From Scratch

You might have seen a tweet over the weekend mentioning the fact that a year ago I met a bunch of strangers for cupcakes. A lot can happen in a year. To celebrate, Dayle and I wanted to go back to Hello Cupcake, but they are closed on Sundays. Option #2? Why…make them from scratch, of course!

You’ll have to forgive me, but my only experience with cupcakes/cake batter/brownies is buying the boxed stuff and adding a little water, oil and an egg or two. Seeing a bunch of arbitrary ingredients turn into a taste cake mix by what can only be described as magic (or basic cooking ability) is quite fascinating. I’m including the recipe below the fold, actual prep time is much shorter than the noted 70 minutes if you know what you’re doing or need to take a few shortcuts – like that whole “room temperature” nonsense.

From Better Homes and Gardens – New Cook Book. 14th Edition. Burnt Sugar Candy Bar Cake

“Cooking the sugar until it’s caramelized, or “burnt,” give the cake its flavor and its name.”

Prep time: 70 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Oven: 350 degrees
Cool: 1 hour
Makes: 16 servings

[Note: if you’re making cupcakes, it doesn’t take that long. We got 12 cupcakes out of a half-recipe – 8 cupcakes are left – and baked them for about 12 to minutes]

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup hot water
2 eggs
2/3 cup butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 recipe browned butter-cream cheese frosting
1 cup finely chopped assorted candy bars (optional)
Coarsely chopped assorted candy bars (optional)

1. In a larget skillet cook the 3/4 cup sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar just begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat; cook until  golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes more, stirring constantly. Carefully stir in the hot water (syrup will form lumps). Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Continue stirring until mixture is free of lumps. Remove from heat. Pour syrup into a large glass measuring cup. Add additional water to equal 1 3/4 cups liquid. Set sugar syrup aside to cool to room temperature.

2. Separate eggs. Allow egg yolks, egg whites, and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour three 8 x 1/2 inch round cake pans, set pans aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar, the egg yolks, and the vanilla; beat until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and sugar syrup to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

4. Thoroughly wash beaters. In a clean um mixing bowl beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold egg whites into batter. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pans.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans, cool thoroughly on wire racks.

6. to assemble, turn two layers bottom sides up; spread each with 1/2 cup browned butter cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle each frosted layer with half of the candy finely chopped candy. Stack these layers on the cake plate, frosted sides up. Place the remaining cake layer on top, rounded (top) side up. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. If desired, garnish with the coarsley chopped candy bar pieces.

Browned Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting

In a small saucepan heat 1/2 cup butter over low until melted. Continue heating until butter turns a light golden brown. Remove saucepan from heat. In a large bowl combine two 3-ounce packages softened cream cheese and 3 tablespoons softened butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in the browned butter and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually beat in 4 1/2 cups additional powdered sugar and 2 to 3 teaspoons milk, beating until the frosting reaches spreading consistency.

#bolusworthy (because insulin is very, very necessary)

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