Thursday, November 12, 2009

Afterschool special

Cream-Filled Cupcakes
Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2000 Copyright 1999

2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa I used mostly natural cocoa but I ran out and had to finish off with Dutch process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Chocolate frosting

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, milk, oil, water, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into egg mixture until blended.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the butter, shortening, confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla and salt until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Insert a very small tip into a pastry or plastic bag; fill with cream filling. Push the tip through the bottom of paper liner to fill each cupcake. I went in from the top. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 3 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 195 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.

My house was getting out of control so I told myself that my day off yesterday would be strictly for housework - no cooking or cookbooks. Yet, around mid-day I found myself making these cupcakes. For a while when I was in grammar school, my mom had one day off from work during the week and that was the only day I might expect to find some kind of dessert when I got home. Since my older son had school yesterday, I thought it would be nice to have something waiting for him when he got home since I know how much I used to enjoy that.

They didn't take long. I only made a half batch (18 cupcakes). I was a little short on the 'cream' so 2-3 cupcakes got short-changed. It was super-simple to fill these using my Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator. I love that thing. I do not work for Pampered Chef.

The cupcakes themselves were very good. I did have to use some Dutch process cocoa since I ran out of the regular stuff. It doesn't act the same as regular cocoa powder but it seemed to work. My cupcakes were a bit more rounded on top than usual and that might have been caused by using the Dutch-process cocoa since it has a different pH had reacts with baking soda differently (I still haven't figured that out completely). The flavor was great and I managed not to overbake these cupcakes (for a change) so they weren't dry.

I think I would have preferred something other than a buttercream in the middle. Something something a bit marshmallow-y maybe. The buttercream is good but it wasn't much of a contrast from the frosting which I made basically the same as the filling except I added cocoa. Alternatively I could have used a different type of frosting for a contrast.

Now that I've discovered how easy it is to fill cupcakes, no cupcake will be safe around here.

I bought this cookbook for 25 cents at a yard sale! Great deal. There are a ton of great recipes in it.

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets?


Annie Jones said...

I love my kitchen scissors. I use them for so many things, like cutting pizza, green onions, herbs, cooked bacon, etc.

I also just bought a little hand-held cutter that is "wavy". I've had fun with it making wavy carrot slices, french fries, potato slices, etc.

Heather said...

I also love my kitchen scissors!
I think my favorite are my knives. I love having the good sharp knives for chopping and preparing meals.

Janet said...

My KitchenAid mixer is my favorite, if it counts as a "gadget"

As for baking soda, it needs acid to be able to react and cause the rising. Most baking ingredients (sugar, eggs, etc.) are acidic on their own so a plain, no flavoring cupcake recipe would only need baking soda to rise. Natural or baking cocoa is also acidic (pH < 7) and so would not change the action of the baking soda. Dutch process cocoa is (slightly) alkaline (pH > 7). If you were to make a recipe that had so much dutch process cocoa in it that it neutralized all the acid then the baking soda would not work and one would need to use baking powder, which contains soda and an acid to activate it. I suspect, though that even if you replaced all the cocoa with dutch processed cocoa in this recipe there would still be enough acid for them to rise. If ever you did manage to neutralize the acid you would wind up with a very flat, hockey puck-like cupcake. I hope this makes sense.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Thank you Janet. That was very helpful information. I bought a huge bag of the Dutch process cocoa in the bulk food store so now I have a better understanding of how to use it in place of regular baking cocoa.

Anonymous said...

I have that wavy, hand held gadget. I find it works great for cutting open a hard shelled squash (butternut, acorn, etc). Rocking a huge knife in those is just asking for it.

My favorite kitchen gadget is my rice cooker. Perfect rice, pilaf (from a box usually), steamed chicken or veggies are just a click away.