It's Cupcake Wars at The Big Girl's school. This year, there are two categories: Taste and Looks.
While I think this cupcake doesn't look too bad, it definitely won't be entered into the latter category. What it has going for it is butter, butter, and butter. It's a beautiful buttery pound cake, with a dense, moist texture, topped with tangy cream cheese frosting and a little demarara sugar crunch. Will it hold up against the onslaught of chocolate and red velvet cuppies? We'll see...
Meanwhile, I'll enjoy a bite or two, with a pot of earl grey tea.
Brown Sugar Pound Cake
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2¼ cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk
Brown Butter Icing (recipe below)
*in the above pictures, I used a brown sugar cream cheese icing, which I think was too heavy for the cupcake. I would have preferred this brown butter glaze.
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; spoon icing over cupcakes, and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Brown Butter Icing
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to brown butter; stir until smooth. If necessary, add more milk (up to 2 tablespoons) a little at a time, just until icing is spreadable. Use immediately.