Monday, November 14, 2011

Brown Sugar Pound Cakes

We are now officially into the world of dipped and glazed cupcakes, the second section in Martha's cookbook. Progress people! I will say, we eased into this section because the first recipe, brown sugar pound cakes, was pretty easy. So easy that I only needed 7 ingredients (if you don't count the icing).

Even though this recipe only required 7 ingredients I still read through the whole thing beforehand so I wouldn't encounter any surprises. I hate when that happens! It's extremely frustrating to think that you're almost done and then BAM! You find out that there was something you should have had prepared and didn't. Total killjoy. So, I try to avoid that at all costs. Although, had I not read ahead in this case, I wouldn't have come across and surprises.

Once completed the batter was pretty thick so I couldn't pour-by-Pyrex (tear) but I scooped about 1 1/2 tablespoons into each cupcake liner. I think I came out with about 2 less than the recipe said I would yield so I did pretty well. The recipe said to bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes with a turn halfway through the total baking time, but as we've been over before, my timer doesn't work in 1/2-minute increments so I baked the cupcakes for 12 minutes, rotated them, and baked them for 12 minutes more. It worked just fine. The cupcakes came out pretty flat, but I imagined they would since that's what they looked like in Martha's picture. Plus, when I think of pound cake I don't really think of puffy rounded cake. I think of flat, dense and delicious cake.

Making the cupcakes was very easy, and overall the brown-butter glaze was too, I just had a couple moments of uncertainty while making it. Like the cupcakes, and really all types of icing there wasn't much needed as far as ingredients go. My biggest question right from the beginning was what were the little brown flecks in the picture of the icing? I figured they were vanilla bean, but the recipe called for vanilla extract. I was confused and thought Martha had messed up (like that could ever really happen). I should have known better.

The first step of the process gave me the most concern because I was worried I would burn the butter, or take it off the heat too soon, before it was the proper nut-brown color. I stared at the pan like a crazy person, swirled it and debated back and forth about when it was the right color. When I felt confident that the color was satisfactory I poured the melted butter into a bowl and stirred in the rest of the ingredients. Turns out those little brown dots came from the brown butter. Crazy!

The icing was delicious. Seriously delicious, but I didn't let myself eat a lot of it because all I could think about was that the main ingredient was butter, and it can't be good to consume a lot of butter. Especially when you're shedding for a wedding like me. I wasn't sure how to ice the cupcakes. I didn't want to use so much of the icing that it would run off the sides of the cupcakes too much. Luckily this icing set after it had been on the cupcakes a few minutes so I didn't really have to worry about that. I just used a spoon to spoon some of the icing onto the cupcake and then spread it a little bit with the back of the spoon. Worked like a charm.

After I had finished icing the cupcakes I performed a taste test and they were scrumptious. I've never made a pound cake of any variety before and these were very good. I ate more than I normally do when I make cupcakes. I had to give them away so I would stop. I'm serious. I took a half dozen to our neighbors. They plowed our driveway after the giant and ridiculous snowstorm that we had. It was the least I could do.