Saturday, 13 August 2011

Cookbook of the Month - August 2011

With RSPCA Cupcake Day fast approaching, my kitchen (and dining room!) have quickly become a crazed cupcake workshop this weekend. As I type this, my laptop is surrounded by trays of freshly baked cupcakes cooling  before they can be iced and adorned ready for sale on Monday. It's a lot of work, but I do love it.. there's just something about cupcakes that I will never tire of, and when it's for a good cause, how can I resist?!


With cupcakes on my mind, I am pleased to announce the cookbook of the month for August - The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham. Published in 2007 this book has been around for a little while, but there is good reason behind its popularity. Written by the famed founder and director of the now closed Crabapple Cupcake Bakery in Victoria, I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to any cupcake lover. I recently received this cookbook as a gift and I am absolutely in love with it. It is filled with delicious and easy to follow recipes, both classic and imaginative.

I am looking forward to trying all the book's recipes, but as a litmus test I have already tried the book's basic vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes twice now. Both get the big thumbs up from me, but below I have included both recipes so that you can make up your own mind if you like. I feel that both produce a great flavour and texture, as well as that highly sought-after smooth domed top.

Each of the following recipes is supposed to make 24, but I seem to get around 27 out of each recipe when I use a levelled off ice cream scoop to divide the batter among the cupcake papers. They will keep for 2 days and freeze for 2 months. For best results, start with all ingredients at room temperature. And as I always say, choose your eggs wisely! :)

Crabapple Bakery's Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 & 3/4 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
200g softened unsalted butter
1 & 3/4 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Method

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line two 12 hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.

2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the caster sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minute after each addition. After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

3. Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not overbeat as this will toughen the mixture.

4. Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Note: I use a levelled off ice-cream scoop to divide the batter quickly and evenly. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Crabapple Bakery's Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
1 cup cocoa
1 cup cold water
200g softened unsalted butter
2 & 1/2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line two 12 hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.

2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the coffee, hot water and cocoa until you have a smooth paste. Add the cold water and whisk until evenly combined.

3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the caser sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minute after each addition. After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

4. Add a quarter of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add a third of the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Repeat this process twice more. Add the remaining quarter of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not overbeat as this will toughen the mixture.

5. Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Note: I use a levelled off ice-cream scoop to divide the batter quickly and evenly. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting


Till next time, dear readers!

Ladybird x

7 comments:

  1. All the best for your cupcake cooking! i'd buy one :)

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  2. Can't wait to see your finished cupcakes!

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  3. Best of luck with your cupcake day. I have this book as well it is so pretty. I'm sure I remember the white choc and raspberry cupcakes made almost double the amount stated. It doesn't matter they were so yummy we were happy to eat the extra.

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  4. Oh how cute, I am a sucker for a cookbook with a pretty picture on the cover ;)

    Good luck with your cupcake day!

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  5. the cupcakes look so beautiful!

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  6. I hope you raise loads of money! What a great cause!

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  7. I'm the proud owner of this cookbook and love love love it! The recipes come out so well and they're cute too. Happy cupcaking Ladybird!

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