So, what to do, what to do……..it snows…..every other day, and when its not snowing,it’s sub-zero and not fit for man nor beast! But the blessing in this, is that, well really there are two blessings…….. Snow Days …..yeah! and Baking….yeah!
I have a renewed joy in baking these days. There was a time when baking was not on the top of my list. See, I was a bakery manager at a local grocery store for a number of years, and after awhile the joy of it kinda disappears.
I always joked that I was a “fake and bake” baker. So many of the products you buy in grocery stores these days come par baked or totally baked and you finish the process or combine items to makes what really can be some amazing items. I remember one of my regular customers asking about the cream puffs that I sold like crazy. She thought that I made them myself, when in reality, the shell of the cream puff came pre baked and frozen, so all I had to do was thaw them, cut them in half, use the bavarian cream filling from the 35# bucket, melt frosting from another bucket and drizzle it across and……. oh la la a cream puff.
There was a length of time when I would not eat cake………I know right, who in their right mind turns down cake! But after you have decorated a dozen cakes, and frosted untold numbers of cupcakes over a weekend ………..again, it just kinda leaves ya!
Well guess what, it’s back………I have with much success, I might add, been baking up a storm. My latest creation being the Almond Poppyseed Cupcake. I must say, I like cupcakes better than cake. After all, they are easy to bake, easy to frost, easy to store, and they are portion controlled. I revamped my original recipe to make only 12 cupcakes. Since its just the two of us 12 cupcakes is a better fit. But if you need a larger amount just double the recipe.
- For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1 cups milk, at room temperature (or warm it in the microwave until it’s
- 1 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- For the frosting:
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoons almond extract
- 3 tablespoons half-and-half, plus more if needed
- sliced almonds and poppy seeds for sprinkling
- Line muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl: flour, baking powder, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, cream the 1 sticks of butter, 1 cups of sugar, and 1/4 cup honey until light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes, scraping the sides as you go.
- Separate the 3 eggs: the whites need to go in a separate large bowl. (If you are lucky enough to have 2 bowls for your stand mixer, use the other one). Set that aside.
- Add the yolks to the butter mixture, one at a time, stirring in between each addition. Make sure you scrape the sides well. Beat until it is smooth and creamy.
- In a measuring cup, combine the milk, vinegar, and almond extract. It’s okay if it curdles.
- Add the milk mixture and the flour mixture alternately to the butter mixture, stirring after each addition until just combined.
- Gently fold in the poppy seeds. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Into a clean mixer bowl,add the 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar to the eggs whites. Beat the whites until soft peaks form; it will take several minutes.
- Add the beaten egg whites to the cake batter in 3 additions, mixing until just combined.
- Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- To make the frosting:
- Combine, butter, powdered sugar vanilla and almond extract and half and half. Beat either in a stand mixer or with an electric hand held mixer
- until light and fluffily. If you need to add more half and half until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe frosting on cupcakes with a large star tip and sprinkle with almonds and poppy seeds.