apparently become quite the high-class food. There are shops in cities around the US that will make you stand in line and gladly charge you five bucks for the privilege of eating their cupcake masterpieces. I’m all for fancy new foods, but I never thought cupcakes were going to get this sort of treatment. I’m finding out how wrong I was.

I wanted to create my own cupcake masterpiece but I thought that I should at least look at some of the masters out there. There are plenty of cupcake chicks on the Daring Bakers Blogroll, at least one of them must have come up with something exciting, right? I spent a few hours reading all about these daring cupcakes. I was still amazed at all the flavor combinations, frosting types, and presentations for the lowly cupcake. After much research, I found one I liked.

A fellow baker, Chockylit has a site with nothing but cupcakes. Photos, frostings, tips, recipes, she has everything you’d ever want if you were going to make cupcakes (like me). I was intrigued by her recipe for Chocolate Chai cupcakes.

Her basic cupcake recipe was, well, basic. There was nothing really fancy here — no separating eggs, no sifting flour, no whipping meringue, no folding batters — how could this be? I read and re-read the recipe just to make sure and then decide to just give it a go.

Sure enough it was every bit as easy as it was written. Everything came together just as it should. I piped 12 mini cupcakes and 6 regular cupcakes and was amazed at how much leftover I had, even AFTER halving the recipe. I decided to take a chance and just let the batter sit while the cupcakes cooked. Twenty-five minutes later the cupcakes emerged from the oven, puffed up all nice and ready to go. I removed the mini’s from my silicone pan and refitted it with new cups and piped another batch and there was still more batter left. Batch two looked just as good as batch one so I finished one more round of six this time and baked them off as well.

While everything was cooling off I assembled the frosting. This was another first for me: American buttercream. Funny that I’ve never made an American buttercream yet I’ve made Swiss, French and Italian buttercream. Of course I would have to screw something up on my first shot and this was it. I got too anxious and just threw all the ingredients together and whipped them in the kitchenaide. My multi-temperatured ingredients did not want to properly mix and I was left with a broken mess.

I search around a little bit and realized everything needed to be at the same temperature to emulsify properly. Everything went back in the mixer and I whipped them to a frenzy and got it smooth enough to use. After piping about a dozen cupcakes it started to break again, probably from my warms hands or probably from my rushed technique.

I think they came out pretty good. The eater wasn’t a big fan of the frosting but cake and frosting aren’t really her thing. I tested a dozen of these on my coworkers and the cupcakes quickly disappeared. They got good reviews all around, even by the non-chai loving coworker of mine.

Have I been converted to a cupcake lover? Possibly. There will need to be a few more experiments carried — stay tuned!

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

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4 Responses to “Was I too good for Cupcakes?”

  • Greg says:

    Enjoyed your blog. I have the same situation, I am the cook while my wife is the eater. Never thought of blogging cooking/baking experiences. Girls (now in college) grew up eating many international foods (as I cook that way) and they continue to try cuisines of many countries!

  • geek says:

    Peabody: Weird, eh? These were great! After I free up some time the experimenting will begin!

  • peabody says:

    Wow, never made cupcakes. Looks like you picked a good one to start with.

  • alana says:


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