Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (Or, The Cause of The Great Cupcake Catastrophe)

A couple of days ago I discovered the website Cupcake Project and I have been spellbound ever since.  200 cupcake recipes.  Some as simple as the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake and others as complex as the Apple Bacon Cheddar Cupcake with Mesquite Buttercream.  After scouring the website for two days I decided that I was going to tackle the Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  Mainly because I had all the ingredients on hand, but also because my hubby loves snickerdoodles.

I consider myself to be a fairly experienced baker.  I bake pretty regularly, to the point where  I have had to replace my mixer multiple times in the last two years because I burn the motor out.  These really tested me.  And the steps leading up to the final product were quite messy.  I picked my daughter up from school yesterday and came home to tackle the cupcakes.  I had approximately two and a half hours before she had to be at Tae Kwon Do.  It was not enough time.  Maybe there is some secret that I am just not aware of, and if that’s the case, someone please fill me in on it.

I started the recipe by melting 1/2 cup sugar in a pan and then adding 1/2 cup boiling water.  I stirred until dissolved and then the sugar syrup was complete.  At this point I was not sure whether I should leave the burner on low or turn it off.  I turned it off and went about beating the egg whites and sugar, mixing the flour, and then beating the butter, egg yolks, vanilla, and more sugar.  At this point I go back to the stove to find my sugar syrup completely hardened in my pan.  *sigh*  I heated it back up and then when it was back to liquid form I poured it into the butter mixture per the recipe.  Well, apparently it was too hot and I ended up with a bowl full of melted butter and a big glob of sugar swimming in the middle.  Frustrated with myself for not being able to figure it out I dumped that batch of butter and sugar syrup and set about googling “tips for baking with sugar syrup”.  The results were not helpful at all.  So, I set about mixing up the butter concoction again.  Then I made the sugar syrup and let it cool a bit before adding it to the butter.  This time it cooled too much, and as I poured it into the bowl it hardened almost immediately in the cool air.  I ended up with hard crunchy globs of sugar candy, and strings of it all over my mixer and counter and cupboard.  I finally gave up and plucked out all the solid pieces I could find and tossed them.

At this point I have approximately 25 minutes to finish the mixture, get the cupcakes in the oven, get my daughter dressed for Tae Kwon Do, wake my husband to sit with my son, and make dinner.  So I did what any good mother would do.  In between arguing with my daughter and telling her to find her uniform/belt/socks/sneakers/hair tie I yelled to my son to go wake up Daddy, poured the batter into the cheap muffin liners, and announced to my husband that we were having McDonald’s for dinner and I would pick it up after our daughter was done with class.  I also informed him that he would need to make the next batch of cupcakes.

After we got home from Tae Kwon Do we ate dinner and I got the kids ready for bed and when they were finally in bed I set about doing the part of the recipe that I was actually good at.  I made the mini snickerdoodle cookies to put on top of the cupcakes, and I made the frosting.  (Both of these recipes can be found on the hyperlink above.  They are included in the snickerdoodle cupcake recipe.)  I was finally finishing up the recipe and assembling the cupcakes at 10:30 when my husband got up for work.  Now, don’t let my horror story keep you from trying them out.  Especially if you are a) experienced with sugar syrup or b) are just going to leave it out of the recipe altogether.  (They turned out pretty good, regardless of the fact that there was no sugar syrup.)

Here is my recipe, modified to coincide with my apparently less-than-stellar baking skills.

The Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe

I made the snickerdoodle cupcake recipe by slightly modifying How Stuff Works’ caramelized sugar cake. I have reprinted it with my modifications below.

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1 C granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C milk
  1. Beat egg whites in medium bowl at medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  2. Gradually add 1/2 C granulated sugar, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Beat butter and remaining 1/2 C sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  6. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  7. Fold in egg white mixture.
  8. Fill cupcake liners halfway full.
  9. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes

Despite my somewhat lame attempt, they still taste pretty good, and I’m already searching for another cupcake to try out.

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