I'm 3 days away from finishing the last class of my first semester of graduate school, and I think that calls for cupcakes.
It's been a struggle at times, I've wanted to bang my head off the steering wheel for every additional hour added to my commute because the brilliant engineers in the State of Maryland thought it would be wise to funnel a three lane highway into a single lane in the busiest section of town.
I've eaten a lot of bad food, ended up with a sore back from long hours sitting at work, the car, and three hour class sessions. I've ripped Justin's head off, I've cried over assignments, and I baked when I didn't feel like reading boring-shmoring Aristotle or Cixous, our resident feminist rage-aholic.
I've stuffed my classmates with chocolate chip cookies, banana cupcakes with honey cinnamon frosting, and Brewer's blondies, mostly so they wouldn't tell me my writing sucked, but also because they're fun people.
I skipped the summer trimester course in favor of a karate class because I am trying to toughen up my fluffy edges with a little hardcore oomph so I don't look like a pansy waltzing around in a pink apron day-in and day-out. Can I wear the apron to karate? No?
Devil's Food Cupcakes
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake papers, set aside.
Sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then set aside. In a measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk alternating with buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Beat until the flour is just combined, overbeating will make a tough cupcake. Scrape down the bowl, making sure everything is properly mixed, then scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 3/4 of the way. (I used my 3-tablespoon cookie scoop and it was perfect.)
Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tins for about 15 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Marshmallow Frosting (Or 7-Minute Frosting)
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy and thick; they should mound in the bowl, without holding a peak. Set them aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil of medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, it will take about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer back on to medium and slowing pour in the hot sugar syrup in a drizzle, gradually increasing the speed. Beat the mixture until thick and shiny, 3-4 minutes.
Immediately frost the cooled cupcakes with the hot frosting and decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or whatever you like while the frosting is still warm. Allow to set at room temperature for about 15 minutes before storing in an airtight container.