Rainy Day Cupcakes

It has been raining all day (2.12″ worth of rain so far!) so I haven’t been able to do much in the yard besides watch the grass seed we planted last weekend wash away.  Oh well!  I decided to make the most of being stuck inside by tackling a cupcake recipe.

Baking is not my strong point and we’ve had more than one frosting recipe go awry, so I was delighted when these cupcakes turned out exactly right!  The frosting is light and fluffy and the cakes puffed up nicely in the oven.

As you’ll notice, most of my photos are rather dark.  Believe it or not, I was actually taking the photos by a big window at 4:00 in the afternoon but it’s so dark out that these look like night shots.  I think the dark shadows convey the mood of the day pretty well.  Oh, and I also listened to Johnny Cash the entire time I made these so he added a bit of moodiness as well.  🙂

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting  (from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

You will need:
For the cupcakes…
1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 cups Sugar
4 Eggs, at room temperature
1 cup 2% Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the frosting…
3 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons 2% Milk
9 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar

Combine the two flours in a small bowl and combine the milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup.  Set both mixtures aside.

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth.  Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three parts, alternating between flour and milk and beating  between each flour-milk addition.  Do not overbeat.  Use a silicone spatula to scrape the batter off of the sides of the bowl and make sure that all of the ingredients are well mixed.

Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins and fill each cupcake liner approximately 3/4 full.  In my case, this yielded 20 cupcakes.  I only have one muffin pan so I did a batch of 12 first and then a batch of 8.  Place the muffin pan on the center rack of a preheated 350° oven and cook for approximately 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool the cupcakes completely before icing.

For the frosting, start by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.  When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to lukewarm before adding it to your frosting mixture.

I finally got to use the double boiler that my brother got me for Christmas!

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, approximately 3 minutes.  Add the milk and beat until smooth (watch out, it splatters!!).  Add the melted chocolate and beat for approximately 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat for another 3 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

My first successful frosting! (There have been many failures before this..!)

To frost my cupcakes, I transferred the frosting into a large resealable gallon bag and snipped about 3/4″ off of one of the corners.  I squeezed the frosting out onto each cupcake and then used a knife to spread the frosting evenly over the cake.

What do you do on a rainy Sunday when you can’t go outside?  Please share!  🙂