Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the new york cupcake

There is a phenomena in New York City that you just don't see so often in Ohio: cupcake shops. What's that, you say? A bakery devoted solely to the craft of tiny, frosted, baby-sized cakes? I'm here to tell you: they are REAL! They don't just exist on Sex And The City, and, though I have yet to authenticate exactly how long the wait outside Magnolia bakery really is, this new yorker may be able to set you straight. Now, the hype may exceed reality, but all the same I really wanted to stop at one of these shops. A few hours before our flight on Sunday we popped into Cupcakeland Bakery in Williamsburg. After soliciting an opinion, I took the advice of one of the co-owners and got a cookie cupcake. The best part by far was the extremely rich oreo cream cheese frosting. Yowza. It cured my sweet tooth for at least the next month, and it was a fun experience.

This got me thinking, though: just what makes these cupcakes seem so much more delectable than anything I see at the grocery store or for that matter make at home? And I've come to a conclusion: it's the way they do the frosting. That immaculate little swirl perched atop those perfectly baked cakes is a temptation to great to resist. And so it was decided: I had to try this for myself. All I had on my shelf was a box of plain vanilla cake mix, but I really wanted to make something more festive. I found a recipe online for pumpkin cupcakes and all I really had to do was add a can of pumpkin to the mix. I beat in cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to some cream cheese frosting and put that in a zip loc bag. I carefully snipped one corner off the bag and used that as a piper and then sprinkled the top with more cinnamon. I think the end product looks almost just as enticing. Read on for a visual how-to after the jump! -hil

beat all the ingredients together, including the pumpkin.
I didn't have "pumpkin pie spice" so I just mixed in whatever
pumpkiny spices I had.

preheat the oven to 350 and grease the tin. Fill them about
2/3 full. The pumpkin makes them more like muffins
and a little more dense than regular cupcakes.

They should be done in about 20 minutes. Use the old clean
toothpick trick. Let them cool slightly, about another
20 minutes, and then carefully remove them. If they cool all
the way in the pan they will be harder to extract later.

add whatever spices you like to the cream cheese icing then
spoon it into a zip-loc. Cut a small corner off the bag (here
it is the bottom right corner. See how small?)

Carefully and consistently squeeze the icing
out of the little corner in a circular motion
around the cupcake. It might take a couple of
practice cakes, but that's ok. Then sprinkle from
at least a foot away with cinnamon. Ouila!

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