Felicitations a GSP de C-B! (Yes, my French is terrible…) Us GSP fans were treated to our favourite mixed martial artist’s triumphant return to the octagon last weekend. To celebrate fight night with two of my fellow cupcake cultists and fight fans and their spouses, as well as the husband of another one (poor Maegan – she just can’t watch the fights…), I went back to the roots of the cult. I baked cupcakes from my favourite recipe, with a bit of a twist that I’d never tried before. There was no selling cupcakes, no taking requests, just pure unadulterated kitchen experimentation time. I baked 12 regular-sized maple cupcakes, as maple syrup comes from the same awesome province as our MMA hero, and one mini-cupcake for Georges to sink his teeth into. Cupcake power definitely works, as Georges successfully defended his title!
As I’m currently suffering through the NFL on TV and a husband with a man-cold who apparently needs the restorative effects of American football, I have the time to write out one of my favourite recipes, and then I’ll explain the maple syrup experiment…
Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted from the MasterChef Australia cookbook for North American ingredients)
- Preheat oven to 350’F on convection or 325’F for ‘old-school’
- Cream together: 1/2 cup (1 stick) room-temperature butter, 3/4 cup granulated or caster sugar until nice and fluffy and pale
- Add in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until each is incorporated and the mix is smooth. Add in 2 tsp vanilla, and mix.
- Add in 2/3 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp buttermilk powder and a pinch of salt, and mix until just incorporated – overmixing will give you little rocks instead of cuppies.
- Add 1/2 cup water – don’t worry, it will be lumpy, so overmixing isn’t an issue, but LESS is more, people!
- Add 2/3 cup flour – and again, careful not to overmix.
- Scoop into 12 cupcake liners, and bake at 350’F on convection, or 325’F on regular, for 20 minutes until the tops spring back when you touch them in the centre.
* If you cannot source buttermilk powder, then you can use either 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk with 1 tsp lemon juice added to sour it. Buttermilk powder can be found online through www.vanillafoodcompany.ca (and I’m sure elsewhere, but their shipping rates within Canada/US are awesome!) or at many bulk food shops. I use it because it’s convenient and I don’t have to worry about what to do with the other 800mL or so of buttermilk left in the carton…
For the maple cupcakes, I used the above recipe, but instead of the 1/2 cup of water, I used 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/4 cup water. It gave a subtle maple flavour that really worked nicely.
To make the icing, I creamed together a total of 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and roughly half of a 1kg bag of icing sugar in the kitchenaid, on slow to bind without an icing sugar puff, then fast to whip and make fluffy. I still have maple icing leftover – this makes plenty enough for generously iced cuppies and more.