Sunday, August 8, 2010

When Good Cupcakes Go Bad

It's been a while since I last made a batch of bad cupcakes so I'd forgotten how disappointing it can be. I'd excitedly compiled the ingredients, practically able to taste how good these would turn out to be. Even made a special trip to Whole Foods, which is not exactly in our neighborhood, all to wind up with bad cupcakes.

When I found a recipe for Cap'n Crunch Cookie Cupcakes on Tasty Kitchen I was thrilled by the idea of using breakfast cereal in cupcakes. Sugary kids' breakfast cereal, to be precise. While I've never been a fan of Cap'n Crunch I have always liked Peanut Butter Crunch, which is similar enough to Reese's Puffs that I thought that substitution would work well. I also figured I could make these into standard-sized cupcakes instead of the mini ones called for in the recipe. Other than that I made no other changes yet somehow things went terribly wrong.

I think if I hadn't been blinded by the breakfast cereal concept I would have noticed that the recipe seems a little off. It's almost as if she took a basic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and added more eggs and liquid to turn it into a cupcake. It calls for a lot of butter and milk but not much flour. As a result, the batter was soupy, but I've worked with runny batter before that turned out just fine in the end. Alas, that was not to be the case with these. I've never had this happen before but, while baking, the cupcakes bubbled like crazy as the excess butter and liquid heated and boiled. This went on for nearly 20 minutes straight and still the liquid had not cooked off. Once the cupcakes were cool and I removed them from the pan, I found congealed puddles of butter that had melted into the bottom of each well. I'm not talking about a little greasy film but measurable amounts of butter that had to be scraped out with a spoon. The cupcakes themselves are a little chewy and bland tasting. The leftover white chocolate ganache I paired them with helped a bit but still the end result is underwhelming and weird.

I'm not ready to give up on the zany idea of combining breakfast cereal with cupcakes but I think next time I'll stick with a tried and true recipe as the base. I've made brown sugar pound cake in the past that I think would be perfect for this and is probably similar to what the recipe's creator was going for with the cookie dough feel. While I'm obviously not recommending that you try this recipe for yourself I'm posting it here so maybe you can see where things went wrong.

Reese's Puffs Cookie Cupcakes
Recipe from multiplydelicious at Tasty Kitchen

1-½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 Sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cups sugar
½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup Reese's Puffs (original recipe called for Cap'n Crunch)
½ cups white chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until combined. Stir in Reese's Puffs cereal and white chocolate chips (if using) by hand.

Fill each cup with batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until pale golden and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer tins to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Yields 18 standard-sized cupcakes

Whipped White Chocolate Ganache
Recipe from Vanilla Garlic

12 ounces white chocolate (good quality)
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Chop chocolate and transfer to a heat proof bowl.
2) Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour cream over the chocolate.
3) Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4) Add butter to the chocolate (make sure it's soft) and stir until combined.
5) Whisk together sugar, salt, and vanilla in another bowl until combined.
6) Pour the sugar mixture onto the chocolate mixture, then stir until combined and smooth.
7) Let sit at room temperature until thickened, about 2 hours.
8) Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Note: Keep close watch as this can suddenly separate.


Kimberly said...

Well, it sounds so good in theory! I would love peanut butter cereal cupcakes! If you figure out a solution, you should post it so we can all try it! I've had my fair share of things that should really be good go horribly awry, so I can commiserate.

Thank you for stopping by bugaboo, mini, mr and me and leaving a comment on my scrappy rings! So nice of you!

Mickey said...

Saw this one too and put it in my files. Im glad you tried it first :) I will keep searching.