A few weeks ago I spent a rainy afternoon in New York City on a shopping trip. Albeit very wet, the shopping trip was a lot of fun, I found some wonderful deals at Century 21 (cool, cool store), scouted out some future purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (i.e. stuff I hope will one day soon appear on the racks of Marshalls or TJ Maxx given that their SFA prices were a little too steep for my budget). But without question the highlight of my my trip was a little detour into the Magnolia bakery for cupcakes.
I love cupcakes. Cupcakes are usually smaller than a slice of cake so I don't feel too guilty indulging (at least that's my rationalization). This particular day, rainy as it was, I waited on the relatively short line for a (famous) Magnolia cupcake. I ordered two. I know I should only have had one but the pressure of the line behind me made it impossible for me to make a quick decision and choose between a snickerdoodle cupcake and a red velvet one. Once outside I huddled with my friends under an umbrella and ate the snickerdoodle one; not quite satisfied I greedily ate the red velvet one. The red velvet one wins...both were fabulous, but boy that red velvet one..mmmmm.
Since the trip I have been obsessed with all things cupcakes. I will admit that I am really not much of a baker and I seem to have difficulty finding a home made cake/cupcake recipe that produces a light, fluffy cake/cupcake as opposed to a heavy dense one. Any suggestions?? As a result of my baking deficiencies I have turned to box mixes with a few alterations to make them more homemade tasting.
One of my favorite boxed mixes is the Ghiardelli chocolate cupcake mix. The mix which I purchased at a big warehouse store included two bags of mix, two bags of frosting mix and cupcake wrappers. The first time I made the cupcakes I made it just as directed, but found it to be just too chocolaty and the frosting to be way too thick. So second time around I decided to make some slight changes. I replaced the oil called for in the recipe with 3/4 cup of sour cream and instead of using the frosting mix (I'll save it for something else...maybe sandwich cookie filling?)I made a quick sour cream butter cream. The results were fabulous! The cupcakes were tender and fluffy and the creamy vanilla frosting was just the contrast the chocolaty cupcakes needed.
Quick Sour Cream Cupcakes
1 pouch of Ghiardelli cupcake mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Line 12 muffin cups with the foil liners. Divide the batter between the liners and bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Sour Cream Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating to combine. Add the vanilla and sour cream, beat for 3-4 minutes.