A few days ago, my neighbor invited me to stop by and have lunch with her and her 2-year old son. Having really good (or bad, for that matter) neighbors makes such a big difference (trust me, I have both) and I'm fortunate to have a wonderful friend in this particular neighbor. Anyway, it was a bit of a last minute invitation so I didn't have much time to throw something together for dessert. I probably could have made any number of recipes I've already posted to this blog, but I try to avoid repeating recipes so that didn't happen. Instead, I tried a recipe for yellow cupcakes from Cook's Illustrated because I knew cupcakes would be a big hit with the 2-year old! Since I was short on time, after baking the cupcakes I stuck them outside on my deck to cool so I could get them frosted.
The interesting thing about these cupcakes is the technique used to make them. No creaming method here. The dry ingredients are combined in the mixer and then everything else (butter, eggs, egg yolks, sour cream and vanilla) is dumped in too and it's all beaten together until the batter is smooth. My cupcakes baked a bit quicker than the time indicated in the recipe so if you try them, you may want to start checking them around 17 or 18 minutes. I did turn to a favorite frosting for these cupcakes - the Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" - you can find the recipe here.
As expected, these were popular with my neighbor's son - I don't think you can go wrong with kids and cupcakes! My neighbor loved them too. I thought the cupcakes were wonderfully moist and dense, with a really rich flavor. If you're looking for a cupcake with a delicate crumb, this is probably not the recipe for you but it's definitely one I'll make again.
from Cook's Illustrated, January 2003
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat on low just to combine. Add the butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix by hand until the batter is smooth and no flour pockets remain.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffins cups. Bake until the cupcake tops are pale gold and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes